by Ersin Ramiz aged 60 and a half
OK children are you settled in nicely? Well let's begin.
Once upon a time long ago when England didn't qualify for the World Cup I decided to run a prediction game with close friends and families of both Anna and I, to give the tournament a bit more meaning. Ireland had qualified for USA 1994 but I wasn't feeling to live vicariously through them, as I had no Irish connection except for putting on a funny hat on St Patrick's night.
So out came the pen, paper and house phone ( just pre mobile phone days for me as I didn't get my first mobile until the September that year when I joined Enfield Youth Service). I called all my friends and family and Anna got the scores from her clan. In those days you weren't allowed to change your scores and all scores needed to be in for each round. Robert McCall (RIP) won the grand prize of £30. Robert had very little interest in football. The one and only time he went to a football match was in 1980 with me at Highbury to watch a Cup winners cup semi final. He was more interested in munching his way through a large bag of monkey nuts than watching the game despite being in the throng of a 50,000 crowd.
Well that proved from the beginning you don't necessarily need to be a football expert to be the TopCorner champion!
World Cup 98.....France
We had a similar amount of players (20) but this time JohnC typed out a list of games for me from his computer (woo sitting on the precipice of technology now looking a the Luddites below).
GeorgeD who missed the last Topcorner won the prize of £50. Actually TopCorner was born in the early 90s. George and I used to play each other by guessing the First Division matches and the winner used to get the other a pint. I think we were evenly matched. So if it wasn't for George introducing me the game as it was played by some people in his office once, there would be no TopCorner today!
Euro 2000... Belgium and Netherlands
Now this is when TopCorner took off as JohnC wrote the computer program and spreadsheet. This enabled us to spread the game far and wide. We had around 100 players so there were prizes for the top 4. At the time of writing this it is unknown who the winner was but I'm guessing it was one his banking friends.
World Cup 2002..... South Korea
This one had some obviously weird kick off times. Word had got out and TopCorner had reached 200 people. John built in the function of people creating their own mini leagues, so you at least you had the glory if not the money of topping that group. We also had quite a lot of children playing (under 16's) and they had their own prize fund.
El ..Elnino came joint first with a complete unknown to either of John or I. Alex Milne a Scot living in the USA randomly found the TopCorner on the internet. El has the distinction of being the first female to win any TopCorner Prize. This is not a big surprise as she come from a large football loving family. She would be often dedicating her time driving her kids to training or matches up and down the country. Iv'e known El for a long time and she is a big Liverpool fan.
World Cup 2006
Again I have no idea who won this. Perhaps one of the parents that went to the same school as John and Anna as there were quite a large Stoke Newington contingent?
I think we had about 220 players then and Spot prizes were first included.
World Cup 2010...Spain
The Scamiz Years
Oh boy... This was the year I came first and Sammy my wife came 2nd. We were quickly nicknamed Scamiz.
It was a weird and uncomfortable feeling to win. Part of me loved it but another didn't sit well.
However we were happy to collect the cash. My only tactic was play with my head and not my heart and be conservative. The Scamiz debacle was only further fuelled as my daughter Annie who was 10 at the time won the children's prize as well. Oh if only if you have seen the headlines. Obviously nothing underhand went on as anyone who knows John knows he is a stickler for the rules.
Prizes for the top four, and for the first time we introduced a prize for last place.
World Cup 2014..South Africa....remember the vuvuzela's?
Again the names of the winner are unknown. Numbers of players from all over the world are now participating.
Euros 2016 ....France
Alas this was the time TopCorner was played on the internet. Ewan Beattie1 and Simon (Birdynumnum) think came joint winners out of nearly 200 players from all over.
After this technology failed us as John had to rewrite the programme from scratch but unfortunately things like life got in the way. He tried to enlist the help of his son Ben but he's been too busy saving the planet with his Greenpeace activities to help. Very selfish of him I think when he had a more important matter to attend to!
World Cup 2018...Brazil
Back to the old pen and paper. Only 6 of us in the Ramiz household played. Sammy, Annie, Sophie ( SophEdRam), Lewis, Matt (Mattphewking) and I played.
I won the top prize of £30. this was a last minute hastily put together thing. Despite that we enjoyed it.....
Euro 2020(21)...all over Europe
Winner RobC, who pipped Craig, who had led almost the entire tournament, won the prize of £400. Well we all now know about the legend that is Rolo (Wolo) who stepped in at the very last moment to make all happen. Please keep the accolades coming in for him as he has spent an enormous amount of time building this and putting it together fixing all the bugs and responding quickly to any techie issues.
We were lucky that the Copa America was being played at the same time and it added another dimension the the game.
Veterans of TopCorner
Here is a list of every payer who has participated in every TopCorner since it's inauguration:
- Ersin Ramiz42
- John JohnnyC
- Simon SimonSic
- Alex Alexalzi
- Guy Raven07
Things haven't been as hectic this time in the run in to the start of the tournament, so hopefully we will have ironed out most of the issues.
Almost every time at an end of a TopCorner people ask as if we will do a Premier League or Champions League version. This is unlikely as already mentioned it's quite time consuming and perhaps it's better to keep it special.
Please let me know if I have missed anything out., like the names of the previous winners dates or any significant stories.
Keep enjoying the tournament and bants. (Please remember to keep it clean)