And so, as the first, and some might say greatest season of the FF made it's way to it's epic earth shattering conclusion, The Echo continued on it's ireegular little schedule also.
There had been a plan for some time to bung out 8 issues of the thing, to correspond with the 8 teams in the league. and there was a rumour that Jock was meant to be doing issue 7, to cover me while I produced everybody's 'Free guide to the Tindersticks / Ellen', but he never did, and so neither did I. Bet you're all glad of that.
Apart from the bumper instalment of 'Simon Says', this was a pretty standard issue. The editorial stuff on page 2 manages to mention Juliana Hatfield, Pavement, Tindersticks and Beth from Brookside. No suggestion of padding, or me being a sad bastard there.
There's a one page look at AT's team, that despite consisting of no fact whatsoever, manages to overspill onto the back cover.
There's yer usual two page round up of the latest FF League 'action', bolstered this time round by a top scorers chart (get your mind out of the gutter, Smith) and news about transfer deadline day, which given the glorious hindsight afforded me by three and a half years, now seems desperately dull.
Along with Mick's questionnaire on the next two pages, there's an apology to AT because I said he liked the Tindersticks. Bit of a recurring theme this issue. The Tindersticks that is, not apologies. Anyway.
On the back page, there's a quiz to win a Mercury Rev single (coincidentally now extremely valuable) that, er, nobody entered. There's also details of the end of season dinner / reception, and a few jokes about Anthea Turner to annoy Simon.
But, the coup de grace, the cherry on the top of the second best issue of the Echo, is this issues's Simon Says.
Over the course of four pages, and accompanied by an extremely gormless photo of him on the cable car at Alton Towers, Simon manages to detail every single transfer that took place in the league over the season. All 109 of them !
He then manages to compare the teams that we each started the league with to the teams that we ended up with ! Then, just when you thought he'd finished, he came uo with 6 new rules for discussion prior to the next season.
This extraordinary effort meant there wasn't room in this issue for a letters column, and managed to pad the issue out to a epoch-making 12 pages.
And the best was yet to come....
'We smuggle our way in to Barratts, feigning bemusement when they ask if we are members. Then we help ourselves to several jars of fizzy pop, and then adjourn to some fine restaurant for pie and chips. The Kin Wa has been heavily lobbied but it is a bit of a way away. Then, Mr Ramsay, in an uncharacteristic burst of Scottish generousness can pay for us to get into some dodgy club and we can all slope after five minutes'
And I think Jock's still pissed about the time when he did do that. As can be seen from issue 8, this plan didn't quite pan out as expected, but it was a good first stab.
'We asked Andyto comment on his award but he was far too busy running about between printers, typing notes to his chums, moving stationery and blushing rather a lot. All he would say was 'Time for a well earned one'
Another quality Echo catchphrase that Andy still says about ten times daily.
'He's certain he's not going to let himself win a treble. He keeps telling me. "I'm not going to win a treble" he says. "I'm not going back on Nemesis" he says as well, but that isn't important right now.
More Simon related fallout from Alton Towers.
In addition to the 1-2-2-4-2 or 1-2-2-3-3 formations you can play at present, you can play 3 full backs with 2 centre backs or vice versa, sacrificing a striker or a midfielder. This would give formation permutations of 1-3-2-4-1, 1-3-2-3-2, 1-2-3-4-1 or 1-2-3-3-2 in addition to those already mentioned.
One of Simons proposed rule changes. Don't forget, he was volunteering to administer this !