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The Sun DreamTeam

The Sun's Fantasy Football competition ('Dream Team') offers very substantial prizes (£125,000 to the winner for 2005/06 & 2004/05) and over 540,000 teams in 2005/06 (400,000+ 2004/05) are entered. One of the main features of the game is the performance-related (ratings) points given to players and in particular the Star Man award. You only have £40m to spend on your 11 players so it is always tight. Transfers are limited with two transfer windows (October and January) where a maximum of 2 players can be changed which means a loss of form or injury can rule you out of the season prizes. European (UEFA Cup and Champions League) matches count towards the fantasy scores and the FA and Carling Cup matches also count so picking players from teams who have good cup runs will prove fruitful. Total prize money is £300,000 (2004/05)including some excellent weekly and monthly prizes. Entry is by phone or internet and can also be delayed until the 4th week of the season although you do miss the points allocated over the first week(s) by entering late. There is a free mini-league function available. Online entry cost is £5 with a discount if you enter 5 teams.

A difficult fantasy football competition to do well at as a fair amount of luck is involved but with enormous rewards if your luck holds out - so best of luck!

Below is a copy (from here) on what the Dream Team Professionals have to say about picking their Sun Dream Team. 

Published on the Sun's Dream Team website in Aug/Sep 2003 at -

'FANCY some Dream Team advice from the Fantastic Five of fantasy football? We've tracked down the armchair elite - the managers who win more often than anyone else.

And we've persuaded them to offload their secrets! Our own Dream Team experts put together the questions most commonly asked by Sun Dream Team fans.

So who better to answer them than the fantasy players who most commonly get them right! Chris King, 35, has been so successful that he set up, a website for fantasy football enthusiasts.

He bought a sports car with his winnings and holds special events for fellow managers.

Andy Luckhurst, 41, is a Kent accountant who has won more than £100,000 - using it to splash out on a Disneyland trip for his ex-girlfriend and her children. "Does that make me a mickey mouse accountant?" he asks.

Computer techie Michael Shipley used his winnings to fund his degree course, a year's travelling and "most of the house"!

Tony Murnaghan is a financial services expert who takes just five minutes to put a fantasy team together . . . once he has carefully studied the scoring system.

And Michael Jones, 44, who teaches maths at a Sheffield comprehensive, has played fantasy football games for around eight years'.

