#FPL OCD – PRE SEASON RAMBLINGS
So here it is. The 3 months of waiting are almost over. Take down the countdown clock, stop desperately searching for pre-season fixtures, abandon all hope of having any late summer plans. 3 months of frantically checking transfer rumours, wondering where you may find room Karim Benzema and Marco Reus, and looking at pre-season performers, contemplating if Ighalo is going to break all of Lionel Messi’s goal scoring records by Christmas. It is nearly here. We can almost taste it. Seeing friends at weekends? Spending time in the sun? Forget it, close the curtains and get your priorities straight. I would like to say that the panic is almost over, but really, it has only just begun.
My mind harks back to previous opening weekends. The despair of deciding against Michu, who had been in and out of my team all through the summer of 2012, the bold decision to start with Jovetic last year, the strong start giving a glimmer of hope. Champion. How would it actually feel? Final standings – top of the world. Only a few have experienced the thrill, but right now, it is a dream that we all share. We are all even, the level playing field not yet disrupted. Never has 0 points given one such optimism. Sure, we have more realistic aims – my personal realistic goal is, as always, top 1k, with top 5k indicating a very respectable season, and top 10k being the bare minimum, but what would life be without dreams? 1st place, that is where we should really be aiming.
As the deadline approaches, my certainty around my squad begins to disintegrate. It had all looked so promising, a side containing the stars of Ivanovic, Walcott, Fabregas, Sterling, Rooney and Costa, but now? Walcott’s Charity Shield display was not one that suggested a player worth a gamble. We know that his minutes are in danger, and he needs big returns to justify selection.
I have a strong FPL affinity with Theo, and the lure is strong, but with Ozil’s, Cazorla’s and Ramsey’s starts being more assured, the sensible option may be to leave him alone. Costa’s hamstrings are, predictably, posing an issue, and there are two huge elephants in the room, in the shape of Aguero and Sanchez. Can we plan for easy transfers? We all know that this game rarely works out that way. The new wildcard structure means that an early overhaul is very enticing.
The headaches are strong at such an early stage, and will only increase over the next 9 months, but we FPL addicts would not change a thing. Why do we put ourselves through it? Even in a 90 point GW, we are left cursing the one substitution that we should have made, or the couple of points lost through an incorrect captaincy choice. It is a curse, an albatross around the neck of thousands, unable to escape fantasy football no matter how strongly our minds tell us to step away, to leave it behind, to get on with our lives. The casuals can dip in and out, but for some it is all or nothing. Even I abandoned it for a year, but I couldn’t stay away. Now the season is here, and the anxiety, frustration and uncertainty have returned. Welcome back old friends, pull up a chair, you’re here for the long run. But sat alongside them is that beam of light, the ray of excitement and hope. That, my fellow addicts, is why we are here. Buckle in guys, it’s about to begin.
John went to University, finished his degree, and got a good job in the City of London. He is now in the process of throwing it all away in favour of FPL, a game with no notable rewards for success. He firmly believes this to be the correct decision.