I’d make a great football manager. I have no evidence to back this up beyond gut instinct and nearly 20 years of playing Football Manager. But still, I’m fairly certain of this.
However, as Jose Mourinho has found out this season, there’s only so much you can do from the touchline. You need your players to perform for you, and if they don’t, you’re lost.
That’s where I am with my Fantasy Football team this year.
Now, I realise that Mourinho probably doesn’t wake up with a hangover to make his transfers on a Saturday morning, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t forget to pick his team like I did last week (although that would explain a lot), but the similarities are definitely there.
My team is full of players with experience and talent. I know enough about the game (both Fantasy Football and the sport itself) to know where the ideal players are. I know, for instance, that Juan Mata has recorded more assists than any other player in the league (apart from David Silva) since he moved to England in 2011, and should therefore be a bargain at £8.5. I also know that Cesc Fabregas tends to start seasons as an assist machine, but loses form in the second half of the campaign.
What you can’t account for is players failing to do what you expect of them. My current team is made up of six of the “Dream Team” members. It’s not my fault they decide to stop playing as soon as I transfer them in, much like it’s not Mourinho’s fault that Eden Hazard has suddenly forgotten how to play football (probably).
After a good start, I now find myself 12th in my work table (out of 14). One of the two I’m above didn’t know there was such thing as a wild card until this week and had to get a colleague to help pick a new team. I’m only 20 points above him. It’s like Chelsea being 15th in the Premier League, but having Aston Villa, Sunderland and Newcastle below them. It doesn’t really count.
Much like the Chelsea manager, my current failings are exacerbated by the success of those above me in the league. While Jose looks up and sees Arsene Wenger succeeding, I look to the other end of the table and see “Smack My Pitch Up” in second. According to their manager, their recruitment process is to pick players based on their names. Joe Hart is the goalkeeper, for example, because “having a heart is important to a footballer”. Eric Dier is playing in defence, because you can exclaim “oh dear” when you say his name. I’m currently 87 points behind them. Danny Shittu would be more appropriate for me at the moment.
There’s still time to turn it around. I have faith in my abilities, and eventually I’ll get the breaks I deserve. And if it doesn’t come together quickly enough, I can throw my toys out of the pram and stop trying. Just like Jose.
Fantasy Football Rating: 12th in a league of 14
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