Which part of a Dream Team should be strongest?
Chris King Andy Luckhurst Michael Shipley Tony Murnaghan Michael Jones
Attack - due to the scoring system and the fact that goal scorers tend to generate Star Man selections. Spend your money on strikers, defenders and midfielders in that order, although I guess Scholes may go well this year In most fantasy football competitions, the top strikers usually accumulate the most points by the end of the season. And indeed these strikers will often prove to be "must-haves". It depends the pricing structure of all the players. The aim is to achieve the highest possible overall total. Sometimes this is achieved by focusing on defenders instead of attackers and other times the opposite applies. More often than not a balanced approach is required and the key is to establish where the real value can be found. Strikers - as they score the most points.
Is it best to pick established stars or take a gamble on promising youngsters?
Chris King Andy Luckhurst Michael Shipley Tony Murnaghan Michael Jones
Now that there is an October transfer window, I'd favour the established stars, but often your budget means you have to put some youngsters in as well. Established Stars or Youngsters? I think maybe 'in-betweenies' - like me. The problem with promising youngsters is that there is often uncertainty over whether they will command a first-team spot for the duration of the season. On the other hand established players such as Shearer will always play, providing they avoid injury and suspension. I would nearly always opt for the established stars in preference to the promising youngsters. However, if I felt that the youngster was guaranteed his place in his team and the price was right, I would use him. It's best to pick mainly established stars with a couple of new or unknown players.
Which player is your top tip to be the best performer in 2003/04?
Chris King Andy Luckhurst Michael Shipley Tony Murnaghan Michael Jones
Barring major injury, it an obvious battle between Van Nistelrooy and Henry. And it is good to see The Sun raise their prices this year to make it much more of a test to get both of them into your team. Players that should do better than last year are Allback (Aston Villa) and possibly Ameobi (Newcastle), who has improved a lot in the last 12 months. But neither will be the top points scorer. Of course, any major international striker that Chelskov acquire by 31 August has a shot at the best performer. I guess the Red Van Man may well be top Sun scorer this year. Van Nistelrooy. Inevitably the best performer will be a striker from a top team heavily involved in European competition. Henry and van Nistelrooy are the obvious candidates. After that the solid choices would be Shearer and the Chelsea strikers - whoever they may be! Van Nistelrooy.
Is it worth avoiding picking players from clubs you think will battle relegation?
Chris King Andy Luckhurst Michael Shipley Tony Murnaghan Michael Jones
Not necessarily - if you can find the star performer who will stand out and score heavily with marks out of 10 and Star Man selections. But it's probably a good idea to avoid the defenders. I don't think you should avoid a player just because he is in a poor team, particularly if you think he will get a few Star Man awards. Logically the defences of relegation threatened teams are unlikely to have performed well, or else they probably wouldn't be relegation threatened! Of course the same can be said for the attack. However there can often be bargain midfielders, who are the fulcrum of their team. Generally speaking, I would only consider using these players in midfield positions. Yes - unless you think they may be Star Man on a regular basis.
Has Chelsea's spending affected your team plans for the season ahead?
Chris King Andy Luckhurst Michael Shipley Tony Murnaghan Michael Jones
I think it's affected everyone's thinking. Not only are you a little unsure who's going to be in Ranieri's first XI, but it may take the team a while to settle down. Watching some of the pre-season matches didn't help give an insight into his thinking. The big question is which top striker will be brought in later this month to complete Roman's own fantasy team! Deciding what to do about Chelskov will definitely be a key decision. Yes, of course! As a fantasy manager you cannot be sure which member of last season's team will be replaced next. And the current speculation over strikers makes fantasy preparations particularly troublesome! Yes, but in some ways it has made the planning easier. There will be stiff completion for places and a certain degree of rotation. I will not be using as many Chelsea players as I was intending to the in pre-Roman era! Yes, it has! But I've not picked any Chelsea players as I'm not sure who will play regularly due to the size of their squad.
How do you go about picking your bargain signings?
Chris King Andy Luckhurst Michael Shipley Tony Murnaghan Michael Jones
Work out who you think will be the starting 11 for each club - including the relegation candidates! - and try and keep up with (pre-season) match reports/coverage to see who are the in-form players. Also, check to see if a player is mis-classified, and see if you can use that to your advantage. For example, Geremi was listed as a defender last year but played right midfield. I tend to concentrate on midfielders when looking for bargains. Bargains - or undervalued players - are usually found in the following circumstances. The player is relatively unknown, having only previously played in a foreign league. The player has recently recovered from an injury that curtailed their season. The player is transferred to a superior Premiership team after the prices have been announced. Mainly from watching football ! After a while, you can get a gut feeling or instinct about a guy who you feel is useful but underrated. Sometimes, if a name player is going to be out for a prolonged period, there can be real value to be found if you can correctly forecast his replacement in the side. It's always best to look at someone who is new to a team but who you think could do well. For example, Portsmouth's Patrik Berger.
Money's tight, but you can afford one top striker. Do you go for Thierry Henry or Ruud van Nistelrooy?
Chris King Andy Luckhurst Michael Shipley Tony Murnaghan Michael Jones
Over the season, Henry - the best player in the world! I think I'll go with the Red Van Man, but why not enter more than one Dream Team and try them on their own and together? Difficult! At the moment I would go for Henry, since Man Utd might not have as much creativity in midfield as last season. Furthermore, it seems as though RVN is more likely to suffer an injury than Henry. However, in reality, or should I say fantasy, I wouldn't pick one over the other. I would pick both in an equal amount of teams. This season I would predict Van Nistelrooy. Why not pick 2 teams and put one in each! van Nistelrooy as he is a natural goalscorer.
Do you go for defenders who do not concede many goals or those with good scoring records?
Chris King Andy Luckhurst Michael Shipley Tony Murnaghan Michael Jones
Not many defenders are going to score a lot of goals so I'd stick to those playing regularly for tight defences. With defenders there are a variety of factors but generally in the Sun game you want clean sheets rather than the odd goal. Ideally I would go for both! It really depends on how the scoring system is weighted. In general if I am inclined to invest a lot in a defender I would like to be sure that they are part of a reasonably solid defence. My preference is to go for defenders from a tight defence. If they can score as well, then that's a bonus! I try to go for both although I tend to pick those who do not concede many goals.
Do you enter fantasy football games for the money and prizes or for the spirit of competition?
Chris King Andy Luckhurst Michael Shipley Tony Murnaghan Michael Jones
For the competition! I play to win, I must admit. But whether you do or not it does make the likes of Bolton v Leicester more interesting! Money and prizes certainly do make playing the games more interesting. I think people who say they are not interested in the prizes are either very rich... or lying. But without the spirit of competition it would be less fun. I started off playing for fun but my primary objective now is to win. I still enjoy playing immensely but my expectation levels have certainly increased over the last few years. Both, although I enjoy it more if I win something!
If money was no object, what would be your No1 Dream Team line-up?
Chris King Andy Luckhurst Michael Shipley Tony Murnaghan Michael Jones
Assuming no restriction on players per club (if restriction then use players in brackets): Cudicini (Friedel), Bridge, Ashley Cole, Riise (Barry), Hyypia, Scholes, Duff, Giggs (Juninho), Owen, van Nistelrooy, Henry. Bet Abramovich can't get all those together! A quick answer would be Cudicini, Gallas, Campbell, Hyypia, Silvestre, Giggs, Scholes, Pires, Red Van Man, Henry, Owen.   I have kept to the 2 players per club rule, but otherwise I have "done a Roman" on it. Friedel, Terry, Woodgate, Hyypia, Southgate, Pires, Duff, Scholes, van Nistelrooy, Henry, Owen. Cudicini, Bridge, Hyppia, Campbell, Riise, Scholes, Scholes, Dyer, Emerton, Henry, van Nistelrooy, Shearer

