GARETH SOUTHGATE

We’re asking them to not just play, but to think about what they’re doing all the time…not just blindly going, chasing about the field and playing with their heart.

Gareth Southgate, England Manager

Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.

Tom Landry, Hall of Fame football coach

Principle. A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning.

My FPL ideology revolves around reducing the variables (and maximising opportunity). So this season I am trying to get my team to build itself – subsequently minimising the decisions I have to make and in turn allowing me more time to focus on the positions I have considered differential.

Harry Kane says that England have “a vision” on what they can achieve under Gareth Southgate after reaching their third semi-final in three years.

keeping Ukraine on a lead for most of the first half…a second half that you could be forgiven for thinking had been scripted…An hour into a European Championship quarter-final, substituting important players to give them a breather for Wednesday’s semi-final…Another clean sheet, their fifth in a row in this tournament…so impressive as they simply overpowered Ukraine

Take the initiative and keep moving forward. Control.

Team structure planning is fundamental to getting a good start, so why I am I trying to be so detached ? So hands off. So formulaic.

Because now is not the time to follow your heart, to give into your need to possess the beautiful ones that the zeitgeist is shouting as must haves a whole 6 weeks before information becomes complete.

Now is the time for emotional intelligence, to determine a squad that allows you to capitalise on form and value players as they emerge over the opening game weeks. Getting the basics brilliant is key to FPL success.

more balls than most

After 5 years playing FPL, I bring considerable baggage, my own experiences coupled with the hypotheses gathered from listening to other managers, but what I have come to realise and Churchill said it best, (FPL) it is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

My game plan is shaped by a combination of statements, ideas, and tactics which are opposed to one another – that’s just how FPL life is.

Letting the team build itself, perversely paradoxical, yet ironically fitting.

But I am the one who is setting the parameters, getting the basics brilliant. And if I do this now, in a quiet considered fashion away from the hype that dictates the final hours before the game week one deadline, I can be objective.

Having a plan helps protect from ‘the noise’ , and the negative knock ons of knee jerk reactions, irrational and erratic behaviour.

Planning will ensure objectivity (sticking to the facts) rather than subjectivity (being driven by emotion and bias).

Having a team structure is more important in FPL than people realise. Keeping an organised structure can help build foundations of a good team and keep you on the right track to ensure that no major transfers are needed. 

FPL EZE

Where do I start the planning process ?

My principle of reducing the variables is my launch pad, to get my head in the zone I compile a list of don’ts, which of course generates a list of dos. This forms the basis of my plan.

Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do

Add in some team structuring factors devised from game play tactics, fixture difficulty ratings and stand out ‘value players’ (eg Raphinha), and the plan progresses.

This is how I build a blue print, a map for the great unknown the start of the season. It will keep me on track but offer me a degree of flexibility to move onto form players as they arise. Hopefully it will keep me up with the pack until the first wildcard.

I take control. But paradoxically I like to expose myself to the theories of others – it’s more efficient to borrow abilities and thinking

winning culture

THE SQUAD THAT BUILDS ITSELF the story so far

Pre season planning started with analysing the fixtures to determine strong captaincy options, these will be my first additions to my squad, they help shape my team structure. 2 places gone.

Tactically, I like to use the player price point structure, choosing the most expensive outfield options in each position – this means I can move easily between assets with a single transfer. Another 3 places allocated.

To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” ― Leonard Bernstein, composer and conductor

EPILOGUE

Every new season is an adventure into the unknown, our only signposts are the fixtures. We all need a direction, some purpose, focus.

My blogging style is not to offer detailed advice on which player to select, but it is more muse like, to be a source of inspiration for creativity and thoughtfulness.

As I write this, we are hours from the second semi-final game in the Euros, where England face Denmark. I am English, I am an England fan, there is a national feeling we are on the brink of something.

Gareth Southgate, the ‘quiet man’ manager of the England team is emerging as a man of substance. No surprise then, that he is on my mind as I discuss the importance of strategy for a winning culture. Aim. Ethos. Tactics.

https://www.thehighperformancepodcast.com/episodes/gareth-southgate key phrases I took from listening to this

  • getting the basics brilliant
  • resilience – hard times build inner strength
  • context and balance
  • set your mind to a goal – focus
  • winning culture – drive/team first/good habits

This team have put down lots of historical performances in the last couple of years, made their own stories and this is how they should view this game. It’s an opportunity. 

