Article written by @JackAGoodwin
Foreward by @FantasyYIRMA
This article doesn’t really need a foreward however, given it’s going to turn out to be the FantasyYIRMA.com equivalent of War & Peace it makes sense that I try and somewhat justify why Jack has devoted far too much of his time into doing this.
Ultimately it was all due to a International Break, boredom, and Jack’s flexible work-life balance, which if his employer is reading should certainly revisit.
Anyway – enjoy Part 1 of the Premier League, Best Alphabet Team Tournament. If anyone has a better name for this – let me know. Happy to edit the title.
Big Kudos to Jacky Boy for sticking with this and if you need a break half way through this article – head over to Manscaped.com and by ball shaving equipment using code “BANGERS” for 20% Discount.
Hope you like the alphabet guys, because the alphabet appears here, in this, the Best Alphabet Team Tournament.
You thought you could escape the alphabet for a second, didn’t you? You fools. “I don’t tend to think about the alphabet that much”, you say to yourselves, as if it were that easy. But oh, look, no: Here’s the alphabet confidently arranging your entire Spotify Westlife album collection, here’s loads of letters arranged in a confusing not-ever-really-explained-why configuration we lovingly call a keyboard. And, oh look, for absolutely no reason at all, here’s the greatest Premier League teams ever assembled based on the alphabet alone.
Surnames beginning with A make up Team A, and so on – pretty simple concept until I realised there was much more research required to successfully complete this tournament! Teams need to be in formation, so an all-out attack 11-striker option wasn’t available. No, I had to find players for each position, sometimes far too many that I had to make an educated choice which caused Twitter riots, but then times where there literally wasn’t EVER a player with a surname beginning with the letter I wanted for specific positions. Chaos. Chaos I tell you.
So, it was set. 24 teams complete, ready to take one another on in head-to-head matches which the FPL Twitter community will vote on the winners to progress to the next round
Yes, I am aware that there are 26 letters in the alphabet, this was issue #187: letters U, X & Z don’t have enough eligible players to make up a team – so they were combined to form a multi-letter-kinda team.
With 3000+ votes, the tournament ran for an entire week on Twitter. Voting match by match until we were down to a final 3 teams who then faced off for the coveted title of Best Premier League Alphabet Team.
Ed: I’m never getting this time back
I had folk on Twitter throw suggestions for subs at me left, right and centre but I was always too afraid to go back and ask them to clarify the names in case they were totally made up and they laughed at me. Alas, this won’t be the results that all of you agree with, for the most part I believe the right team progressed with a couple of surprises.
Sure, long articles are great if you’re invested in the topic, but be warned; the finger-tapping aggravated, whisky -assisted evening meltdowns which often involved stewing over which naff photo of a player to choose – this, is the result.
Ed: This starts soon right?
Here are the opening 12 fixtures from the tournament, complete with a bloody good write up explaining potential battles, issues, and outrageous scenarios which these teams would get in if they were to ever actually play each other…
A vs B:
Matchday 1 kicked off with a belter! The A team were a hot favourite to go all the way even before the rest of the line-ups had been announced. Their first challenge was the B Team. Who unfortunately even with the absolute fire up front with Berba & Bergkamp just couldn’t stop letting in goals from all areas of the pitch as Fabian Barthez was hilariously bad. His two CB’s of Bramble & Berg couldn’t understand how Aguero could be so tiny and zippy, and at one-point Beckham had a perfect free kick on target only to be denied by Barthez who came up for the free kick and saved the goal in the wrong net. Arteta & Barry were locked into a 90minute man-hug all game so proved unimportant assets in this one, apparently crying over the memories at Man City.
Result (Twitter poll results):Team A 62%, Team B 37%
C vs D:
Polar opposites up front for C, mad-lad Costa & super-ninja Cantona tear up the right of the pitch whilst calm Cole and tiny Coutinho handle the left. Interestingly the D attackers totally avoid Carragher all match as he keeps trying to spit on them – which, opens up the defence for D to sneak in a couple of goals. Sure, KDB & Di Canio are some of the best midfielders ever to grace our English pitches, but please bare in mind that they’re playing alongside a man who wears sunglasses in any climate. D inevitably lose this one, the two central defenders just keep kicking off with De Gea in a row about which Manchester club is the best.