Below is a copy from FSN 25 of an interview on 25 July 2001 with the Mark Maydon, the then Director behind the The Sun's DreamTeam game.

The Sun's Dream Team competition is probably the 'richest' fantasy Premiership Football competition on the planet so we were very pleased when Mark Maydon, Group Digital Director for News Group Digital, answered our questions and explained to us the great effort he and his team have put in to developing their very popular competition.

Interview with Mark Maydon:

1. Can you explain to our readers the relationship between News Group Digital and The Sun newspaper? What role do you personally play with The Sun's Dream Team competitions?

The Sun is published by News Group Newspapers Ltd. News Group Digital, is as the name suggests, the digital arm of the company and is responsible for the internet side of things. As director, I oversee the Dream Team game online. And because our game is totally integrated offline and online (i.e. you can enter by telephone and later come to the website to see how your team is performing) I co-ordinate the Dream Team activity between paper and website.

2. How do you feel the 2000/01 Dream Team football season went? Was it a success for The Sun and News Group Digital? How many entrants did you have?

Excellent – and yes a huge success. It was the first time we properly web enabled the game which led to a big uplift in entries. I’m not going to reveal how many players we actually had last season because that is commercially sensitive information, but rest assured with £250,000 in prize money we get more that any of the other UK-based fantasy football games around (despite what The Telegraph or others might claim!). Now we’re taking entries online from as far afield as Australia and Japan I’d be pretty confident we are the biggest fantasy football operation in the world too in terms of both play-rate and prize money. And unlike Premierwin we actually pay out! (FISO Editor - for anyone that is unfamiliar with the Premierwin debacle in 2000/01 then read FSN 11)

3. What enhancements do you have planned for the 2001/02 Dream Team competition?

We’ve spent a lot of time and money improving the game. The basics will stay the same (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!) but we’ve tweaked the prize fund to introduce weekly prizes and online we’ve completely revamped the website to allow some big upgrades. Here’s what’s in store:

- We’ve added in a series of new weekly prizes which means you can still be in with a shout of bagging some serious cash even if you’re team is lurking well down the overall table. The weekly prize will go to the manager whose team moves the most number of places up the league (this may not be the highest scoring team in any particular seven-day period). There are still monthly prizes and of course the huge pots to the top four at the end of the season (£100,000 for 1st, £50,000 for 2nd, £20,000 for 3rd and £5,000 for 4th).

