Is Fantasy Football the new reality?
Is Fantasy Football taking over your life? Are you finding it hard to separate real football from the fantasy? Tom Gaunt has a look at the new obsession with Fantasy Football.
As Silva headed Manchester City ahead in their recent clash with Arsenal a loud cheer went up in the pub. Was I in a heavily partisan venue filled with sky blue shirts? No, it was the sound of people who had decided to make the little maestro their Fantasy Football captain that week, their decision had been vindicated. Similarly, others kept a keen eye on the other screen to see if Adebayor or Van der Vaart were going to show their true value. Surely at home against Sunderland was a banker for Fantasy points, you could almost hear people think. It seems no longer can you relax and watch a game for the pure enjoyment, it is now all about points.
My friend is a Coventry fan and as they sit firmly rooted to the bottom of the Championship he has all but given up on them. For him he can derive much more pleasure through his Fantasy team Fash FC. At least Fash FC have international stars on the team sheet and what’s more he can affect the performance and sculpt the team. The choice of game to watch on the weekend (for those of us that can choose between the 3 pms) is done on who we have playing that day. In the pub all the talk is of who is in your fantasy team and how your new transfer will fare. Is Fantasy Football taking over from real football (not to be mistaken for real tennis), or is this the bridge we all need between Football Manager and real life?
I even find myself growing fond of players who have done a good job for the team. Someone said to me recently that they couldn’t drop Lampard from their team, not after everything he had done for them in the past four seasons. Loyalty taken to the extreme, but in the end he was repaid as Lampard hit a hat trick against Bolton. I am sure deep down he thought that this was not a coincidence. As players come through for us other let us down. Early season backing for the normally consistent Darren Bent has been replaced in favour of the red hot Demba Ba whilst Chelsea’s usually airtight defence is dropped quicker than you can say “high back line”.
Is it possible that we are starting to love our fantasy teams as much as our real life ones. At the beginning of the season every man and their dog had Jose Bosingwa in their team. Everyone except me that is. Due to genuine belief that I have the power to jinx players (originating from the time I dropped an out-of-form Gudjohnson from my team and he proceeded to score a hat trick the following weekend) I never pick Chelsea players. So when Bosingwa scored a 25 yard rocket against Norwich and I leapt out of my seat there was a twinge of disappointment as I realised how many people had the Chelsea man in their side.
When did people start caring about assists? In the past simply being told the score and scorers was enough, but now we need to know who last made physical contact with the ball before it reached the goalscorer, and then ponder whether it will be enough to earn valuable bonus points, tallying the score in our heads. I would not be surprised if, and would recommend that, broadcasters started including fantasy stats alongside the usual ones. I wonder if it affects our perceptions of players, are we now clouded by the stats? I was outraged last year when neither Berbatov nor Nani were nominated for the PFA player of the year award. How could this be? With 176 and 198 points respectively they were surely favourites. The stats don’t lie.
Nowadays in this new reality we find ourselves little details start to mean the world to us. I am sure I am not alone in cursing any manager who inconsiderately substitutes a defender after 59 minutes with clean sheet points impending. As the substitution becomes apparent I find myself willing the ball to stay in play, studying the clock as the seconds tick towards the all important hour mark and another 5 points on to my total. The only thing worse than this is the late tactical substitution. With the final whistle imminent you realise your captain, inexplicably rested, won’t play any part in the match. Whilst this is frustrating it does mean that he will in fact hand over the arm band to your Vice Captain who bagged valuable points earlier that day. Or so you thought. Then you to see him readying himself for three minutes of football in a game already won and earning you a grand total of two points. Also filed under Fantasy Football frustrations is a high scoring bench, most common this season by those foolish enough to think Swansea couldn’t keep on getting clean sheets, especially away from home.
It certainly makes some dull games more interesting and has added another dimension to football chat, but I don’t think it could ever be more exciting than the real thing, unless you are a Coventry Fan that is.
Posted on December 20, 2011, in *Tom Gaunt, epl, Humour, Premier League and tagged Adebayor, Arsenal, Chelsea, coventry city, Dimitar Berbatov, Eider Gudjohnson, Fantasy Football, jose bosingwa, Nani, Rafael van der Vaart, Swansea. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.