Gareth Southgate, England Manager

CURATED IDEAS ON TEAM STRUCTURE

the paragon of borrowing efficiency, immense piece by Chris Tan

”You must conscientiously know which structure your team falls under and conduct your transfers given those constraints.”

”I will be using the midfield premium’s structure. Let’s go through my first draft and see why I have adopted this strategy.”

fast forward to 2:46 warning he goes Bruno-less

Fantasy Love Island

It’s back! Feast your eyes over a buffed up batch of flexlings looking for your love.

Less than 50 days to go and the game launches with the Euro’s in full swing and Fantasy Island UK yet to air. What’s not to love, sun, sex and football.

Chat rooms and Twitter feeds are buzzing with ‘Want want need’, so much eye candy, gotta have them all.

I have already dropped a couple tall dark and handsomes into my player pool-party, 100% my type on paper. Yup, my head is being turned.

John Stones after phwoaring me last season, well, we could be on again, vibes.

But J-Lingz you mugged me off after a brilliant start at the Hammers – I’m seriously chived…and Dallas, ick, your price hike coupled with that reclassification…

But before we all get to shoot our shot and engage in some savage re-coupling, any chance I could pull you for a chat ?

Not to throw shade around the fire pit, all this posturing is meaningless without substance, I’ve got a text, and it’s telling me not all guys are the same…

An initial squad should always be assembled with a regular captain pick in mind, someone who can deliver points consistently while also scoring bumper haul

https://www.premierleague.com/news/1292249. FPL secrets : picking the perfect captain.

(as obvious as the Love Island plot twists this one)

Part of starting strong, is prioritising captaincy. Find the one, he scores double. Well actually find more than one.

Last season captaincy points accounted for 22% of my final tally – that’s worth some TLC and quality time.

I will make time to pour over the fixtures and identify a Mr Right for each week, then fill in the team around them.

Not being funny but, there’s the sauce you do with your mates, then there’s the graft that helps you crack on with O.R. Not to go extra, but this season I am following the science.

Heres hoping your GW1 team is full of beautiful bodies and that the pleasure they bring lasts longer than one week – don’t worry there’s always the wildcard.

Further (serious) reading for when you are on the beach…

CURATED IDEAS ON CAPTAINCY

Aim to captain the most popular captaincy pick each week – rise & fall with the pack

When there is no obvious captain, use this opportunity to go more differential

random captaincies away from the premiums have a very low strike rate so don’t indulge in them if you want to play smart. But i also want to play for fun and make FPL less boring so i’ll keep doing it when i fancy it. Plus i don’t like having rules

just one idea from a valuable thread by Lateriser https://twitter.com/lateriser12/status/1288374596358422528

Captain the /premium talisman players. ”Premium players justify their price through captaincy. If captaincy didn’t exist they wouldn’t be as expensive” @FPL Guidance

Use bookies odds. Find the teams with a greater than 50% chance of winning, cross reference this with the top 5 rated ‘anytime goal scorers’.

Captain experiments rarely pay off. You should stick to your premium players and avoid the differentials unless you are chasing a rival in your mini league and need to take some gambles. But that’s why they’re called gambles: because they are risky. When building your squad make sure you’ve got enough potential captain choices in there – your bankers.

taken from Fantasy Premier League: Unlocking the Secrets to a Top 1% Finish, by Toby Margetts & Gianni Butticé 

”some magic formula for picking a successful captain week to week – that, I’m afraid, does not exist”

fplconnect.blog is a free to access site that provides a quality weekly guide to captaincy, the above quote is taken from this article

Meanwhile, targeting opposition stats seems to be a more reliable strategy. The single most successful stat to target seems to be opposition shots in the box conceded

What are the best metrics for picking an FPL captain? by Make Arrows Green Again, https://www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk

please note, this article in full is restricted to members, but contains enough relevant free advice to be worthy of inclusion

Apples

All season I have been banging on about ignoring your emotions, being objective, making sound rational decisions, trusting the process, so how did I arrive at 5 assets that blank next game week (GW36) and ‘wasting’ a transfer on a sideways move where I ditch the highest owned player in the game ?

