UTS Prediction League history
The UTS is currently in its 13th iteration, the format for which has remained unchanged since the start, proving that simplest things are often the best. The league has seen its fair share of drama, mini tantrums, outlandish posturing, soaring victories and chronic failures. There have been three administrators, Flemish Saddler, seasons 1-5 (part), SaigonSaddler, seasons 5 (end), and Jolly Johnny who has administered from season 7 to date. Season 6 was administered by all three at various times.
The idea for the prediction league all started in season 2005-06 during which an aborted competition was started by Yoda halfway through the season with about 10 regular participants. This included a complex set of rules based on predicting how many goals a team would score, meaning a 4-1 score-line would still return points if you managed to guess the losing team would score 1 goal. Perhaps that was part of the reason for its demise, but it lasted for only about 10 games until it stopped being administered.
The formula takes shape
Following discussions with active participants, Flemish Saddler was willingly coerced into the administration of a new league with a more logical set of rules. Players would simply select 3 games with points being allotted for getting result correct and another for a correct score, so a maximum of 6 points. The new UTS Prediction League was ready to begin!
Kick-Off and promotion for Walsall
The first full Prediction League began on day one of the 2006/07 promotion season from League 2, the unforgettable Richard Money inspired success which was secured with a dramatic last gasp Dean Keates equaliser at Swindon.
Part of the consequence of the playing success was that the site was well populated by a crowd of enthusiastic, if sometimes volatile posters, translating into a healthy 60 odd competitors. Flemish was forced to post results in split tables, players in 31st taking solace that were still top of the second half.
Victory for 'Jeff’s Mate’
The table is lost to history, a victim of an unfortunate PC failure that Flemish announced in season 5. It was a season of getting to grips with the art of prediction making, ironing out best strategies and featured a large number of creative and hopeful punts, recording an unsurpassed number of speculative 3-2 and 4-1 wins. It was great fun with raucous banter, JM holding off a late Saigon surge to secure the crown.
No tables exist for the first season, which ended thus (points estimated):
1st Jeff’s Mate 86
(I’m pretty sure Jolly Johnny was 4th).
Final table for the second UTS prediction league season, 2007/08.
The appetite for a competition of this nature was tantalised, and season 2 was confirmed by Flemish Saddler, characterised by early posturing from the likes of Manchester Saddler, Exile, King Crimson, derbysaddler and SaigonSaddler, amongst others. No less than 60 predictors took part in the 2nd season, emphasising the traffic UTS enjoyed before Facebook and Twitter took their pound of flesh. The season is also lost, but thankfully Flemish posted the final table at the start of season three and this is retained, as the third season was copied in full and kept, comments and all.
Looking through the list, we can see many of the veteran regulars, active participants in the varied debates and discussions at the time. Some are still around, some have drifted away and some have unfortunately passed away. The table serves as a reminder of the active participants of those days.