XLV. Black Out

So, yeah, I get it, honestly I do. The game (well at least in the EPL) will boycott all social media for the duration of gameweek 34. From 3pm on Friday 30th April to 11.59pm on Monday 3rd May . This step, although commendable, is for me, tinged by despair.

Despair that there is no unified groundswell of unanimous and spontaneous tribalism of the final straw kind, like that which we saw develop within hours of the supposed and now “dead” European Super League. That happened literally in hours!!!

Bamford sums it up succinctly…

So don’t tell me that we as fans, clubs, managers and governing bodies, et-al, don’t have the power to change the game!? I just witnessed it!

I saw Chelsea, Spurs & Arsenal fans… Liverpool, United & City fans, immediately coordinating a common-purpose approach to defy Big-Money!! It was done with a fervent passion, by tribes that usually wouldn’t dream about coming together!

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You see for those of the initial generations born in the UK, whose parents or grandparents were not, we were conditioned to the extent that generally, we shrugged our shoulders and moved on, accepting the undercurrents of the status-quo, in the main.

However, when faced with the Super League response, you can understand why initially, many see it as a right smack in the face. The young ‘uns are not conditioned to the extent of older generations, if at all! They’re the new breed and they’re not having it! Their response is anger & frustration, which is also where many of us oldies eventually arrive!

WE want action now!! (and rightly so!)

This is pissing the fuck out of the old guard who are used to the response of us oldies who used to generally, take it on the chin.

I genuinely put my hands up to these young ‘uns, quietly disappointed in my own acceptance ofWell, that’s just the way it is…“.

I mean, why should the younger generations conform the way previous generations have?! I’m sure as hell not teaching my son to turn the other cheek!

We all need to keep society moving, right?!!!

Chelsea 'alerted to racist fan in 2014' | Sport | The Sunday Times

It’s never been acceptable, and after ALL this time, as a 70s baby, our offspring are still ripe to receive this shit entering the 6th following decade?! And, still I hear people complaining more about players taking the knee, over and above the issue they’re highlighting?!

Nah, fuck that shit!

As the late and great Bunny Wailer said… “Rise…“!

#NoRoomForRacism ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻

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XLIV. Meh.

Jenny Lord Deep Dive

Another -8, another green arrow. Bored of it now. Been there, done that. 😁 I am now in the process of achieving a rather unwanted yet possibly 🤔 mind-bogglingly genius 🤓 level-up! I’ve manage to maintain an OR of 1.3xM for the past 8 consecutive gameweeks! #treadingwater #skillunlocked 😆 This achievement commenced immediately after arriving at my highest rank of the season, yet. GW24, no hits. Gündogan ©️ 38pts. 1.1M.

Fuck it, grab a tank, goggles & flippers! Let’s go deep!

GW25💉💉: Hudson-Odoi 🔄 Raphina©️ 24pts! Antonio (out for Kane) miraculously recovered from his GW24 injury to nab 7pts away to Tottenham! I still can’t fault the cognition at the time, them’s just the breaks. +10pts Net.1.37M. 🙄😏

DGW26: I made a conscious decision to take no hits in this gameweek. At least I maximised my Bruno triple-captain fail of 18pts! 😆 1.36M.

DGW27💉: I said goodbye to Salah for what may still turn out to be the final time this season, after he’d hoodwinked me into getting him back just 3 gameweeks earlier! Son returned 5pts. Salah’s 2pts vs Fulham @ Anfield means, -1 Net.1.34M. Gündogan©️ 20pts.

GW28💉: I went into this gameweek thinking-forward. Continuing the repositioning of my squad. Pope 🔄 Mendy. That would’ve been it, but, I was lured into the Bale trap, for Raphinha no less! To add insult to injury, I capped Bale for 2pts! Raphina bagged 3pts at home vs Chelsea. 5pts in-the-mud. Still would have had a captain fail though, Kane & Son blanked too! 1.31M.

BGW29💉: Son got injured, so I took a punt which doubled as repositioning to take advantage of a great fixture run. Ødegaard. Cancelo had no fixture, so a one-week punt on Aina fell flat on it’s face. Captain Dunk was not a total disaster for 12pts, but captaining Lingard for 24pts would’ve seen me fly! I went for safety, balancing out the mental Aina pick! I must remember to go fully mental at all times! -3 Net 😂1.34M.

GW30💉💉: The beginning of my triple Chelsea defence adventure. I capped Azpilicueta for “nil pwa” 😆. They lost 2-5 to WBA! Hits taken for Bale 🔄 Jota & Dunk 🔄 Rüdiger. The latter of these being an unnecessary transfer really, but I was fully convinced by Chelsea’s recent form and upcoming fixtures, thus a great differential, at least in my head 🤪. The gameweek, in the end, was way more about my captain fail than taking the hits, without Jota, I’d still have had a red arrow. 3 assets in my side returned double-figures! Highlighting the importantance of captaincy choice. Obviously. 😆 +3pts Net. 1.378M.

