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Previous Fantasy Sports Newsletters (FSN) by FISO - subscribe here

FSN 20 9.15 a.m. 21 June 2001

Before we take an in-depth look at the BBC's Fantasy Tennis competition for the Wimbledon fortnight, a quick word about the Telegraph Fantasy Cricket season and what's to come from FISO over the next month or so.

I have to say I am finding the Telegraph Fantasy Cricket competition (reviewed here) thoroughly enjoyable. Jed Pitman and the team have put together a package that really works well. The double points for games that you have a good chance of watching at least a part of (assuming you subscribe to Sky etc), have really added to the TV coverage. The milestones of getting away from a duck, reaching a century or taking a 5 wicket haul also introduce pressure points for you, the watcher, particularly in these double point games and even more so where it is your captain who is in play. My top team of 4 was placed 19th as published last Friday and with the number of ducks suffered over the last week is sure to drop out of the top 10 (for the time being!). The first few weeks of this 19 week competition have been exciting and I sincerely hope everyone else that entered has enjoyed the TFC format. To those that didn't then you've missed out!

Coming up on FISO over the next month should be a) a chat with Tony Murnaghan one of Ireland's top fantasy sports players and a name you'll often see on the leader board b) an interview with Mark Nunn whose team Hotshots FC finished 3rd to me in the 2000/01 TPLO season c) news from Mark Maydon , Group Digital Director for News Group Digital, on The Sun's Dream Team competition - review of 2000/01 and news of developments for 2001/02 - d) an update on premierwin and e) a round up of new fantasy sports submissions to FISO over the past month. 

Now on to our main piece for today, Fantasy Tennis - Wimbledon 2001 brought to you by the BBC and Fantasy League Limited - http://bbctennis.fantasyleague.co.uk/

You know this should be a good game as soon as you see that Fantasy League Limited have set the game up for the BBC. The format has that look and feel of the Fantasy League quality and I'm hoping this leads to a trouble free fortnight. No doubt there are going to be a large number of entries due to the profile of the BBC and the winner will be rightly proud of beating off the competition.

Right, a quick summary of the main rules:

1. Entry deadline 11.45am Monday 25 June;

2. Select 4 men and 4 women from the list of 50 men and 50 women but ensure you're not spending more than 100,000 in total for the 8 players (P.S. Players range from 50,000 (Sampras) down to 1,000);

3. There are no transfers - seems sensible as it is only a one-off 2 week competition;

4. Accumulate points as your players progress, win by 1, 2 or 3 sets, beat a seeded player (if unseeded) and beat a higher seed (if seeded) - to win I suspect you're going to have to pick at least 1 of the finalists for both the mens and ladies finals and if a cheap player gets to the semis you're going to need to have had him in your team so look for that bargain player;

5. Prize winners receive excellent tennis coaching session, tickets to A Question of Sport and autographed Sweatshirt. There are also prizes for the top scoring manager of each of the two weeks of the tournament;

6. Free to enter;

7. Only one team per manager.

Oh and there's an excellent 'Challenge A Mate' automated email that you can whack off to taunt your friends!

Looks like enjoyable fun! 

For full details and rules go to the website. 

If in just over two weeks time we have a winner from the FISO subscriber base then do let me know.

FSN 19 8.00am 6 June 2001

Today's newsletter should be of particular interest to Telegraph fans for we caught up with Jed Pitman last week who looks after The Telegraph's Fantasy Sports games and does the 'write up' on Wednesdays (Football) and Fridays (Cricket). Jed was kind enough to spend time with us answering our numerous questions.

Jed answered questions A) Generally about The Telegraph's Fantasy Sports,  B) Telegraph Fantasy Football, C) Telegraph Fantasy Cricket and D) about himself.

Questions on the Telegraph's Fantasy Sports programme, answered by Games Consultant, Jed Pitman:

A) GENERAL QUESTIONS:

1. What different fantasy sports games do the Telegraph run and which are your most popular in terms of entry numbers?

Telegraph Fantasy Football (restarts August 2001), Telegraph Fantasy Cricket. On occasions there are smaller fantasy based games for specific competitions such as World Cups, Ryder Cup etc. We have just finished a game called Zurich Rugby Challenge.

