GW38 REVIEW – THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM

They think it’s all over… It is now.

They made us wait. Even the bomb squad got involved. But now the fat lady has well and truly sung her song. Actually it wasn’t a fat lady but a thin blind man. After what seems an eternity since Andrea Bocelli’s spine tingling performance of Nessun Dorma we can now all relax knowing that the FPL season is over. Our work is done. I needed some time after the last game to gather my thoughts. But now I am ready to tell you all about it…

We have a lot to discuss. Grab your cup of tea (though you may need something stronger). Are you sitting comfortably? Then let me begin.

It was a clear black night, a clear white moon, Warren G was on the streets… sorry not sure why I am now freestyling Regulate and this isn’t one of Pete’s raps.

Back to the matter in hand.

2015/2016 Premier League Season

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There has been one story above all others this season.

Tottenham’s young players showed promise and their youthful squad looks to have every chance of fighting for top honours in the future with careful management. West Ham’s final season at Upton Park was an impressive one, with Payet in particular wowing the locals. Watford surpassed all expectations and in Ighalo & Deeney had the best forward pairing in the league. Whilst they were both in the top 6 scoring forwards for the season the pair were 1st and 2nd for value. Staggeringly, Watford’s owners thought it sensible to sack their manager off the back of their terrible season (they also got to FA Cup semi final). But none of these stories really matter.

Then there was the capitulation of several of the pre-season favourites for the league. The less said about Chelsea the better. But City bottled it too. Arsenal always bottle it. LVG did as much as he could to distract us from the fact that Utd were bottling it. Stoke are building a Barcelona-lite side. Klopp has started something at Liverpool but gave up on the league a long time ago. Koemann is a wanted man after leading the Saints to dizzy heights. Pulis is now wearing the West Brom club shop with real panache. Big Sam saved Sunderland. Eddie Howe’s cherries are blossoming nicely. Villa were pathetic. Newcastle should sack whoever appointed Schteve MacLaren and also sack whoever decided to wait until the spring to fire the wolly with the brolly. Norwich were plucky but ultimately unlucky.

However, yes, even these stories all pale into insignificance as there is but one tale that stands above them all.

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Leicester’s impossible dream has been an inspiration to fantasy managers up and down the land. The rule book has been ripped up. It’s ok to believe. We can dream. With Vardy & Mahrez in our side this season we have been a part of this amazing feat. In our own small way we have all enjoyed Leicester’s success. How can you not love Claudio Ranieri? This is a victory for every one of us. Beautiful. Elvis lives and he is currently partying with Jamie Vardy in Revolutions in Leicester.

 

FFUK League Prizes

Here it is in all its glory – the final league table. The Top 50. The creme de la creme for those of you getting in the mood for France 2016. If you are in this you can consider it a solid season. You are eating at the top table with the big boys. In the pub when someone wants to know about Bournemouth’s best attacking midfielders  or who takes corners for Stoke you are qualified to tell them.

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Congratulations to the new FFUK League Winner 2015/2016, Paul Baker.

Paul was asked to choose a song that reflected his efforts this season, and after considerable deliberation, I present to you Sid Vicious’ unique take on My Way:

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After a long and gruelling season Paul Baker (1st) takes the crown and with it the glory, an amazing season and he held on until the very end, once again massive congratulations. £250 is waiting for you. It ended as a tussle between the top 3 really, but Paul came out on top and in the end wasn’t made to sweat too much for his win.

Lester Deeble (2nd) claims the runner up spot and with that a cool £150, but the prizes don’t end there for Lester who has enjoyed an amazing first FPL season, a bit like his beloved Watford who were new to the big league…

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Sam Blake (3rd) completes the top 3 and earns himself £100. Blakey has been right up there for as long as I can remember. Definitely one to watch for watch next season.

James Coward (4th) completed a remarkable season in the money, another who was playing this game for the first time and showed us old hands how its done. A very respectable 57 in the final gameweek cemented his position whilst others fell away. £75 is on its way to you over in Dubai.

Jonathan Britcher (5th) was another familiar name towards the top of the table after a strong season with far more green arrows than reds. Your tactics have certainly been successful, sterling work squire and £60 is your prize for your lofty league position.

