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Fantasy Serie Apdate

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At the start of the season, I said that if the official Fantasy Serie A league filled up to its maximum 20 participants, I would embed the points table in the sidebar of the blog for all to monitor progress. The threat obviously hasn’t been carried out, but I promise that this is not due to any embarrassment at poorer than expected showings by me, but rather because the html code doesn’t agree with WordPress for some reason. I thought that instead, a couple of times during the course of the season I would write a little update on how progress is tracking. The truth is I have been somewhat putting this wee task off recently however, thinking that after one more week, one more week, just ONE MORE WEEK, the mighty Sermoneta Calcio would rise to its rightful position at the top of the league, and the post could then serve as a well-earned gloat. But alas, the inevitable has not quite yet occurred and this progress report can be delayed no longer.

I am happy to report though, that overall the league is going very well, and whilst the cream has not quite yet risen to the top, at least I am beating all my New Zealand colleagues. You might say that if I wasn’t it would be somewhat embarrassing, but a couple of them are genuine threats! Todd Ockleford is a seasoned Fantasy Serie A veteran, and while WaiBOP United PR man and Matamata Bus curator Dwayne Barlow insists he knows nothing about Serie A, his cannily selected squad suggests otherwise and is well deserving of its very respectable seventh spot, only two points off the lead.

The competition pace setters, as you would expect, are of course both Roma tifosi. Daragh Tavey and Taylor Knowles are both formidable opponents. I particularly owe Taylor a serious shellacking when next we meet, after his Pelvis Costello beat my Sermoneta Calcio by a solitary point in our head-to-head match a couple of weeks ago, much to his glee, even though I let him win by copping a four point penalty for making two transfers (neither of which helped me very much) that round.

This ‘head-to-head’ format, an option that only became available on Fantasy Serie A for the first time this season, is a highly successful innovation. Getting a simulated game against another team each round adds extra spice with the possibility of banter. And even more importantly, the overall picture of the contest is one of a league much closer and more competitive than you get in ‘classic’ leagues that simply rank everyone on points scored by their players each round. Anyone can still come through and win this, making it less likely that people falling behind will give up and stop trying.

This means there is still hope for those bringing up the rear, and looking down the barrel of metaphorical relegation in the bottom three. It’s a little surprising to see Twitter’s foremost Roma expert Dean Eddyshaw in this position, but look out, he has every potential to come storming back into contention. Not quite so surprising to see The Dirty Tackle’s Stephen Coutts in the same boat, given he’s a Laziale… 😉 On the other hand, we’ll let Grant Stantiall, voice of Melville United, off from any ribbing given I don’t think he’s logged in since he first picked his initial squad. He does win the prize for best team name though.

For my part, it’s been a mixed season so far, although I am quite pleased with progress. Currently 137th overall out of 12,331 participants worldwide after 12 rounds is great but disappointing when you consider I was 46th after seven. I would have liked to make that top 50 place stick, but there’s still plenty of time. I am at least somewhat content with once again leading Milan Obsession’s ‘classic’ league, a competition that I gate-crashed and won last season. Being better at this than the best AC Milan can throw at me is most enjoyable. Special thanks to the truly magnificent Elaine for not kicking me out, as she jokingly threatened to do at one stage thanks to my undignified bragging…

The key challenge for me from here is to stop channelling Claudio Ranieri too much. You have to play around a little bit because after all, it’s a waste if you don’t use your one free transfer per round pouring over the round-by-round statistics and keeping up with the ever changing and evolving form of the players – that’s the fun of the game. The trick is to do it in such a way that you don’t have to use more than one transfer per round because your inner Tinkerman (and your outer Taylor) is getting the better of you…

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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