2. When were the respective games introduced?

TFF (then Telegraph fantasy league) was introduced in 1994, the cricket game a year later.

3. Have you seen an increasing number of people playing them over the years? 

The best year was 1995 when 360,00 individual managers entered the footy and 170,000 played the cricket game. The numbers diminished slightly but have increased again over the last couple of years to around 275,000 and 90,000. 

4. What do you think The Telegraph has to offer over other newspapers that run fantasy sports games? 

The best games offer managers more value for money; such as free magazines, confirmation of teams and transfers and now the ability to make transfers on the internet. The weekly page also offers more information than other papers. 

5. Can you give us any figures in general on the ages/sex of people playing? 

Not exactly, although the large majority are between 25-45 and male. 

6. Why do you think people like to play The Telegraph's fantasy sports games? 

They are great fun, reflect the real games well and truly offer managers a real test of their knowledge of the sports, particularly when making transfers which, to do well, is the crucial part of the game. 

7. Are you looking at introducing any new competitions over the next couple of years? 

There will, as ever, be games for particular competitions but football and cricket remain the main ones. 

8. How do you think the recent internet transfer ability has gone down with players? 

Very well. Transfers increased enormously to well over a million due the ease of making them. 

9. Are there any areas in general that you are addressing to add to the interactive nature of the games? 

Not really. These are newspaper games and promotions too. We cannot put the scores online as this negates the need for people to purchase the paper, which remains the main reason for running these games. It is not to make money. 

B) QUESTIONS ON TPL - reviewed by FISO here

10. Which year was TPL first launched and what do you think your game offers over other fantasy football competitions? 

1994. More info, more value for money. 

11. How many teams take part and how many do you hope to sign up next year? Do you know how many individuals take part? 

280,000. We are always after more but the most important statistic is the impact on circulation on Wednesdays. Around 200,000 individuals take part. 

12. What do you think of the fantasy football games run by the other newspapers? 

The Sun's game doesn't offer the manager enough except for the huge prize. The Times' is now run by Fantasy League and is therefore similar to the game in the Telegraph originally. I'm not aware of what the Times offers their managers in terms of confirmation of teams etc, a vital component of the Telegraph game. Personally, I think the copy in the Times is dull and concentrates too heavily on the performances of individual teams, ignoring the thousands of others involved in the game. All other papers have tended to drop their games over the years because they didn't do enough to support their players. 

13. Can you give our readers some detail on the number of people and companies in the team that look after and run the game and the roles they have? 

The game is run by the promotions/marketing department at the Telegraph, headed by Steve Stiles. I'm involved as a games consultant and prior to the launch of each game we discuss changes to the game and how the managers can benefit more. Two or three members of the handling house, GFM, based in Colchester are also involved. The game is scored by GFM who also supply the statistics for the weekly page, which is written and edited by me. 

14. We see in the TPL guide to the 2000/01 football season the following people/companies are mentioned in the TPL First XI. What role do they each play in the TPL team? First XI: Simon Clays, Simon Wallis, Mark Pettit, you, Action Images, Cormac Bourne, Joi Chuku, Mike Skyte, Julia Bell, Robert Bright, Allsport Images and Steve Stiles. 

The mag was put together in conjunction with FourFourTwo magazine and the majority of the names work for them. Allsport are picture providers, Mark Pettit works for GFM and is the main scorer. Steve Stiles works in the sports marketing dept at the Telegraph and has overall responsibility for the game. 

15. Who decided that Lauren was the player to watch from Arsenal? Ditto re Zuniga from Coventry and Paul Thirlwell from Sunderland. 

FourFourTwo had total editorial control of the magazine with the exception of the ad and stats pages. 

16. What made you choose 24 transfers for the season? 

Too many put people off, too few means the game is all over all too quickly for many. This was seen as a happy medium with the introduction of internet transfers. 

17. Who decides on the player valuations? 

Me, Mark and Steve. 