Result:Team C 65%, Team D 35%
E vs F:
One of Anton Ferdinand’s most notable achievements is having a brother who was more famous than him during their playing time, a fact which tears him apart every time he meets Rio for brunch. This aside, they sure can play well together, and this match up was a walk in the park as they handled Eto’o & Earnshaw with relative ease – in all honesty they didn’t touch the ball much as F’s strikers ran the show for the full 90 mins. Fowler & Ferdinand (cousin of the CB’s) bag all the goods, sniffing out goals throughout, finding the cracks and creating attacking lines which blow team E out of the cocaine game….
Result: Team E 9%, Team F 91%
G vs H:
Chest hair (Giggs), beautiful hair (Ginola), structural hair (Giroud), receding hair (Grobbelaar), zero hair (Galas) – team G have it all going for them if they were to represent Head & Shoulders anytime soon. Unfortunately for them, they’re up against arguably the greatest head of hair we’ve ever witnessed during the “it was just BANTER” era in Colin Hendry & Mr Nivea himself, Henderson. G’s midfield was mostly found lying on the ground, Gerrard tripping all over the place, Gazza the same (different “type” of tripping I must stress). It was va va voom’s for everyone as Thiery bought all his teammates Renault Clio’s after the victory.
Result: Team G 36%, Team H 64%
The result of this match sent shivers down my northern spine. Zlatan. Out of the tournament in the first round, he just couldn’t get past Phil Jones (understandable, actually). Is it just me who still thinks Stephen Ireland looks creepy with his unforgettably shiny head? I digress…This one was very tough to call, and the results prove just that. The overall win went to J, highlight of the match being when Ivanovic & Vinnie Jones had a scrap. Not many other highlights to recap – Zlatan with a token scorpion kick goal from his own half whilst blindfolded and there was a beautiful moment when the entire stadium erupted in applause as Kenwyn Jones completed his first pass on target since his 1 minute cameo debut in 2005 for Southampton against Liverpool (Saints won 2-0 – how times have changed).
Result: Team I 44%, Team J 56%
K vs L:
Lundstram has made this much of an impact, ALREADY in the all-time Team L. Rumours are circling around Sheffield that he insists that people refer to him as Lord Lundstram. Chris Kamara spent all game stalking throughout the pitch making conversation believing at any moment Jeff would be in his ear asking for an update. Fellow pundit Le Tissier chose to spend his 90 minutes trying to replicate some of his best goals from the 90’s until finally he did – Lukaku tripped over the ball which lifted it into Le Tiss’ path for a 1993 v Newcastle exact replica volley for the win in extra time! Back to you Jeff…
Result: Team K 49%, Team L 51%
M vs N:
Quick question: have you ever had a great idea which you didn’t realise just how big a task it would be until you’re half way through it? You’re watching that unfold. Going well. Sadly, Team M is here to derail everything, because they have arguably the ugliest blokes I’ve had the displeasure of Googling. Mascherano, Modric & Monreal could effortlessly have cameo roles in The Hills Have Eyes. That aside, they do have the McLads up top with Mane – too much firepower entirely for the piss-poor defence of N (Neville did 0 minutes of defending and just kept legging it down the wing right next to N’Zogbia).
Result:Team M 87%, Team N 13%
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O vs P:
I am sad to say that this match was painfully adorable. A light-touch squabble by Pearce & Otamendi resolved when Pogba did a funny little dance; but overall just a pleasant ball game with some of the loveliest men. How can you not like Pires? Pederson? Hell, even Phillips. And from team O, Oscar literally looks like a child with his teen brother Ozil. Don’t start me on Owen, the most non-threatening Liverpool player to ever grace our fields. This game was a direct punch in the heart from a fist made entirely of jelly tots. Enjoy this one…because O progress onto not so pleasant opposition I am sure in the next round. P, for all their lovely positives, just didn’t really have any true goal scorers better than Team O.