GW31💉💉: Watkins & Ødergaard 🔄 Lacazette & Maddison. Laca was always coming in for an Arsenal double-up, but Ødergaard picked up an injury, so out he went for Maddo. However, Maddo broke social-distancing rules and didn’t feature. -3 Net (Watkins got 8pts away to Liverpool) despite the 13pts gained from Laca. 1.370M. Jota©️ 4pts. Overthinking may have cost me rank, I had the ©️ on Laca up until hours within the Saturday morning deadline! 😄

DGW32💉💉: Gündogan & Cresswell 🔄 Son & Dallas. Long story, short. +5pts Net. Kane©️ 24pts. 1.34M.

After all of that, I’m 6pts to the good! A lot of hits for just 6pts! I do have a better squad though. 🤪😂 As I’ve always known, and have stated in previous blogs, captaincy choice is my real weakness. So, a renewed attempt to improve and achieve a run of good captain picks is imperative for the rest of the season. Starting with…

BGW33💉: Fernandes 🔄 Greenwood. Iheanaco 24pts! 😁 HUZZAH!! 🍻 -3pts Net. 1.23M!!

That went well!

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YOLO

Who am I? It’s like a riddle my mind cannot solve,I have no idea who I am anymore. This is going to take some time … Can you answer who you are?

Jonathan Frostick

A couple weeks off work and my mind has time for reflection, what have I done with my life ?

What happened to my sense of meaning, mastery and mattering to others.

You only live once – but you can always be reborn.

Here comes the sun, step out of the shadows…

For now, do something that makes you feel young, happy and free. He’d want that for you

Bill Steinman

I don’t know where you stand on the FPL spectrum, flying, mehh, done for the season, other…but as in life, feelings are cyclical. I know I have spent far too many game weeks languishing in the void between depression and flourishing, but right now, I am satisfied, I am OK, hovering just outside 100K, relieved I can see the finish line and hopeful for the future.

We are born again when the new season arrives. We can choose to experience a new playing style, to prioritise winning a mini league over overall rank. There is always a new dawn in FPL.

Us crazy folk that are passionate about the game are already planning the next campaign

  • BREW ‘already planning …writing a list ‘
  • FIRETOG has shifted strategy and cites he will be ‘chasing money at the start’
  • BUFFY is going pioneer. He has reached the final 8 of the Super Cup and is theorising on how he can take his blocking strategy and exploit it for rank gain for 2021/22.
  • VINCE ‘I was planning to quit next season, but this week has changed my mind..I have not planned … I have rules & laws …like 10 points but I deleted (them) … bring in players you know and trust , oh FPL laws I found it…’

As the game weeks count down, in a ‘you say goodbye and I say hello’ mindset, I am gathering momentum and information for next season. But I am still thoroughly engaged with this one.

I just enjoyed my best game week rank so far 18,639, I chose to TC Kane as I realised just captaining him, with his high ownership wouldn’t be enough to make rank gains. Yes a shield play but it felt more sword when he got 2 goals.

6 green arrows in a row, now up to 149k from 219k.

Interestingly I was 90% template GW32, a stark reminder of how powerful the captaincy coin toss can be.

I am still learning about how to exploit the template, you can stroke it and tease it a little while it sleeps, but push it too far and awakes with a deadly bite.

I was contemplating where to concentrate my efforts earlier this week

And I agree with Harbourboy, gently does it.

So why with 2 FT in hand did I end up on a -4 this week ? As I have accepted defeat this season, I am able to play with more freedom, I can gamble on the fact that 1 playing bench is ok ( I am keeping both Kane & Son who blank this week). Safe. Rational.

But I just can’t help myself, I am addicted to danger, to prodding the sleeping dog.

The pressers made me reconsider, Phillips and Jota were a no show possibility, I would be down to 10..but so what ? Others might be in the same boat, really I should hold my nerve, hope they resort to hitting, I should use their -4’s…and so it goes. Torres, Ings and Phillips out . Maddo (good vibrations), TAA (Mate-choice copying) and Bamford (‘it’s all coming back to me’ ) in.

As I write, half way through GW33, I can’t stop fixating on improving my midfield

GW33 and beyond – is good good enough ?

If you don’t go over the top, how are you ever going to see what’s on the other side?

Jim Steinman

CONCLUSION

Could the essence of mastering FPL be distilled into a 10 point plan ?

It’s possible. I am blueprinting mine as I type.The great and the good, the experts, the pseudo-sciencers , the chat room theorists, so many fountains of wisdom.

But it is beginning to dawn on me, that my needs might be more spiritual than factual. And that’s another blog.