18. Many competitions restrict the number of players from each club. TPL does not do that. Why not? 

It was decided two years ago that people were not entering teams because it was taking too long to select a team due to the restrictions of formation, price and players from each club. They wanted to play but it was just too much hassle. I believed that one had to go and this was the most obvious choice. I never worked out the need for it in the first place. You have to be aware of accusations of dumbing down, though. I don't think we did and the numbers of teams has risen since the rule was changed. 

19. The Super League facility seems a useful facility and helpful particularly as not everyone wants to keep a note of his or her score. Whose idea was it to introduce it? 

Mine, Fantasy League and a company called CBH, an advertising agency which handled the game in its early years (I used to work for them, which is where my involvement came in). 

20. Do you ever have any difficulty in determining assists or do you use an outside source for the data? 

They are based on TV coverage and newspaper reports. They are almost always correct. Key contributions replaced assists to make it slightly more arbitrary. 

21. Have you considered setting up a 'Champions League' system whereby, say, the top 10 managers from each season are allowed to compete in a separate mini-league each following season, with the winner receiving a prize for being the Champion of the Champions? 

No, but it's a nice idea. 

22. Are there any introductions you plan to make which tie the fantasy game further in with the real-life EPL? 

No, in fact the Telegraph's sponsorship of the Premiership has now ended. 

23. Do you have any future developments or advances for TPL that you are working on or intend to introduce next year? 

Wait and see. 

24. Who were the big winners in TPL for 2000/01? And do you know how they coped in the run up to the season finale? 

Steve Austin won the game with a team co-managed by his colleague. They won the game by concentrating on fixtures, thus ensuring they got the maximum opportunity to score points each week. I think they had a lot of sleepless nights. 

25. Do you think the FA should ban from the EPL Swedish players whose names end in ....SSON! 

No, it lead to a running gag throughout the season with ssonssonsson being used. We even made Private Eye who thought it was a spelling error. 

26. Is there any advice you can give our readers who want to do well in TPL next year? 

Concentrate on the fixtures and make your transfers accordingly. 

C) QUESTIONS ON TFC - reviewed by FISO here

27. When was Telegraph Fantasy Cricket first run? 

1995 

28. How many teams and individuals have entered the 2001 competition? 

90,000 

29. How many Super League teams have entered? 

Just over 800 

30. Who decided on the player ratings? 

Me and Mark Pettit. 

31. What was the idea behind double points for tests and the latter stages of certain competitions? 

Test cricket and later one-day games are the ones which create interest for more than just the cricket aficionado. 

32. Whose idea was introducing a nominated captain who scores double? 

Mine. 

33. Why was 12 transfers decided upon? 

See football answer. The season is half as long. 

34. We thought the individual player write up in the Telegraph Fantasy Cricket's guide to the season was spot on. Who wrote it?

Me. 

35. You got to meet David Graveney when putting that guide together to see how the England team was selected. What were your impressions of him? 

I've known David for several years and have to say that he was of the best at dealing with the media. 

36. Has David Graveney entered a fantasy cricket team? 

No. I think he feels that it would compromise his position. 

37. Have you met other famous sportsmen during your job? 

Lots, too many to mention. But my favourite would be Alan Hansen, I used to write as Alan Handsome in the TPL game and he was a quite a fan. Geoff Boycott also contacted me over my Geoffrey Trueman character. 

38. Who do you think will be the top scoring player in each position at the end of the season? 

Batsman: Thorpe Keeper: Stewart: All rounder: Irani Bowler: Caddick. But what do I know? 

39. The holiday prize sounds pretty special. Are The Telegraph paying for that or did they find a sponsor? 

We are paying for it. It was viewed as better than 10,000 cash which can be spent easily. 

40. Who do you think will win the Ashes and what will the Test score be? 

Australia 3-1 with one draw but God, I hope I'm wrong. 

D) QUESTIONS ABOUT JED: 

41. Tell us about yourself. 

I'm 35, married, 3 kids, live in Sherston in Wiltshire. Born in Nottingham, support Notts County and Notts CCC. 

