So, I’m not exactly a greenhorn to this game. Neither am I someone you could consider an FPL veteran. I’m somewhere in between, struggling season after season to achieve FPL greatness yet somehow always just a wrong captain decision away from FPL glory.
I started FPL in season 2009/2010, but didn’t take it seriously then. Didn’t play in any competitive mini-leagues and certainly didn’t play it every week. I was a casual; logging in whenever I had time and making 3-4 changes per gameweek without a care about the points deductions. I played it this way for 2 seasons, never quite finding the motivation nor reason to play this game seriously. I ended up with overall ranks of 1,143,064 and 1,452,702, respectively. Not too abysmal for a casual, I thought.
It was only in season 2011/12 that I took FPL to the next level. It started from something outside of FPL. Back then, 2 friends, together with myself, loved nothing more than to hold ‘grudge’ matches over footie video games like Pro Evolution Soccer and the FIFA series on Playstation 2 and 3 gaming consoles. From friendly grudges we graduated to putting elements of betting into the outcomes. We would wager drinks, meals and then money on who come out tops of our 3-way grudges. The 3 of us would create all sorts of competition out of the options available inside those games. You name it, we did it; from 1-vs-1, to 1-vs-CPU on crazy difficulty settings to playing Master Leagues and Cup competitions, we did it all. But our lust for more grudge and competition was not yet satiated.
It was then that one of us (can’t remember who) suggested that we turned to FPL as the new platform to continue our grudgery (when we found out by chance that all of us had FPL accounts). And from that moment on, FPL became our new grudge.
That was the beginning of my love-hate affair with the FPL. Until today.
Beginning with 3 of us, we expanded our grudge league to 4 players, and then to more, and as of last season, we have 24 competitive players all grudging for FPL glory. We play for money and sweet cash-payouts for 1st, 2nd, 3rd overall placing and even Manager of the Months and Manager of the Quarters. Not forgetting the very active Facebook and Whatsapp groups we maintain where trash talk and trolling are taken on such intense levels that some of the more pussy / sensitive ones have left because they can’t stand the heat.
The original 2 friends have both gone off the boil a bit; 1 of them migrated to Australia and 1 more got married and is now part of a kid-making factory duo with his wife, churning out 1 kid every year. Suffice to say, they have both slowed down on their FPL prowess and although they still participate in the grudge league, they no longer pose any actual challenge to me. There are others now who have taken up the FPL grudge rival mantle more effectively, and some of them are dangerously good and much better than me.
My FPL scores since season 2012/2013, till last season, have been relatively decent:
My best ever finish was season 2014/2015, where I ended up inside the top 10k at a respectable 8,845 position in overall ranking. Still nothing great, but certainly above average.
Last season was quite an underwhelming one, finishing only at 55,749 overall position. It was all due to a horrific start, as I had loaded up on Chelsea assets and steadfastly stuck to them through that horrific bad patch of form in the beginning of the season. I was also late to jump on the bandwagon on certain breakout performers like Ighalo, Butland, Alli and Antonio. This led to a very bad start for me, and I was playing catch up throughout the entire season; finishing 3rd in my grudge mini-league was considered very lucky for me.
Despite the heart-breaks, the frustration, the stress and the moments where I told myself “ah, FPL, go fuck yourself”, I still came back the following week, in (foolish) hopes that I can turn it all around. FPL is like a bad scab; you can’t stop peeling at it no matter how much you don’t want to. It is also like being in an abusive relationship; the more you get tortured by sheer randomness and the more Murphy keeps throwing his goddamn Law of Averages at you, the more you wanna try to make it work.
It’s a funny lil’ love-hate thing I have with FPL. I hate that I love it this much and, quite sadistically, love how much I hate it.
It’s complicated, FPL and me.
I feel almost like a monkey being given a typewriter by the gods of FPL, waiting to see what I’d do with it. Daring me to whack out a story worth telling, with it.
This season, this FPL monkey aims to whack out a literary masterpiece that will echo through the ages (or at least within the simian community). Forget the fact that the same typewriter has been given to this monkey for a few seasons already, and that the best he has come up with was to use it crack open the skull of his rival monkey. No, this season is gonna be different. Forget the previous seasons. The slates are wiped clean in summer. A fresh, blank piece of paper is given to all monkeys come mid-August. And a typewriter.
This monkey feels, no knows, that this is his season. This will be the season that this FPL monkey breaks into the Top 1k and dominates his mini grudge league. Or at least dies trying.
This season, this monkey will write the greatest FPL story of his rise to the hallowed FPL planet of the apes. And those of you lucky enough to have stumbled across this monkey’s den can reap some benefits too, by having a first-hand glimpse into the thoughts, ramblings and philosophy behind all the crazy decisions that will lead to either FPL fame or shame, come May 2017. Monkey see, monkey do, yeah?
It all starts here. Right now.
Keep calm, monkey, and FPL on.