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Recurrently Generated Football League: Wodgy Villa

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If football clubs are businesses, this is the next logical step.

Wodgy Villa crest Tyson Whiting, designer

Because it’s the international break and we’re bored, the writers of Cartilage Free Captain have been experimenting with machine learning and recurrent neural networks. The Recurrently Generated Football League is an outgrowth of that experimentation: a collection of generated fictional English football club names. The stadiums and SB Nation blogs are also recurrently generated. This is a fictional biography of a fictional football club generated by a computer. For science.


The origins of Wodgy Villa go back to 1887 with the founding of Chollad Town FC in the outer Birmingham borough of Bloxwich, but it is not until the new millennium that the side known to its supporters as "The Blobs" came into being. Up through the 1990s, Chollad maintained a friendly if intense rivalry with the six clubs in the surrounding boroughs, especially Wedneswadford, with which it shared an especially heated derby. However, the club’s stature was modest, playing its football mostly in the lower leagues.

In 2000, Chollad Town was purchased by Alistair Cavendish, a 35 year old solicitor from one of the top corporate law firms in London. The prodigiously successful Cavendish, who had recently overseen the largest merger in European history and was now one of the richest men in the UK, abruptly retired early, claiming he wanted to "get into football." Within six months of purchasing Chollad Town, Cavendish also bought "next door" club Predliff Town and merged the sides. The resulting club, Chollad-Predliff, easily promoted to League 2, winning the Conference League by 15 points.

Over the next five years, Chollad-Predliff gradually became larger and more successful in the Birmingham area, rocketing up the pyramid at breakneck speed as Cavendish acquired and merged the clubs in the surrounding boroughs. Kindon was purchased during a fallow period while on the brink of administration. Brantad Rovers was acquired via hostile takeover after Cavendish successfully infiltrated its board with proxy owners. Pennington FC was won in a game of snooker. In 2004, Hollster Green famously played over half a season without realizing that it had been bought and merged with Chollad-Predliff-Kindon-Brantad Town the previous summer.

By 2008, holdouts Wedneswadford finally accepted Cavendish's long-standing merger proposal, forming the largest club in the Midlands, serving an area of over 1500 square miles. This iteration of the club, formally named AFC Cholad-Predliff-Kindon-Brantad-Pennover-Wedneswadford-Hollster-Green, soon earned the nickname "Wodgy Villa" by local fans. The name became official in 2009.

In order to satisfy antsy fanbases who were not at all keen to lose their old clubs' history, each component club was able to maintain one aspect of their former club's culture, color, or history. This has led to the strangely colored Wodgy Villa kits and crest, which reference the uniqueness of each of the original clubs. Home games are played in rotation at the seven component clubs' traditional grounds.

A byproduct of so many club mergers is that there is near-constant infighting between former fanbases now under one umbrella, the Wodgy Villa board (comprised of the owners of the seven clubs), and within the team itself as heated rivals suddenly found themselves teammates. Fistfights between Wodgy Villa supporters in the home terraces — and the changing room — are common. It's for this reason that despite having one of the largest fan bases in the UK, Wodgy Villa has never finished higher than seventh in the table. It's hard to win consistently when your biggest rival is yourself.

Wodgy Villa kits Tyson Whiting, designer