42. What job title do you have and are you employed directly by The Telegraph? 

I am a games consultant and am officially an outside supplier for the Telegraph. I am also Head of Sport at HTV in Bristol and commentate on cricket on Cricinfo.com. 

43. How long have you been working on The Telegraph's fantasy sports games? 

Six years. I am the longest serving person. 

44. Do you play any fantasy sports games yourself and, if so, which ones? 

All of them, although I can't win any prizes. 

45. What are you typical duties in an average week?

 I write the page each week and decide what stats/ charts should be in. I gather the info from GFM and then write and rewrite many of the bad gags. 

46. Do you have many emails to deal with each day from people with questions or problems with the game and what was the strangest email? 

Yes, although I pass most game queries on to our reader relations dept. I get too many weird ones for any to stand out. 

47. Have you ever missed an editorial for the fantasy sports page?

Not one in 6 years. I even write the stuff on holiday or when I'm working elsewhere. 

48. How did you first get involved in Fantasy Football? 

I was employed by CBH, an advertising agency who employed me as a copywriter. The Telegraph was one of their clients. I was employed for one day and am still doing it now. 

49. Who do you think the best real-life football manager is? 

Ferguson (no boos please). 

50. What is your opinion on the England manager situation? 

They seem to have it right now. 

51. Do you think Beckham's haircut should have a bearing on his position as England captain? 

Not at all. 

52. Who do you think should be England captain (regardless of haircuts)? 

Does it really matter? I'm never sure what a football captain does. 

53. Can anyone stop Manchester United next year? 

Notts County. In my dreams. 

54. If you could only pick one goalkeeper, one defender, one midfielder and one striker for a Premiership fantasy team (with no restrictions) who would they be? 

Barthez, Harte, Beckham and Owen. 

55. Where were you when England trounced Holland in Euro 1996 and when England lost to Argentina on penalties in the World Cup 1998? 

In the Sports Cafe in the Haymarket and in a bar in Bow. 

56. Which football player do you think will be the top scorer in TPL next year? 

Owen. 

57. What do you do in your spare time to relax?

I don't have any spare time but anything to do with cricket which is my favourite game. 

58. If there was one rule in football that you could change what would it be? 

Anything which would lead to more goals, there are too many dull games. 

Many thanks again to Jed for taking the time to answer our questions!

FSN 18 9am 30 May 2001

Feeling lost? At a loose end? Well cheer up, there's only 80 days to go before the start of the 2001/02 EPL season! 

Tell you what, forget about football! There are some great fantasy golf and fantasy cricket games about, why not try them instead over the summer? If you do just play fantasy football then there are plenty of good simulation games or if you just like the real life games then have you highlighted some possible picks for your teams next season based on end of season form? This is always a sensible move - it is hard to remember how players were performing when it comes to the last minute rush of submitting teams in August. 

Telegraph Premier League Online - reviewed by FISO here:

I know there are a good number of TPLO players who subscribe to this newsletter so I have set out below the team and transfers that won TPLO with 2,058 points. I thought I had half a chance of winning it last year (finished 39th) but got very lucky this year leading TPLO all the way from December, so for those out there who play TPLO; keep trying and I hope the information below might help you improve on your tactics. I look forward to doing battle with you all again next year! 

The TPLO winning team - managed by Chris King of FISO: 

GK1: Westerveld (Liv) 

GK2: Barthez (MU) sold 5/9/00 for Martyn (Lee) who was then sold 22/10/00 for James (AV) 

FB1: Harte (Lee) 

FB2: Silvinho (Ars) 

FB3: Babbel (Liv) sold 6/11/00 for Delap (Der) 

CB1: Keown (Ars) 

CB2: Campbell (TOT) sold 22/10/00 for Southgate (AV) 

CB3: Stam (MU) sold 5/9/00 for Rowett (Lei) 

Mid1: Smicer (Liv)

Mid2: Magilton (Ips) 

Mid3: Horlock (MC) sold 5/9/00 for Beckham (MU) 

Mid 4: Anderton (TOT) sold 6/9/00 for Stuart (Cha) 

Mid 5: Kennedy (MC) sold 6/11/00 for Kinkladze (Der) who was sold 16/12/00 for Beattie (Sou) 

