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Fantasy Football

How Doctor Doom Defeated An Un-Fantastic Four.

One of the many great things about football (and all major sports to be brutally honest) is the fact that we as fans always believe that we know more about the game than players and managers.

It might be that we believe that our team lost the game because of a tactical reason right from the off. We may think after conceding a half time lead, our manager not only left the time to make changes too late, but brought on the wrong players to make a significant impact.

All these little opinions though whilst being great talking points at home, down the pub, on the terraces and at school or work do not offer any actual backing/proof to our theory that we know more than the manager.

Fantasy Football (FF) in a way offers a platform for fans alike to show that they are capable of putting a team together that can take on the world, or at least 10 or so friends. Of course FF is purely a stats game and that managers of teams do not have any say into what goes on in games which their players take part in.

However FF gives those know-it all fans a chance to at least in terms of points show that at least when it comes to selecting players with a budget of about £100m, that they can judge a good player or too.

By competing in leagues with friends and fellow fans, at least to the mind at least by having a good FF team, it can make those fans feel that if given the position to manage a real team, they could do a decent crack at it.

When it comes to FF, my experiences with the game have worsened after a bright start that most fans of the game would even dream of.

Ahead of the 2000/2001 Premiership Season my Maths teacher at school (whose name I can’t remember a decade on) managed to join the school up to a Nationwide Official Schools FF League.

There were only 2 rules upon entering. 1) Choose 11 players to use throughout the whole season; with the chance to make changes in winter and 2) Entrance fee was a £1 to participate in the competition.

For some strange reason, four of my close friends decided to ‘team’ up and have a team to themselves, in an order to combine their ‘managerial brains’ to come up with the best team possible. 

It was a decision that at the time seemed stupid and a decision now that at least in my eyes was as silly as Sven’s decision in taking Theo Walcott to the World Cup, after all when do Co-Managers ever work in football?

I was actually asked to join up with the ‘Un-Fantastic Four’ and add another backbone to what was already at least in their words, the ‘dream team.’ With knowing how comic-book stories end of course I did the sensible thing in declining their offer and  selected the best 11 players I could pick with my money available, taking into account the rule that you could not have more than 2 players from a club in your team.

Just like Marvel Comic’s Doctor Doom, I made it my year’s ambition (aside from doing well in my exams) to beat the foursome in the league tables and show that one mastermind was better than four brains.

After starting dreadfully after the first week, in which my team was ranked the worst in the school, whilst theirs was fourth-best, I slowly turned it round and ended up romping to finishing as runner up in my school. As well as defeating the ‘Un-Fantastic Four’, I also beat around 220-240 other students in my school

I seem to recall that year’s competition amongst my group of 20 friends, that whoever out of us would score the most points in a month would each get £1 of each other. This wager ended after only 3 months into the season, after I received £40 in winning the most amounts of points in September and October and people disliked the idea of continuing the wager after that.

Nationwide there were around 250,000 entrants to the competition, compromising of students and the odd teacher here or there and I somehow managed to finish in the top 2,000 in the overall standings, which wasn’t bad at all.

I didn’t fare as well the following season though finishing in about 12th (if memory serves me right) in my school but still finished well ahead of the ‘Un-Fantastic Four’ who by-now had split up and were now running their own teams.

In recent years, my FF teams have not done as well as I would have liked and in the last 2 seasons, after starting a team have given up halfway through the season. This is partly due my own fault in not having faith in players when they are doing well and transferring them and in not going with my gut instinct when selecting players at the start of the year.

This year for instant I chose Andrei Arshavin in my team when I had the funds to go for either one of Samir Nasri and Florent Malouda. Arshavin hasn’t exactly hit the ground running in the Premiership this season whilst at the start of the season the Two Frenchman were getting points and scoring goals for fun.

In a future article I’ll refer back to FF paying tribute to one particular player this season whose success this season (particularly in one game) resulted in me making one of the biggest mistakes ever in FF history. It’s so big a cock-up that if FF had financial implications on it, then I’d be probably be sacked as manager of the team as a result of that mistake.

You’re have to wait for when that article is published to see which current Premiership player I will be writing about and why after his form this season, I’m very tempted to not go anywhere near FF ever again.

Who was it that said FF was only just a bit of fun?

Adam Dennehey


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