POSTSCRIPT

What happened this week made the community contemplate its own mortality somewhat.

The storm in a tea cup which will no doubt bring about a sea change in how we experience football in the future.

XLIII. Elephant

European Super League. I half expect that Levy sacked Mourihno now because he knew it would be a footnote on the BIG news of the week! 😂

The thing is though, when you get past the romantic🌹rose-petal🌹view of the league system we’ve become accustom to over the years, something stinks. 💩 In every major league in Europe, the simple fact is, hegemony rules. In France, who’s gonna win the league besides PSG? 7 out of the last 10 seasons. The Budesliga, Bayern München, 8 from 10 with Borrussia Dortmund winning the other two. In Spain’s La Liga, only thrice during the last 20yrs has the title been won by a team which was not either of Barcelona (10) or Real Madrid (7). England, only due to the creation of the Premier League (that the whole world loves as it is by far the most viewed football league in the world) and the money pumped in by licensing, Oligarchs, Oil rich states and American sports moguls are we afforded a sort of competitiveness. Yet in the last 20 years only once (Leicester) has the dominance of the Big 6, Man Utd (6), Chelsea (5), Man City (4, soon to be 5), Arsenal (2), Liverpool (1) not held sway (“unluckeeey” Spurs!🤣), and let’s be honest if not for the big money injections I referred to just a second ago, United & Liverpool would be well on course to create La Liga 2.0 in England. As much as we may hate to admit it, in many ways our league was saved from predictable monotony because of big money. Also, let’s not forget that the Premier League came into existence on pretty much the exact same arguments being stated by the “..founding members…” of the proposed Super League! Serie A, if you’re not Juventus, 9 consecutive titles to date, or one of the Milan clubs, you’ll never win the title!

r/soccer - List of Top 5 Leagues' winners since the turn of the century

The money from domestic TV rights and/or Champions League involvement has created a skewered playing field, where the rich clubs will, and are, slowly become richer, especially those who have cajoled the system in their favour due to historically being a big club and/or belonging to an elite cabal of domestic european leagues. For example, a lower tier team, let’s say Eredivisie’s Ajax or PSV, make it to the semi-finals of the CL. The revenue generated and the cut they receive from UEFA will be dwarfed by the sum received by the likes of Barcelona if they were knocked out of the competition at the same stage! Even though Ajax & PSV dominate their leagues much in the same way Real Madrid and Barcelona dominate theirs, who outside of the Netherlands watches the Eridivisie?! And thus, this is how the money is distributed between the clubs and whether you like it or not, commercially, the clubs with the most “pull” have a right to demand more of the spoils. I know I would. If many of you reading this, had a product that was the bomb you’d want a larger slice of the cake because it’s your specific ingredient that draws the crowds. You see, we’ve all created the monster. We all want to have that star player in our teams (who comes with an astronomical price tag and associated wages), we all want the dream of playing the European Elite via a top 4 finish, and so on, and so on. We seem to forget the aspirations and subsequent conformity of reality telling the fans of “the other” 14 teams in the PL, every season, to know their place! Imagine being the fan of a club who will NEVER win the Premier League, how do you even get excited about a new season?! Everton, West Ham, Aston Villa, clubs with rich history, do you think they’ll ever win the Premier League as it stands, much less the Champions League, should they qualify?! And then even if they won, or qualified, would they receive the same sized slice as a Man U, City or Liverpool in the same position? No. The Elephant has been in the room for the past 20yrs, inconspicous only because of the rose-petal view I mentioned at the start.

This chart shows the revenue of the big five european league clubs

UEFA & FIFA, the FA & Premier League, Sky & BT, along with other domestic national football associations & broadcasters, all in their own ways, have fed the elephant increasing amounts of the muscle-inducing protein rich peanuts over the decades and now not even rose coloured glasses can hide the behemoth it has become! Yet, their commercial mismanagement and subsequent distribution of said peanuts has not been enough to satiate the hunger. They’ve sorely underestimated the voracity of The Elephant’s appetite and the strength of the chains they assume bound it!

The harsh reality is, maybe, just maybe, putting all these elite clubs into their own sandpit will in someway level the playing field across the board. You see, I believe that in one way or another, the creation of an arena where the elite get to truly pit their wits against each other on a regular basis, is the potentially unwanted, yet inevitable evolution of the football pyramid. You see, #MoneyTalks. However, in the name of hope, aspiration and at least an attempt to seem fair, this cannot and must not be a closed shop, AND, the solidarity payment structure must be overhauled to truly benefit grassroots football across all of Europe! There has to be a way for fans, players, chairpersons and all involved in any club… to dream! To dream of one day joining that Elite league! Also, for the love of ever increasing standards and competitiveness, there has to be a way for even an Elite club, to fall from grace and suffer for any complacencies on their part!