Mid6: Dyer (New) sold 03/03/01 for Gronkjaer (Che) 

Att1: Hasselbaink (Che) 

Att2: Henry (Ars)

Att3: Owen (Liv) 

Att4: Zola (Che) sold 5/9/00 for Ferdinand (TOT) who was sold 10/4/01 for Stewart (Ips)

Commentary on the above team and transfers: 

Basically I feel that the strikers got me in the top 100 and the rest of the team managed to get me to the top of that pile. If you didn't have Hasselbaink and Henry then you would struggle. Owen did very well at the start and luckily I kept hold of him because he caught fire again near the end. One of my crucial 'starman' selections was changing my mind from Hasselbaink to Les Ferdinand on the day Jimmy got sent off and Les scored a hat-trick. Stewart was only bought near the end to protect myself from those close by because it was quite obvious most had him. 

I think most midfielders were sold because of injury except for Kinkladze who I realised soon after buying that I should have gone for Beattie instead. Bit the bullet and used up an extra transfer to get Beattie in but had partly missed the boat by then. Beckham was brought in because it was quite obvious after the start of the season that I needed him or would be left behind. 

Rowett was brought in because he was really a full back even though classified as a Centre Back and Leicester were doing very well defensively. Delap was brought in because I felt Derby, who'd had a terrible time, would start to get some clean sheets. This was pretty much my only intuitive transfer but as it was keeping Babbel would have done me just as well given his late season form. Keeping Harte until O'Leary saw sense and put him back in Leeds' team was also a good move but I nearly ran out of patience. Campbell was ditched due to injury.

 Really don't remember why I was messing about with the goalkeepers early on although I do know Martyn got injured. I suspect I needed to sell Barthez and get a cheaper keeper to accommodate the other 5/9/00 transfers. 

So as you can see I was quite lucky in picking a good number of the main season points scorers at the start and really I could have made a lot better job of many of the transfers. Very surprised to be the only person over 2,000 points.

Chris King - FISO

FSN 17 3.15 p.m. 19 May 2001

With the final games of the EPL season about to get underway we take a close look at the major fantasy football title races.
 
Sky Sports' Football Fantasia - http://fantasia.sky.com/sff2000/
 
Seems like a straight battle between defending champion Andy Luckhurst's top 5 teams and Dave Watson the pretender to Andy's crown. To assist in the excitement FISO have published their team line ups per below.

Dave Watson - Wineracks (1024 points): 

Westerveld
Harte
Brown
Adams
Keown
Poyet
Merson
Holland
Hutchison
Viduka
Hasselbaink
Houllier
 
eddie woo 1(1034) eddie woo(1026)eddie woo4 (1022)
Westerveld              Barthez                Barthez
Harte                       Harte                   Harte
Dixon                       Dixon                  Dixon
Southgate                 Southgate            Adams
Hyppia                     Hyppia                Hyppia
Bowyer                    Bowyer               Bowyer
Beckham                  Beckham             Hutchison
Merson                     Merson               Merson
Poyet                        Poyet                  Poyet
Hasselbaink              Hasselbaink         Hasselbaink
Wiltord                     Fowler                Owen
Ferguson                   Wenger              Ferguson
 
eddie woo3 (1020)     woo again2  (1020)
Westerveld               Barthez
Harte                        Harte
Dixon                       Babbel
Southgate                 Adams
Hyppia                     Hyppia
Speed                      Bowyer
Fortune                    Holland
Reuser                     Reuser
Poyet                       Poyet
Henry                      Hasselbaink
Viduka                     Wiltord
Ranieri                     Ferguson
The best of luck to Andy and Dave - whilst Andy is undoubtedly favourite it could still go either way. The prizes are allocated per manager in SFF so Dave is in 2nd place regardless that Andy has two teams above him.
 
Fantasy League Limited: 
Star of the show in Fantasy League's Solo Game at
http://www.fantasyleague.com is undoubtedly Jesper Pedersen. His side, North Darkmore United, are not only assured of winning the main Solo Championship (entering the final week of the season an amazing 40 points clear), but have also seemingly secured victory in the Magnificient Seven competition as well
as competing in the final of the Champions League.
 
