It is just a ‘Bit of Fun’ at Work or is it?
Like for many, a few years ago it all started out as a bit of fun at work for me thinking it would be like the Grand National sweepstake but how wrong I was! Most of us participating in a work mini-league know it quickly turns into an obsession to be top of the tree using whatever information you can find on your colleagues’ teams for the next week – including the golden nuggets of when they intend to play their wildcard or use a chip. Being naive at the start of your FPL journey, as a new kid on the block, with the strong held view that your gut instinct on football will get you to the top quickly changes as you wake up to the labyrinth FPL is, recognising the stark reality that becoming good at it is not a quick fix. Do not think your friendly work colleagues will help you along the way either or you really will be in trouble as they actually want you to fail! They might tell you in a moment of kindness (or weakness) what an assist or clean sheet is worth at a push, but do not expect them to explain or understand the bonus points system. Remember if you put in a player in your squad already in theirs then that is seen as an act of treason and the drawbridge automatically comes down so let battle commence.
Joining in a work mini-league as Monty Python once said ends up being an ‘and now for something completely different’ moment in your work career when you end up playing for prize money, but most importantly of all the FPL work league trophy to parade as the pride and joy on your desk for a whole year. Your work colleagues’ addiction strengthens as along comes the World Cup or the Euros trophies to display for four years on your desk after a month of intensive scrambling and detective work as summer brings no rest for the wicked. That is when grand illusions (or delusions) really emerge as you think to yourself can you chase the Holy Grail work fantasy football treble?
Typically, your colleagues allow you a learning curve for your first season, but they certainly do not want to see any beginner’s luck leapfrog above them as that is just too much for some to take from a rookie player. It soon becomes apparent to most of your colleagues that you are fully engrossed in the game, despite having been warned beforehand by one or two wise owls that it could become an obsession, who have seen it happen before too many times.
FPL New Season Prices Released replaces Sky Sports Transfer Deadline Day
Once the first season is over you realise you cannot wait for the next one as the most exciting part of any FPL season for many is the day the new prices come out for the next season in July checking every day from mid-June. This initial excitement is tempered quickly by the disappointment that your own team’s new £40 million star striker is in fact a likely dud as he has been valued by the FPL hierarchy at only £4.5 million but at least you can put him in your team now for the first week. You spend your full £100 million budget easily but realise it must be on 15 players not 11 and how do you choose only two between Salah, Mane, De Bruyne, Sterling, Fernandes, Rashford, Son and Kane. Fortunately, Sophie in payroll had the same dilemma but after the first 4 game weeks, using the auto pick function and no transfers, has emerged 100 points ahead of you meaning wildcard time or you may as well write off the season now.
The Dark Horses and the Easy Meat
Dark horse FPL players emerge at the top of the work league like Tricky Trev the lounge lizard from accounts who never speaks to anyone or Dizzy Davina the HR lady who, under intense questioning, insists her husband is not an FPL nut playing for her. You lose your faith in the younger ones at work who really love and know their football as their impatience and immaturity takes over resulting in 3 transfers every week wrongly assuming that is how they will catch up quickly. They are the easy meat and will ensure you rise up the league quickly if you do not copy or tell them anything about your team. You have others that quickly fall away like Sam the surveyor who plays his bench boost and triple captain chips in weeks 1 and 3 (not forgetting his first wildcard in week 2) just to ensure he gets his league entry money back by winning the August manager of the month award. As far as he is concerned a job well done for the season now and anything else is a bonus as he chases another manager of the month award (probably the last gameweek in May playing his second wildcard) to demonstrate his astute profit-making capabilities mirrors his actual work.
However, what you do not want to see is your Chief Executive or even worse Finance Director making wholesale changes and reckless chip play, although seeing them at the bottom of the league is not a bad thing for your ego. Just do not mention anything to them about it or your imminent work promotion may disappear or even worse if they are neck and neck with you near the top – my advice is definitely to tread on eggshells if your boss is like Competitive Ken. Competitive Ken has already convinced himself that the FPL work league is helping him retain key staff who do not want to leave because of the highly stimulating FPL work league he operates at his organisation. In fact, he is arguing with Dizzy Davina in HR on why can’t he advertise it as a major work benefit for joining the organisation or seek league sponsorship from his suppliers!
