The first indication that I was besotted with fantasy football (the soccer variety), was when I woke up thinking about Danny Ings. 5.30am and I’m staring at the ceiling wondering whether the Southampton striker has contributed any assists this season. In fact, what are the Saints next fixtures like? Is it worth saving cash for other areas of my squad by signing Manchester United wonderkid Mason Greenwood instead? There was much to ponder.
Before the 2019/20 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) season, I used to play for fun. The most effort I put in was choosing a humorous team name. I soon get bored of it though. Usually around the same time I find myself at the bottom of the private leagues I play in. But this season is different – somehow I’m topping them all, and an addiction to stay ahead has taken over.
Now I’m checking and rechecking my squad every other hour. Scouring Google News for any training ground mishaps that may have injured my players. And taking more photos of potential team tweaks than I have of my own children. My virtual management has evolved into serious business.
I found myself cheerily telling my wife about how happy I was that Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish had scored. Usually the bemused look I received would be enough to bring the conversation to a close, but I soldiered on.
“Y’see, he plays in midfield so gets more points than strikers when he scores, so this is good…” I rambled on. “Oh, right” came the response. She was just as disinterested when I tried to explain the merits of having a registered defender who actually plays in midfield. I’d gone too far.