Strategies-for-the-Fantasy-Football-Bonus-Point-System

Loz Kelly (6th) endured a tricky final gameweek. He nearly performed as badly as me! 29 points meant Loz dropped places and therefore lost out when it mattered most, Big Chris Smalling hit Loz hard, but more on that one later. Still, a good season for Loz who earns himself £50 for his efforts.

Mark Turnbull (7th) returned to form with Girooooooooood doing the business. In fact the former Montpellier man was the highest scoring player of the final gameweek. (I actually recommended to several people at Pete’s wedding that they get him in for the last match by the way). Clearly I should take my own advice sometimes. Martial & Rashford sealed the deal for Mark in the last game. Mark you have won £40 for your finish in the league.

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Next up is Richard Harrison (8th) who threatened to crash the big boys party at the top but simply fell away just when it mattered. I think Rich took his eye off the ball during the emotional farewell to his beloved Upton Park. Another with captain Sanchez on the last day, it didn’t really help any of us. £30 winnings to you.

Another Top 10 regular Matt Cox (9th) deserves credit. Although some of his closest rivals (who are much lower in the league) believe Matt is paying for professional advice this season I have checked his internet history and whilst there were a few websites I will never be able to get out of my head again, I am satisfied that his work is all his own and his performances this season earn himself £20. Don’t spend it all at once Matt.

Finally the last spot in the Top 10 goes to Stan Packham (10th). Another man who has performed better this season than the past. £10 for all your efforts (or should we keep it as payment for next season?) I think Stan’s improved finish may be down in some part to the fact that I haven’t seen Stan as often as in previous seasons and therefore the amount of bad advice I have been able to offer has been minimal. Is it that or is it just Leicester’s title win giving us all new renewed hope and belief?

So that is the Top 10. What a wonderful achievement for all of you. Something to tell your grandchildren about. But there are many more prizes up for grabs at FFUK so let’s have a look at how these have been won.

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Manager of the Month

Lester Deeble (391 points, April) takes the top prize in what was a blockbuster April. Whilst Lester didn’t have the bottle to hold on in the league, this can be excused as he was already counting his winnings from a bumper April. Another £50 to you sir.

Richard Harrison (373 points, December) is the runner up. This looked like a tough score to beat until the madness of last month but still well done Rich, £25 to you for coming 2nd cannot be sniffed at!

Best GW Score (Provisional)

N.B. Winning scores can still be submitted to FFUK until FA CUP FINAL kicks off on Saturday (though we are pretty confident it will finish like this…)

claim your prize

Congratulations once again to Lester Deeble (178 points, GW34). Oops he did it again. Wow in fact that really is a beast of a score. I don’t think anyone will come forward with anything that beats that so the prize is surely yours Lester, and it will be official on Saturday. Another £50 to you. Beers are certainly on you at the end of season do!

Runner up in this one is Steve Cronin (127 points, GW37). Once again I don’t think this score will be beaten but you never know. I for one have checked my gameweek history several times and I definitely can’t beat it! £30 is waiting for you. Next season Steve, you just need to perform in the other 37 gameweeks and you will be right up there!

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The Magic of the Cups

FFUK Cup Final

In the FFUK Cup Final Matthew Cox beat Donald Macaulay by 334 points to 303. Congratulations Coxey, another £100 is on its way to you. Donald you win £50 for being the runner up. Some great ties this season, well done to all who made it to the latter stages.

Challenge Cup Final

In the inaugural Challenge Cup Final Jamie Stewart beat Mark Tarbox by 133 points to 113. Once again I think this cup worked pretty well giving the players who weren’t performing early on the chance of progress in at least one competition. Jamie £50 for you and £20 for you Mark.

Massive congratulations to all of the winners above. You all deserve a virtual pat on the back plus you have the bragging rights for some time to come. People will look at you differently from now on you know!

And while this alone is reason enough for all of our efforts, here at FFUK we offer more. You want more. Why can’t Leicester now go on and win the Champions League? You want prizes. Actually cold hard cash is better than prizes but you can buy yourself whatever prize you like if you win! The Euros are coming, and next season, FFUK promises to be bigger, and better.

Please can any prize winners send your bank details over and I will arrange payment next week. And well done to each and every one of you. You are now all Pete’s heroes.

Chelsea

I was going to write a long depressing article about Chelsea’s performances this season. In fact I began writing it, but it was getting me down. What is the point in me writing a long winded obituary/love letter when I can sum it up in 2 sentences?

