Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sepp Blatter: Penalties and Pupillages

Now, I'm no fan of Chelsea Football Club - far be it from me any such indulgence. I do, however, always back the "English" team (irrespective of the nationalities of the players on the pitch) in European football. So, I was particularly pleased last weekend when Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on penalties in the Champions League Final.

Now, our good friend Sepp Blatter (yes, the same one who said that "women footballers should wear tighter shorts and low cut tops to create a more female aesthetic" - such a charmer), has once more ventured into public waving his ideas around like a toddler holding a shotgun. This time he's decided that penalties are a 'tragedy' and need to be replaced as a means of deciding the outcome of drawn football matches. These thoughts, obviously, didn't enter his mind when the English national team was knocked out of major tournaments in 1990, 1996, 1998 or 2004; but now that an English team has triumphed against Bayern Munich from the spot, there's something wrong with them.

He's appointed Franz Beckenbauer to investigate an alternative. Yes, the same Mr Beckenbauer who is President of Bayern Munich.

Friends of mine have come up with all manner of ridiculous ideas to replace penalties ("take the keepers off the pitch, 5 balls, first to 20 wins" etc etc).

More relevant to this blog, though, it got me thinking about pupillage. Many people decry that current pupillage selection methods are unfair, that they're not transparent, that application forms and academic results are not proper ways of assessing someone's potential for the Bar. Taking inspiration from Mr Blatter, I have appointed myself head of the "Pupillage Task Force 2012", to identify new, and better, ways to select pupils. Here are my initial findings:

1) The Rabbit Method

Blindfolded candidates are brought into a room 20 at a time. A rabbit is released into the room. The candidate who catches the rabbit goes through to the next round (in the second round you have to catch a badger). Attention to detail is rewarded, and valued, because at no point are the candidates told they can't take their blindfolds off.

2) The Spartacus Method

All 200 candidates are placed in a room and told to sit down. They are told to wait and amuse themselves. At a random point three actors hired especially for this purpose will stand up in turn and boldly shout: "I'm Spartacus" (I'm told you can find actors quite cheaply). This will, hopefully, cause a chain reaction with all of the Candidates standing and joining in with the chorus (no one likes to be left out). Anyone who remains seated after the initial clamour is over is through to the next round for displaying independence of thought.

3) The Alan Sugar Method

Head of Chambers starts shouting "You're fired!" at candidates. First person to say: "YOU DON'T ACTUALLY EMPLOY ME, SO YOU CAN'T FIRE ME YOU SMUG TWAT", gets the pupillage, for displaying gumption.

4) The Blue Peter Tracy Island Method

In the early 1990s I was addicted to Blue Peter. One of the big events that I remember was their creation, over a number of weeks, of a papier mache Tracy Island from the Thunderbirds. It was an incredible piece of work and took the combined arts and crafts skills of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michaelangelo (coincidentally, also two of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Anyhow, give the candidates the required materials and the, very badly written, instructions and whoever gets nearest to the intended item gets the pupillage for displaying organisational skills and creativity.

5) The Kafka Method

200 random members of the public are rounded up from Basildon High Street. Everyone is given cake.

6) The Civil Service Method

The most surreal of all - eight selection rounds, five of which are badly written online personality tests. No one is sure if they are recruiting barristers or solicitors.


  1. Absolutely fantastic blog - keep it up!

  2. I vote for the rabbit method.

  3. Watch as a method 5 is quickly morphed into method 6.

  4. I like the rabbit method. But please could we have cake there too?