- Online at you can now form your own Mini League within the overall game, inviting up to 49 friends or colleagues to join in. The website will take the strain through the season, calculating each team’s points score and relative performance. And we’ve even thrown in an incredible £4,000 prize for the best Dream Team Mini League at the end of the season, based on the average team score in the Mini League, minimum five teams). I imagine this will generate big interest because tens of thousands of people in offices, pubs and clubs have been using the Dream Team rules (illegally as it happens!) to run their own private leagues. Now they simply log on and we’ll take the strain.

- Follow your progress on your mobile phone. We’ve SMS enabled the Dream Team game to allow you to get regular updates via text messages to your mobile. So no matter where you are or what you’re doing, you can still keep right up to date with your team’s progress.

- The Dream Team website allows you to enter up to five teams in one go. And what’s more we’re giving you five teams for the price of four! So if you enter five teams in one go, you only pay £20 rather than £25. Registration of multiple teams has just got a whole load easier! And when you log into the site, all the teams that you registered 

- We’ve also made it easier for you to pay for your entry online. If you’re entering just one team you now have three ways to pay for your team – by debit/credit card (as before), by pre-pay card OR by premium rate phone call. So anyone worried about paying with a credit or debit card over the Internet needn’t be – now they don’t even need one to play Dream Team online! They simply visit one of 20,000 newsagents nationwide (and selected Spar outlets) that are stocking our Dream Team Season Ticket – a pre-pay card costing a fiver. Players just scratch off the panel on the reverse of the card, revealing their own unique ID number and follow the instructions at 

- Online we’ve expanded the league tables section so that you now monitor how your team is faring in the seasonal, monthly and weekly tables. And if you’re in a mini-league, you can see how your league is performing compared with all the other mini-leagues in the game.

- And that’s just the start of the additional statistics on offer online. We’ve also making available all the stats on each player’s performance – not only from the current season but from last year’s game as well. You can now follow when and where a player scores points . . . and we’ll even plot it graphically. Talk about anorak heaven!

4. Can you remind us of the winners of the 2000/01 season, their teams and what their winnings were? Any idea what they have spent the money on?

See below for the full team line-ups for the top three finishers who walked off with an incredible £170,000 between them!

1st place and £100,000 winner: 
Daniel Rofe's Danny's Dreamers XI
Total points: 1967

Code Player Team Position Price Team

023 Westerveld Liverpool Goalkeeper £4.0m 215
108 Harte Leeds Defender £3.5m 188
156 Dean Richards Southampton Defender £3.5m 162
170 Rio Ferdinand West Ham Defender £2.5m 244
163 Sol Campbell Tottenham Defender £3.0m 96
254 Bowyer Leeds Midfielder £2.5m 224
315 J Cole West Ham Midfielder £2.0m 90
266 S Gerrard Liverpool Midfielder £2.5m 201
387 Marcus Stewart Ipswich Striker £2.0m 219
369 Hasselbaink Chelsea Striker £6.0m 203
422 Pahars Southampton Striker £3.5m 125

2nd place and £50,000 winner: 
Errol Julian's Imported XI
Total points: 1955

Code Player Team Position Price Team

021 Flowers Leicester Goalkeeper £2.5m 95
170 Rio Ferdinand West Ham Defender £2.5m 244
075 Desailly Chelsea Defender £4.0m 123
138 Silvestre Man United Defender £3.0m 130
120 Babbel Liverpool Defender £3.5m 255
266 S Gerrard Liverpool Midfielder £2.5m 201
281 Giggs Man United Midfielder £4.5m 136
254 Bowyer Leeds Midfielde4 £2.5m 224
393 Viduka Leeds Striker £4.5m 203
422 Pahars Southampton Striker £3.5m 125
387 Marcus Stewart Ipswich Striker £2.0m 219

