There’s always another Gameweek


While international breaks are often tedious affairs, they do allow us time for reflection on the season so far. In this guest article, FPL Dugout regular, Villa Simon, takes us through his typical Fantasy Premier League (FPL) weekend, touching on some of his strategies along the way.

Let me introduce myself as this is my first article. I am the one known as Villa Simon and current MSA Prediction Game and FPL Dugout League Cup winner (although defending these this season is going to be a tough ask).

A Villa fan of 26 years, I am married with 2 daughters, a 12-year-old Hammer (unfortunately the other side got to her and converted her at an early age despite my best efforts) and a 4-year-old Villa fan (there will be no turning her!).

I stumbled across FPL Dugout 2 seasons ago and it has really rejuvenated my experience of this great game. Before that, I had been playing for 5 years with just the family and work mini leagues that I tended to win as most of the others lost interest 10 weeks or so in. FPL Dugout gives it an extra dimension with its interaction, tips, articles and brilliant comps – love the Champions League format! Makes the last few months still everything to play for…

Anyway, this article is about a typical Gameweek experience for me and seems to be an emotional rollercoaster that I come back for week in week out. Hope, expectation, adulation, despair, mood swings and cursing your choices.

The Gameweek does not start for me until the end of the week where I am a Friday tinker man and only make my transfer (or two) after getting all the team news during the day. I can hear a lot of you saying that I may lose out on 0.1-0.3m on a player whether that be jumping on the bandwagon late or not selling a player fast enough, but that is my philosophy purely down to the fact of any possible doubts to any player or injuries – even WAGS impending childbirth has given late food for thought on this front!

On that matter, I remember 4 seasons ago, my wife giving birth to my 2nd daughter at 7pm on a Friday in November, mother and daughter both fine so left late to come back early the next day. Before going to bed, logged on to do my usual Friday transfer and took the radio in the next day to listen in the background – I see that as introducing the little’un to football…

Back to a typical weekend – then comes Saturday morning where I wake up full of optimism and hoping all 11 players not only play (rotation less apparent in 2005 when I first played this), they all either get a clean sheet, assist or score – the dream of a captain hat-trick is always on my mind.

The early kick-off may contain a player or two and a 1 or 2 point return starts to drain the early optimism – a good points return could kick-start a wonder week.

Then the 3pm kick-offs team news filters in and you prey all your guys are in and not suddenly benched – I would much rather a player be in the starting 11 or not involved at all – a place on the bench means you start to sweat on that horrible 88th minute appearance!

3pm, I tune in to Jeff and the boys on Soccer Saturday and live every minute, hoping for Le Tiss, Thommo, Merse or Charlie to shout “Goal” – and then the next few seconds waiting to hear the goal explanation – will one of my players play a part in it?

By 5pm, usually the optimism of the morning has turned into either despair at the 2-point captain return or the lack of assists or goals in my team (the captain return is critical to the points total and anything less than 12 points in total is failure to me) – or delighted at that goalscoring defender or penalty-saving keeper.

The points return dictates my mood for the evening – but then there is a late kick-off that can help or hinder the days play so far! In the old days, bonus points were available by around 9pm and the constant refreshing of the screen was the norm – nowadays they are usually Monday morning!

Sunday morning soon comes around, and usually with a few players playing, the optimism returns and can make or break the Gameweek. I usually watch the 1:30 and 4pm games and take in every second, leaning forward whenever my player has the golden opportunity…

The weekend is such a rollercoaster of emotions, and if you can have more good Gameweeks than bad, especially a good run of 4 or 5 at a time, then you can look forward to being on the holy grail of the FPL Dugout leaderboard!

Monday Night Football with the impressive Gary Neville (my opinion of him has changed so much from his playing days) may contain the odd player at times and can either add to an already bad Gameweek, get it back to a par-scoring return, or quite possibly add lots more points if you left your captain to last. I can’t wait that long!

I tend to write off Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s and start to build up my optimism and hope for the next Gameweek from Thursday – but my mood at work is usually affected by my Gameweek score!

Good luck to you all.