Direct access to their league table is as follows where you can see the individual team line ups - http://www.fantasyleague.com/leagues/solochamp.asp
 
With some 19,500 managers now taking part in the competition, Jesper's feat is unlikely to ever happen again, but the Danish fantasist insists that his success is all down to luck.
 
The Solo UEFA Cup Final also takes place this weekend with "The Pornstars" taking on "The Derwent Misses", with both managers fresh from witnessing one of the most incredible European matches in Dortmund on Wednesday evening as part of their prize.

Daily Telegraph Newspaper Competition:
 
The top 3 managers and their team line ups in the race to the 50,000 first prize are as follows:
 
S Austin                 A J Rooke            T Leary
(1310 points)         (1295 points)        (1280 points)
Seaman                  Seaman                R Wright
Babbel                    Babbel                   Clapham
Hyppia                    Stam                        Hreidarsson
R Ferdinand            Henchoz                Babbel
S Pearce                Harte                        Harte
Beckham                Bowyer                    Beckham
Beattie                    Poyet                        Poyet
G Stuart                   L Hendrie                 Bowyer
Heskey                    Scowcroft                M Stewart
Hasselbaink            Hasselbaink            Hasselbaink
Henry                        Viduka                    Viduka
 
Telegraph Premier League Online - http://www.telegraphpremierleague.co.uk/
 
My final team which leads the competition on 2019 points before today has a line up as follows:
 
Westerveld
Harte
Southgate
Delap
Keown
Beattie
Smicer
Magilton
Stuart
Owen
Hasselbaink
 
With a lead of 73 points, I sincerely hope the real battle is for the second and third places where Mr Sumner holds a 4 point lead from Mr Nunn with the 4th placed team only 4 points further back. There are only prizes for the top 3.
 
The Times - Fantasy League
 
This is extremely close with Alec Johnson (456 points), Chris Billinghurst (451), Andrew Jago (450), Chris Evans (447) and John Harris (445) making up the top 5.

Best of luck to all competitors and many thanks to the gamesmasters who run the competitions which we all enjoy!

FSN 16 9.00 a.m. 17 May 2001

Now we will have no more of that!

4-4 after normal time indeed, that's a 60+ point game in TPLO terms. I'm sure all those players currently leading their fantasy football competitions will have had their pulses racing with the thoughts of similar games at the weekend. Great advert for football though but have Liverpool now used up all their luck for the season and will this allow Leeds or Ipswich to pip them at the post in the EPL?

We've had a few newsletters this week so I apologise if your inbox is feeling overcrowded but it is the climax of the season for EPL games. You will be left in peace tomorrow as I'm on a golf day all day but we might manage a further newsletter on Saturday.

Following on from FISO's interview last week with Andy Luckhurst, the defending champion of Sky's Football Fantasia, Chris King of FISO talks to Andy's major threat this year, Dave Watson who is currently in second with his team Wineracks.

Incidentally, FISO is in talks with both of them to see whether FISO can publish their top teams on our website as soon as the 2 p.m. SFF transfer deadline has passed on Saturday. Gamesmasters should consider this type of innovation to add to the excitement of the final day's games for the leaders and to ease any sleepless nights for the day or so afterwards. (I know the Original Fantasy League allow you to see opponents teams but that is throughout the season).

Anyway, on to Dave:

1. Hi Dave, when did you first get into fantasy sports and which fantasy sports games (online or newspapers) do you play or have done well at in the past?

I dabbled in various newspaper and office competitions in the last decade.I have spent more time on internet competitions over the last couple of years. I won the Sky Golf last year after showing up for a long way the year before. I actually lead the Sky F1 after the first race - but have faded since, it's not my favourite competition.

2. When did you first play Sky's Football Fantasia (SFF) and how has your season gone this year?

This is my first year in and it could not have gone much better. I carried some luck early on (as a Newcastle fan I'm not proud of putting Ray Parlour in the day he scored a hat trick against us at Highbury) - and established a lead by December which it took Andy until the end of March to claw back. Since then I have been hanging on a bit, but I've got his lead back to 10 points with one to play.