3rd place and £20,000 winner: 
Darren O'Grady's Dodge Rovers XI
Total points: 1944

Code Player Team Position Price Team

023 Westerveld Liverpool Goalkeeper £4.0m 215
124 Hyypia Liverpool Defender £5.0m 293
108 Harte Leeds Defender £3.5m 188
134 Irwin Man United Defender £3.0m 108
170 Rio Ferdinand West Ham Defender £2.5m 244
249 Holland Ipswich Midfielder £2.0m 152
213 Beagrie Bradford Midfielder £2.5m 9
254 Bowyer Leeds Midfielder £2.5m 224
352 Henry Arsenal Striker £6.0m 215
387 Marcus Stewart Ipswich Striker £2.0m 219
404 Goater Man City Striker £2.0m 77

Danny Rolfe said he was going to pay off his mortgage and get a new car. He also planned a trip to Las Vegas with friends to celebrate his win.

(FISO Editor - to see the above, and below, teams in table format then just click here)

5. Who was the top Dream Team player for 2000/01 - presumably a Liverpool player given their cup runs?

The top players were indeed Liverpool ones, mostly as a product of the number of matches they played through the course of a very busy season. Sammy Hyypia (293 pts from 58 games) topped the pile. The top 10 players by position were:


Player Team Total

Westerveld Liverpool 215
Barthez Manchester United 183
Sorensen Sunderland 166
Poom Derby 143
P Jones Southampton 141
Seaman Arsenal 136
R Wright Ipswich 132
Martyn Leeds 119
James Aston Villa 112
Schwarzer Middlesbrough 108


Player Team Total

Hyypia Liverpool 293
Babbel Liverpool 255
Rio Ferdinand West Ham 244
Henchoz Liverpool 216
Carragher Liverpool 210
Harte Leeds 188
T Adams Arsenal 166
Dean Richards Southampton 162
M Elliott Leicester 159
G Neville Manchester United 158


Player Team Total

Bowyer Leeds 224
S Gerrard Liverpool 201
Merson Aston Villa 182
Scholes Manchester United 160
Vieira Arsenal 155
Holland Ipswich 152
McAllister Liverpool 150
Jensen Charlton 137
Beckham Manchester United 137
Hutchison Sunderland 137


Player Team Total

Owen Liverpool 237
Marcus Stewart Ipswich 219
Henry Arsenal 215
Heskey Liverpool 215
Hasselbaink Chelsea 203
Viduka Leeds 203
Sheringham Manchester United 201
A Smith Leeds 184
Phillips Sunderland 170
Zola Chelsea 165

6. A number of our newsletter subscribers are not based in the UK. Please state whether the Dream Team competition is open to non-UK residents?

Absolutely – as long as the game is legal in their local jurisdiction. And you must be 18 to play.

7. What tips would you have for Dream Team players this year?

While we’ve put the budget up to £40m (from £35m) it’s still a real squeeze getting an 11-man line-up that hasn’t broken the bank (and if it wasn’t there’d be no challenge!). The key thing is to find a bargain-basement player who will rack up the points – last season Marcus Stewart (219 pts, only cost £2m) was in hindsight an absolute steal.

Clearly players from the six Premiership teams in Europe have increased opportunities to score Dream Team points. That said, squad rotation systems at the bigger clubs can have a negative effect (Man U frontmen Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole played 37 and 30 games respectively last season; Marcus Stewart played 41).

Finally log on and read the top 10 tips to entering the best possible side (registration starts from August 4). Good luck to everyone!

Many thanks, Mark, for sparing us the time to explain the developments to the Sun's Dream Team competition. On behalf of many fantasy sports enthusiasts we would like to say that we really do appreciate the effort you are making in developing your competition and putting up some fabulous prize money. All the best for the 2001/02 season and let's hope a FISO subscriber wins that £100,000 first prize!

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