You may wonder, you may scratch your head in disbelief, you may shake it, rub your eyes, stop reading at this or the next possible point and stay away indignantly, you may declare it good or bad novel material or simply accept it and wait for the matter to take on substance, but it is true, as true as a story can be: I already carried out my first simulations of football results at the rather tender age of nine.

My father had, in a way, used me as his “follower”, taken me to the stadium, explained things to me and brought me closer to them, and ultimately also set this fascination for results, tables, statistics on its way. 11er-Raus was the name of the card game, the typewriter was inherited from my grandmother, the match schedules were in the football week. In the 11er-Raus game, blue, yellow, green and red cards each made up four parts. There were three cards per half and per team. The red cards stood for one goal.

Not so beginner-like. If you calculate it conscientiously today, you realise: there is one goal on four cards, a total of twelve cards were drawn per game, 12/4 = 3. So the goal average, more or less like in reality, was three goals per game.

Everything was neatly typed in on a typewriter, a table was built for each match day, with shifts in the table (the standings before the round in brackets), throughout the season.

The system was gradually refined so that better teams were allowed to draw more cards, weaker teams less. There were “normal” results and there were surprises, there were close games and there were clear victories. There was a champion and there were (unfortunately) relegated teams. Everything like in real life.