After nine weeks of fixtures, avid fans have been left with a scintillating start to the Premier League season.
With both consistent form and upsets abound, the perfect recipe has been drawn up for our consumption.
Any analytic football fan will tell you that there’s only one place where the average Joe Soap can take his misnomer of ‘armchair sportsman’ and trade it in for the far more illustrious ‘Fantasy Manager’. This space, this realm, is where dreams are born and lifelong aspirations come to die.
It is an unforgiving, unrelenting force which sucks us in as much as it spits us out. The sheer thrill of translating “I told you he’d score!” to actual, tangible points is enough to get most of us to the edge of our seats – or armchairs – and bask in ecstasy as we hope that, some day, one of us will receive a phone call from Manchester United offering us the job. Well, maybe a managerial position paying millions of pounds is slightly too ambitious, but what are dreams if not something to serve a purpose to our wandering minds.
At the very least, this hobby (I use hobby in the most serious of contexts, obviously) gives us appropriate bragging rights over our mates. Or, if you are one of the unlucky ones, those rights are not afforded to you, and you unfortunately find yourself on the receiving end of said bragging. Alas, as the cliché states, all’s fair in love and war, and using psychological warfare to obfuscate your opponents is an integral part of this game.
The consolidation of all these elements would make one think that it would pave the way for a disagreeable, toxic community. Ironically, it does the opposite. It formulates an esoteric user-experience that is alike no other. One with highs, lows and even marginal emotions whereby you are completely unsure of how to feel. It is a fun game. It is a great game. It is Fantasy Football.
Picking a team can be a truly traumatic experience. You begin the season with a set budget, from which you must carve a squad of fifteen players. With different players having different monetary values, it provides the user with a certain ‘selection headache’. Knowing who to purchase is often a question without an answer. You must use your head and your heart. There isn’t a Fantasy Manager on this planet that hasn’t chosen an expensive striker, then swapped him for an even more expensive midfielder, only to return to their earlier choice. This is an all-too-familiar scenario for any manager, and hopefully won’t trigger the PTSD of any reader.
Fantasy football is an extremely serious subject, and should never be treated with levity.