The David & Goliath stories. The rags to riches stories. This is the pyramid of football! This is the very essence of the game! This is where the real romance lies!

Without it, football dies.

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HEARTS

This bloody game I don’t know if I love it or hate it.

Find the answer at the end of the blog.

When Jason (Elite CEO) gave me the opportunity to blog for a year, he was a little uncomfortable with certain subjects, if you are reading this Jase, I smell burning, is the shed on fire ?

Bottom line this blog is about passion, desire and promiscuity.

Head or Heart

As in life, FPL is a never ending struggle between head (logic and reason) and heart (passions and emotions). We like to think we are driven by competition but in truth we are motivated by feelings and needs, such as feeling involved and receiving rewards and attention.

Channeling my inner psychopath I can stand on the periphery, be objective.

I can use players when they are ‘hot’ (Jlingz), ‘fit’ (John Stones), ‘peng’ (silky Ilkay), I can even enjoy a one week punt on a guy.

And equally I can bin them off without a second thought – remember the one I said was a season keeper, my game week one success story, what was his name again, it doesn’t matter he is gone.

(Bamford)

As an aside, in hangouts chat, conversation often turns to how do we know when a player is coming into form, how do we recognise that ? Well, maybe it’s more carnal than stats driven, wow, that’s interesting and that needs exploring.

So stats are the facts, the head. And the recognition, the ‘phwoar’ factor, the desire to have, is the heart, pure lust driven emotion… hey Dread, here’s one we won’t see on BlackBox 😁

Heartbreak

In my FPL bubble this week, I have seen a lot of emotion, negativity, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and a disturbed atmosphere.

Many people announced they are quitting .

Heart on my Sleeve

Although I would like to think I have conditioned myself to be more psycho, I think I have only reached 80% completion.

I too have been a slave to my emotions, reviewing my blogs, I see the signs of how tortuous I was finding it a couple weeks back.

  • SHUCKS Feb 10 – ” I am not in happy place ”
  • TRUTH Feb 18 – ” I am sour ” ” I think FPL Fatigue is real and it’s happening now. ”

If they make you feel like no matter what you’re doing, it always seems to be the wrong thing, and that no matter how hard you try, it’s never going to be enough to please your partner—those are red flags.

SIGNS OF A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP

If your heart’s not in it…re-frame

FPL this season has been a war of attrition, an abusive situation, where our emotions have been exposed.

For me acceptance lead to liberation. I admitted my season was over, I had to let this one go. I took back control and shifted my goals to look for joy elsewhere – and that included my predilection for role play (oh please, behave) and exploring the human mind and how we can trick it into being a better version of itself.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a BIG difference

Winston Churchill

Self-love.

It is not about being conceited, vain or selfish, it’s about confidence and belief, and strength of mind.

Respect yourself. Know your value.

The Heart of the Matter

My FPL team and my thoughts going forward.

Acts of defiance and small victories – I will take my endorphins where I can

Of course I am going to stand up and go my own way, I get a kick out of being contrary. But I will not stray too far from template. Low risk, just a couple maverick differentials, but if the mood takes me, I am open to temptation – options and opportunities….

Follow your heart but take your brain with you

GW31 WILD CARD

DALLAS

So Dallas and I, back together again. This game week I left him 3rd bench, 17 points missed …again…oh the irony – you have to laugh.

Last time I owned him was GW20 I stood at 74K, I transferred him out and my life was never the same again.

Taken from my blog TIME 25th February 2021

TORRES

We are living in the era of one of the greatest managers ever, who would dare to outplay him ?

Me, spin that roulette wheel.

I took a risk and went for Torres on a 2 week punt – whenever he has played 90 mins this season he gets a return and Pep told us he was deploying ‘fresh legs’.

He only went and scored

INGS

I also captained Ings, luckily it was a week to try a differential captain, it didn’t pay off. It didn’t hurt my rank too much.

WHY Ings? Watching him the week before, he had that swagger about him, I thought he was coming back into form, but I had underestimated Big Sam and the pride of the WBA players.

5 green arrows in a row does not soften the dissatisfaction of being stuck in the 200k zone, but small steps.

I am going to hide in the herd this week, captaining Kane (and after a coin toss moment, triple captaining him)

CONCLUSION

As the weeks count down, and the mind turns to reflection, it’s been a hell of a season, soon we will be seeing the haul of ‘so glad it’s over’ ‘never again’ messages, but over time I think we will look back on this season fondly, we were after all, all in it together and we got through. It will become a benchmark for seasons to come.

Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.

Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

CONCLUSION #2

I can’t believe you just did that Blonde. That gush of sentimentality. Pass me that jar.

You can get it back when the season’s over. Now answer the question, FPL – love it or hate it ?

Seriously ???

It’s just a game get over it

I don’t have time for this, I have to get out there, research for next week, find fresh meat…