Watch out for the Competition Fishing for Clues
You realise quickly in the early weeks of the season that your astute senior and middle managers near the top of the league are all developing different traits, modelling their personality, tactics and strategy on Klopp or Pep. There is even one super confident character, Fleet Manager Fred, professing to all within earshot that he is indeed ‘the Special One’ with everyone else now waiting for him to drop down the league like a lead balloon so he will quietly retreat to the hole he came from. Fleet Manager Fred is unaware that he will soon be barraged with questions by several league rivals at the Christmas party on if he now regrets playing all his chips and wildcard in the first 4 game weeks after his terminal decline to nothing more than midtable obscurity. If only he had fished for clues more on the other team managers plans and thinking like Cagey Kevin in purchasing and his ‘Severus Snape’ mind games who has even been known to ask colleagues to do his fishing for him.
The Snowball Effect and Obsession of Winning
What started out as joining a mini league of half a dozen several years ago ends up becoming something consisting over 50 people and becoming a major discussion topic at work. Some disinterested ones see you as having nothing else to do in your life outside of work but most think is there nothing he cannot do and why did we invite him in!
This new-found respect or envy develops over time as you are in the top two far ahead of the rest entering a personal duel in the final month of the season with Lucy in the buying department who turns out has a first-class degree in statistics! It is best to say nothing pretending you spend no more than ten minutes a week looking at it and play a cagey game rather than engage in clever banter dropping in red herrings or revealing that you currently use three personal spreadsheets and several websites, podcasts and YouTube channels. You rightly guess Lucy is already using Fantasy Football Scout’s Season Ticker being the data wizard she is and price predictors.
Bluffing is best as only your wife knows that you are looking daily for tips on rearranged fixtures or any other marginal gain you can find like the multi gold medal winning Great Britain Olympic Cycling Team did, whilst reading your latest NFL coach book in bed every night on how to win and beat your biggest competition. Your wife and kids now realise that they will never get the puppy they really want since dad is too busy to walk it at night as another Fantasy Football Scout episode streams live that evening in his study (FPL war room).
What is your end goal?
“The reason I play is to bring home the Trophy not the Money” (really?)
Common sense says keep the wife happy and tell her that you are bringing home extra pocket money for another meal out after winning your third manager of the month winnings this season. Please remember that the last thing she wants to see in the family home is the work league trophy displayed on the lounge mantlepiece for the next year!
What she really wants to see is you turn into Cuba Gooding Jnr from the Jerry Maguire film and show her the money! Never mind the trophy there could be a weekend away for her if you win the whole thing. All those winter nights of you with your earphones on listening to the latest Fantasy Football Scout podcast whilst she watches MasterChef in peace or you both out Saturday afternoon shopping checking your phone updates for the latest goals and assists seem worth it now.
Where is the fun in that?
You cannot understand how some people at work just play it for a bit of fun as they obviously don’t get it, do they? They talk about increased camaraderie and team building, but they are probably the ones who have not paid their entry fee yet reducing the prize money pool! Thank goodness you are not the work league administrator, but you have no hesitation in telling him to get the bailiffs in or expel them from the work league if they do not pay by week 2. They do not even know there is a trophy to play for that half of the blokes in accounts would die for!
In summary, the answer is quite simple that the reason your work FPL league means so much is because it gives you the chance to be top dog at work. New words enter your everyday vocabulary like ‘enabler’ and ‘differential’ even more prominently than ‘COVID’ and ‘vaccine’. You are now the smooth operator and wise owl combined, earmarked as the one to watch out for at work as a future leader. However, there is a downside if you win the work league as don’t be surprised if people now pick your brains asking for your newly respected advice on anything from their new mortgage deal to what car they should buy. Just do not go and ask Lucy in buying if she wins the FPL work league on how you should compile a spreadsheet on what qualities to look for in your future wife and what logarithms you should be using to gain the best result. Although Competitive Ken may have some interesting thoughts on that for you at the Christmas party, if you ever get to that point then quickly realise that all you need to be a highly effective and successful FPL manager is a subscription to Fantasy Football Scout instead. It is a no-brainer!
#play #FPL #work #increasing #numbers