Chelsea FC is not being run properly and many of the senior players don’t care about the club. We need to believe in our fantastic youth teams and promote from within, whilst bringing in the best players we can to supplement that ethos.

Sounds simple because it really is. Leicester have shown that. Build a team. Create something special. Believe. We have some of the best youth players in Europe. Its not about the manager, the sponsor, or how many fans you get through the turnstiles, and it definitely isn’t about how many shirts are sold in Timbuktu. Fortunately John Terry signed a 1 year contract extension yesterday, and while he is at the club I can now trust that there is at least one senior player in that dressing room who actually cares. Eden Hazard is a trickier subject. Maybe I really should do a separate Chelsea post, just on Hazard, but that is for another time.

I will always have a special place in my heart for the man below and I can never forgive certain players for giving up this season. I know who they are.

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And that is my Chelsea rant over. Apologies for that.

Side Bets

Pete – this one was close all season, you could say it went til the end of the road. To be fair to Pete he managed to keep within touching distance of me all season. It got pretty heated between us at times. There were messages flying with reckless abandon on many a Friday afternoon. On a couple of occasions Pete crossed the line but in the end my victory was convincing. In the end I had a 30 point buffer going into GW38 and despite my team’s lacklustre performance I knew that if I went for the same captain it would be all but impossible for him to catch me. I really wanted to go for Aguero but I knew Pete only had Sanchez and he was the runaway captain favourite. Ironically if I had gone with Aguero my other side bet would have turned out very differently. But thank you Pete for a great tussle and I look forward to doing battle with you once more next season.

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Neil – Big Chris Smalling. You honestly couldn’t make this sort of thing up. A few weeks ago I was miles ahead of Neil but he was on the charge. After an uncharacteristically bad start our former winner was ominously making his way up the league. It didn’t look like he could win the title again but I did note that he could get close to me, then my team imploded with rotation hitting me hard – cheers Klopp! Neil didn’t just get close. Going into GW37 Neil had built a lead over me of more than 40 points but I hit back. I had a 9 point lead going into the final week…. then the bomb squad got involved and it got heavy. Going into the final game of the final gameweek Neil had a 5 point lead on me. I had Big Chris Smalling, he had no-one. He thought it was mine to lose. I couldn’t be so sure. I prayed. I watched the whole game. In the 91st minute at 3-0 Utd I thought I would check FPL, maybe even look to see if Big Chris might earn a cheeky bonus point. This season might turn out ok. Then it happened. I don’t really know what happened, I looked up and saw Big Chris with his head in his hands. No. Then the score flashed up 3-1. What? Oh no. Then the final whistle. Then adverts. What had just happened? What was that strange feeling in the pit of my stomach? I went to BBC sports. Still 3-0. Then I saw it. Chris Smalling OG. Last kick of the game. I was numb. I wasn’t expecting that. Neil wins the side bet and now I will never be able to look at Big Chris Smalling again.

Spot Prize for next season

spot-prize

We have received a kind and honourable offer from the FFUK League 2015/16 season winner Paul Baker that he would like to stump up £10 of his prize money to run with the original plan of a Spot Prize. This means that everyone in the league will be entered into a draw for free entry to the league next season! The Paul Baker Prize means that we also have another £10 in the pot that Pete stumped up a few weeks ago which will now be utilised elsewhere…

Final thoughts

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The End of Season Do – we’d love it if you joined us on Saturday 11th June for the FFUK End of Season Party and the England v Russia game!

Please let us know if you can (or can’t) make it. Pete will begin chasing you very soon if you haven’t already let us know, so get your responses in any way you can, you don’t want Pete bothering you with calls and messages night and day, trust me! Plus a little birdy has told me that the league winner will be in attendance. We are truly honoured. For a reminder of all the details click here

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Euro 2016 Fantasy Football – are you in our mini league yet? Sign up and send over your £5 entrance fees please ASAP. Pete will be sending out an update on this very soon. In the meantime click here for all the info you need.

Furthermore, Pete & I are doing a separate Euros sweepstake, although places are very limited and previous sweepstake entrants have initially been offered first refusal.

Finally, a big thanks from me to everyone who has contributed to a really fun season. Looking forward to doing it all again in August.

Oh and one more thing…

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