The power of enlightenment. Attaining a state of intuition.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition

Steve Jobs

When people reflect on what it takes to be mentally fit, the first idea that comes to mind is usually intelligence. The smarter you are, the more complex the problems you can solve — and the faster you can solve them. Intelligence is traditionally viewed as the ability to think and learn. Yet in a turbulent world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn.

I ended last week’s blog pondering the thought that there has got to be more to (FPL) life than this, more than watching matches, pouring over data, consuming other people’s content and then not selecting the perfect 11 every game week.

Reflecting on all the things I’ve done this season, exercising my mind has been the most rewarding.

I have benefitted from making time to think, learning to think and strangely enough the incredible power of reframing; thinking about things from a differing stance.

So this week’s blog revolves around the most enigmatic organ of the body, the brain.

the biggest mistakes I make are not usually because I make the wrong decision between two viable alternatives but rather because I do not even recognise that an alternative exists to consider

Way back in August when I set out my aims, everything was driven by my goal of achieving the best rank possible – I see mini leagues and cup competitions as distractions. I was intent on strengthening my cognitive abilities such as memory, focus and reasoning, in essence being more like a very good CPU.

Our kryptonite when processing information, is that our thinking is subject to emotions, to bias and flaws, our genetic makeup determines behaviours, how we interact and respond.

An example of this, is our innate deep seated need to see patterns. When we try to interpret an event by simply squeezing it into an old pattern, we are likely to miss what makes it different—and take the wrong action.

The human mind itself, perhaps the greatest creation of all. We don’t know how it works; we just know that it works extraordinarily well.

This season we have all battled to decipher complex challenges rationally, digesting the data, buffering against the chaos even when that data was incomplete and the chaos torturous. We all have a super power to fall back on, we just need to relax, close our eyes, and let the magic happen – our subconscious mind will automatically deliver the right answer.

INTUITIVE understandable without the use of instructions

Being intuitive is to make a leap of faith, being able to unlearn and rethink, going beyond gut instinct and common sense, being more than intelligent and rational.

Believe in the transformative power, rise above the number crunching, the unwritten rules, the nay sayers, feel special, trust in your own self. Any idiot can run the numbers, but the gift of a good intuition — that’s reserved for the true FPL elite (and the occasional rocket girl).

Intuition does have a place in decision making—you should not ignore your instincts any more than you should ignore your conscience. It might well be an imperfect processor, but for me the the joy in playing FPL is the adventure of indulging one’s intuition.

But instinct is something which transcends knowledge. We have, undoubtedly, certain finer fibers that enable us to perceive truths when logical deduction, or any other willful effort of the brain, is futile.

Nikola Tesla

So, GW34 I got an insignificant small red arrow, the postponement of the Man Utd v Liverpool game meant I ended up fielding 9 players, current OR 117k. Poised. Luckily still having my Free Hit means I can hold my prize assets from Chelsea, Leicester and Man Utd. I took a -4 to make a sideways move, Bruno to Greenwood, so I could captain him for the triple game week, what ? Surely this goes against everything you have learnt this season ?

I just had a feeling

IN CONCLUSION

I would like my epitaph for this season to read : intellectually curious, rigorous in her pursuit of knowledge, and willing to challenge her own assumptions.

Sensible and respectable, suitable for a content provider.

But in private my soul sings : she flew on her intuition.

POSTCRIPT

My partner once came home from work with a box. ‘Do you want a laptop ? No one wanted it at the office. It’s not what we use.’ I was left alone with a brand new MacBook Pro, and no manual. Once I had found the ON button the rest was easy, pure intuition. Last week I updated to a MacBook Air with the new M1 processor, it is so quick and powerful. The inspiration for this blog is processing, when you have a strong mind and up to date information, you can interpret and reach conclusions about phenomena without resorting to conscious thought – the more research I do, the better my intuition works.

My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get an idea I start at once building it up in my imagination. I change the construction, make improvements, and operate the device entirely in my mind.

Nikola Tesla, My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla

3 ways to listen to that internal voice

  • start a diary or journal, open up the non conscious mind by writing down thoughts, feelings, emotions
  • let it flow without prejudice or criticism, be less rational
  • put yourself in the zone, create an atmosphere conducive to exploring your thoughts

The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.

Les Brown

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.

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…