THE WANDERER STRIKES GOLD!
After seven previous (indifferent) attempts, Paul Wakefield and his team Wakefield Wanderers cross line in first place to claim the Footcall VIII gold medal.
After competing in every single Footcall, Paul's seven previous attempts have seen him progressively get worse year on year finishing, 10th, 39th, 11th, 14th, 57th, 88th and 117th but now he's top of the tree and the current Footcall champion, surely one of his greatest sporting achievements. He recently sent me a text when Paul and I were second and third in the Group Stages to say "It's about time we started to do well, we've had enough practice!"
As we dropped outside the top ten after the Group Stages, I pinned my hopes on Egypt to romp home. That poor decision saw my race over but Paul plumped for Mexico and what a shrewd choice that proved to be as he was the only Footcaller to pick them and those vital eight points saw Wakefield Wanderers leap from fifth straight into the top spot above Leigh who must have been thinking it was in the bag.
When I made the call to break the good news and I was informed by Paul's wife, Emma, that it was actually her and their son, Jack, who had done all the predictions and it was just Paul's name on the entry form! So this sees Paul win £110 and collect 10 Hall of Fame points which would have been awarded to Emma, who still isn't on the list yet or indeed Jack who is in fifth and the 10pts would have seen him up into third. But it's Paul who will take the glory this time round, you could say it really was a wonderful Wakefield family team effort.
Leigh dropped to second as Patrick Ferguson moved up into third, new boy Stewart King finished fourth and Kevin Appleton in fifth. The six points Kevin collected sees him overtake Mick Mallion for the stop spot in the Hall of Fame. James Vallender finished sixth and then we have a four way tie between Richard Goodwin, Tim Jennings, Graham Weaver and Joanna Mackenzie for seventh. All four players having identical data across four sets of criteria... quite remarkable!
The much coveted Vuvuzela award was secured by Leanne (and Sean) Maloney and the very last prize goes to Les Herbert for the most popular team name "Pearce de la Resistonce" who was overjoyed with the news.
Paul put his victory all into perspective by saying... "Right from the very beginning of Footcall in 2000 I have been a contestant and managed many different teams to varying degrees of success. Seven years ago when London 2012 was announced Wakefield Wanderers was formed, many World Cups and Euro Championships have passed but I was concentrating on the ultimate prize... Olympic Gold! Hopefully what I have achieved will inspire a generation of new youthful Footcallers. Citius, Altius, Fortius. Venha Rio 2016"