3. Is SFF you favourite game (if not, what is?) and what do you particularly like about it?

Yes - I just prefer it to their golf comp. I like the fact that they update the scores very quickly and the revaluation scheme adds an extra twist.

4. Have there been any problems with SFF this year and are there any changes you'd like to see to the SFF format?

I have had no problems this year (unlike the golf when several of my teams were wasted when transfers which looked like they had worked on screen apparently didn't). Maybe a later deadline for transfers would help eg 15 minutes before kick off, because trying to get team news early is a nightmare.

5. As you know I'm a great fan of TPLO and am trying to hang on to my lead. Did you try TPLO this year?

No - but I do fancy a shot at some different competitions next season.

6. Have you tried the Fantasy League's original game or The Sun's Dream Team game, and if so what do you think to them?

No - but I have played games in the past under the original FL format - I think assists should be part of all fantasy football games - that's one thing that SFF lacks.

7. You've entered your teams in SFF under the name 'Wineracks'. What's that all about?

Boring really - I just enter my teams under any word beginning with 'W' - I got sick of 'Watson's Winners'.

8. What do you do when you're not concentrating on your fantasy sports teams?

Play golf, 5-a-side, unihoc and watch Newcastle.

9. Do you think that with most fantasy sports games you need to play each game once before fully appreciating the effect of the rules?

Definitely - I improved a lot in my second year in the golf - I just hope the football is the same.

10. Do you prefer games to keep pretty much the same rules or change things each year to liven things up?

I prefer consistency - but most competitions could do with a few minor rule changes.

11. What have been you're main SFF tactics for the year?

To be honest, I think I blasted too many transfers too early and have had to try and spin the rest out to the end - which I have just about done. I tried to ride the 'waves of form' and did well out of Leicester and West Ham at various stages, but hung on to my Man U players for too long.

12. What sports websites do you use a lot and is there any particular ones you use for injury and team news?

Teamtalk and Sky sports - and various individual club sites, but a lot of them tell you nothing.

13. What are your plans for next year, either on SFF or on fantasy sports games generally?

Definitely sticking with SFF - Andy's proved it is possible to be consistent in this format. I hope Sky bring the golf back - apparently it is in some doubt.

14. What do you think the top 5 clubs in the Premiership will be next year?

Man U, Liverpool, Leeds, Arsenal, Newcastle (ok not really, maybe Chelsea)

15. Do you have a couple of premiership players for people to watch next year?

Martijn Reuser & Ashley Cole

16. Have you got any tips for people out there playing fantasy football?

Plan ahead - but avoid over analysis.

17. What do you think to Andy's tactics in SFF this year?

You can't knock them given the results, but I don't understand why he STILL has groups of 5 identical teams near the top, even at this late stage?

18. Will you come back and tell us what your final line-up for your top team on Saturday 19 May was?

No problem

19. Can you briefly describe your perfect online fantasy football game i.e. what are your favourite features?

Free to enter and decent prizes - ok a decent points stucture as well.

20. You took part in premierwin.com this year didn't you? What do you think of the problems they've run into?

I never entered at the start because we decided at work that there was no way they could pay out a million - you just can't generate that amount of entry fees on fantasy football. I only entered when a local man won the 5,000 December monthly prize and I was lucky enough to win a grand the first week in. I hope their demise stops other people trying to run 'stupid' competitions.

21. What is your routine during a typical week when looking after your fantasy football teams?

Check team news towards the end of the week, final check on Saturday morning and then put in any transfers.

22. Who do you think will get that crucial third Champions League spot this weekend?

I think Leeds might sneak it - I fancy Charlton to get a point off a tired Liverpool.

23. And finally, do you think you will beat Andy to the title of SFF winner 2000/01?

"I WOULD LOVE IT, JUST LOVE IT IF I BEAT HIM" - there again, Keegan won nowt that year, so let's just say that with ten points the difference there is still a chance.............


Cheers for that Dave (Keegan's never going to live that down is he!).

 

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