And so Gameweek 38+ brought the curtain down on another Premier League season. The longest, most drawn-out of farewells to a season remarkable in so many ways – and to a Fantasy Premier League season that seemed to have drifted into the ether only to come back with a bang and end on a mesmerising last week high.
With apologies to any Watford and Bournemouth fans.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, as they say, but we won’t be apart of for long as next season is just seven weeks away and Ben Crellin is already talking up the potential for early blank gameweeks! The new season will bring with it the inevitable and joyous return of FFUK and with it the various competitions that combine to enthrall it’s managers and provide the perfect adjunct to the wonderfully addictive Premier League product.
All of which brings me round to the epic culmination of two of those competitions. The FFUK Cup and the Milk Plate. This season the rules of engagement were refined such that all FFUK managers were entered into the FFUK Cup. Those losing in the first round got their second-chance saloon with entry into the Milk Plate while the winners progressed in the more prize money-lucrative FFUK Cup. Through seven rounds the competitions ran, then reached the final, man-on-man, winners raised in tumultuous ovation.
As we entered the final gameweek, the scores stood as follows:
FFUK Cup Final: Jamie Stephens 116 vs John Willson 128
Milk Plate Final: Pete Cronin 130 vs James Downie 117
Both ties led by sizeable, though far from insurmountable leads. Could John or Pete be caught? Were there chips left to play? Would anyone take any bold hits?
In short. Yes.
First to the Milk Plate where we found Villa fan James trailing Pete by 13 points. I may have trolled James for the inclusion in his squad of two Villa players (Grealish and McGinn). His response? Bring in another (Konsa)! Brave? Foolhardy? Were those claret-and-blue-tinted spectacles deceiving him? Not a bit of it! Grealish scored his first goal in what seems like eons! While James took a -4 hit, he had his triple captain in the bank and this was judiciously played on Sterling. Yes it would have been more effective played on KDB – but given the choice we would have all gone with Sterling I think. 84 points (88 minus the hit) in total. Would it be enough?
You bet your jolly old lives it would!! Pete’s 64 points was respectable. Hell, he got a green arrow in the FFUK league for it, moving up to 7th place. But with a 20-point gameweek deficit, his lead of 13 points proved more flimsy that it appeared. Sterling was chosen as captain, but no other decision would have altered the outcome. In the end Pete can only rue the respective managers’ decisions to rest Antonio and Doherty (who both scored zero points for their 45 minutes of effort, coupled each with a yellow card), and Willian (who didn’t play at all).
So after all that drama, how would it go in the main event, The FFUK Cup. We left it with Jamie Stephens trailing John Willson by 12 points. And what did John do? He only went and took a hit! Madness, surely! And oh how he must have cursed the dreaded team sheets when they went live as his new signings Antonio and Salah were consigned to their benches while those replaced, Fernandes and KDB, were playing. You can see where this is going! How John must have cursed the very o’erhanging firmament as a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours as KDB racked up goals and assists like they’d been going out of fashion. Quite where he had keeping that kind of performance over the last few weeks is anybody’s guess. I shipped him out for Sterling for the price of a hit, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone. Would a bordering-on-paltry 43 points (47 minus the hit) then be enough?
By jiminy, by crikey it would!! Goodness me but it was tight! Jamie Stephens only needed 55 points. A draw would have been enough for him. The rules dictate that the winner of a draw in the Cups is determined on a count-back system, with the winner being the one who had the highest score in the previous round (and if those are level back to the first-round, determined by me on the basis of who has the better team name*). Jamie scored 265 in the semis, to John’s 259. 55 required then, and with scores aplenty in the 70+ bracket, surely a formality? But no, it wasn’t to be for Jamie as he fell agonisingly short on 53 points. Jamie will be left to rue choosing Sterling over Fernandes as Captain. But more harrowing will be his decision to transfer out KDB for Son: forever to look upon himself and curse his fate, wishing to be like one more rich in hope. Jamie finds solace though in his final appearance and top ten finish, both of which will pay out nicely. For John, those vapours were a little sweeter-smelling than he must have thought!
Until next season.
*For those that are interested (and still reading) this would have been John’s “FAT FRANK HATERZ” which, while unremarkable, still knocks Jamie’s “Northern Lights” into a cocked hat. Quite why John hates Frank Lampard remains a mystery (he’s not a West Ham fan – I’ve checked).