Result:Team O 69%, Team P 31%
Q vs R:
Fun fact, there has never been a goalkeeper in the Premier League with a Q surname. That being said, Wayne Quinn who famously (apparently) played 15 games for Newcastle back in 2001 and CURRENT player/manager for the mighty Mousehole FC (South West Peninsula League) decided to don the gloves! Twitter went rogue with this one, you Twitter lot went very rogue. Apparently 26% of you trusted Wayne Quinn so much in net that he was capable of stopping Rooney, Rush & Ronaldo – you absolute mentalists. Still, it’s a democracy, isn’t it? You had the vote, you decided to “act up”. Needless to say – , the rogue folks infiltrating those taking this absolutely seriously (looking at you @FPL_Dave & @OJRenn) were not successful and team R quite clearly went through to the 2nd round to face some real opponents. The 6 Quinn brothers all went back to Neil’s house for some quiche (he’s the only one with reasonable success to afford to feed all of them).
Result: Team Q 26%, Team R 74%
S vs T:
At the core of my being is where I hold Team S, I’d say they were a thing of beauty slightly leaning towards sexy (Stam aside). Take a moment please to look, inspect, truly breathe it all in and tell me one bad player? One weak link? A single change you’d make? (Don’t @ me, please). Many teams who’ve progressed through to the 2nd round so far wouldn’t get past Team T. A solid unit with the Toure brothers in the mix. Poor sods had to endure Terry, who spent the entire 90 minutes with creepy binoculars winking and blowing ugly kisses at the wives of the other players who were all, rightfully so, focussed solely on Team S (specifically Southgate, who decided to play in his full World Cup 2018 suit, complete with waistcoat). S breezed this one, and look destined for great things – if not this tournament, then a calendar should definitely be in the works.
Result:Team S 86%, Team T 14%
V vs W:
I’ll cut to the chase, RVP & Ruud jumped at every goal scoring opportunity like they were Tom Cruise on Oprah’s sofa. Both men love scoring with an intensity bordering on feverish, both have exceedingly long faces. This clash was over before the ref blew the whistle – Ian Wright didn’t turn up (reports are he’s lost in a jungle) and Dennis Wise apparently went looking for him because “he reckons he knows the place like the back of his hand”. They had their chances however, V’s Vero, Viera, & Vidic have away a total of 37 penalties in the match. Unfortunately each one was taken by Jonathon Woodgate who – despite being a Real Madrid legend – couldn’t get it past Van Der Sar, not once.
Result:Team V 94%, Team W 6%
Y vs UXZ:
Team Y are surprisingly in the same boat as Q – going into the game without even a goalkeeper. Instead of forfeiting they opted for the well-known 5-1-5 formation against a surprisingly tidy UXZ side made up of the most obscurely lettered surnames ever to grace the Prem. I’d like to think this match ended purely down to mistakes made by Ashley Young, famous United scapegoat. Is he the most persecuted man in United history? No, that would be absurd. But also; absolutely yes. You can’t have a pigeon single you out from 80,000 people and decide to take a dump in your mouth for no reason – there’s reason for everything. I don’t want to speculate the latter rounds at this point too much, but UXZ got away with one here – Zola aside they’re pretty basic bordering on naff.
Result: Team Y 21%, Team UXZ 79%
Listen: We all took this way too seriously (insert meaningful correlation between this and our FPL “journeys”). I may have overdone the effort I put into it. It’s fine. Admit it, it’s been fun.
12 matches are now somehow complete, 12 teams through to the 2nd round thanks to the many votes cast throughout the Twitterverse.
This article may make you very urgently want to demand the results of the next round – simmer down you three – it’s in the works. In the next article we’ll review the 2nd round match ups, the final six and the all-important FINAL THREE.
FOLLOW JACK ON TWITTER @JACKAGOODWIN
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