Christmas is a time to remind yourself of what’s really important in life: Fantasy Football.
Christmas can still be a difficult time for Fantasy Premier League managers though, particularly with friends, family and general festivity getting in the way of solemn, dedicated analysis.
So, with this in mind, I thought I’d share some tips on how to best navigate the Christmas period as a Fantasy manager.
There’s a lot going on over Christmas and, if you’re an avid FPL manager like me, it’s sometimes hard to prioritise the really important things.
Personally, I like to set aside an hour or two a day to not think about Fantasy Football. I find this allows me to remain centred, present and the best version of myself for, at least, the length of an episode of Doctor Who or the Strictly Christmas special. Which is more than long enough.
With deadlines coming thick and fast, however, even finding this time can be challenging and, therefore, it’s crucial to learn how to multitask effectively.
The key here, I believe, is to try and integrate your Christmas schedule into your overall FPL schedule.
For example, I like to listen to FPL podcasts while I’m wrapping presents and, even though it sometimes leads me to accidentally write things like ‘strong bench’ or ‘Harry Kane’ on the gift tags, it makes optimal use of my time and helps me to ensure that I’m up to date with what’s going on.
Similarly, when decorating the Christmas tree, I like to think of each bauble as a football player in the ‘Christmas tree formation’. Of course, preferring a 3-4-3 myself, this can sometimes result in a less stable tree, prone to falling over and scaring the cat but, ultimately, it is this level of commitment that makes the difference between being a top 10k manager or being a loser in life.
(yes, that’s a full stop in a headline)
I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard of Fantasy managers waking up after the office Christmas party, dazed, hungover and in unfamiliar surroundings only to roll over and find they’ve made a terrible mistake.
They’ve transferred in Theo Walcott.
My advice here is that, while everybody should let their hair down once in a while and while it might seem like a good idea at the time, try and keep in mind how awkward it will feel the next morning, seeing Theo in your Fantasy team, the two of you trying to avoid eye contact…
Try to drink within your limits and, if you can’t then, whatever you do, don’t make transfers under the influence. One bad decision can ruin your entire season, and life.
Stay Always On
During Christmases of old, Fantasy managers would have to suffer the inconvenience of setting up a desktop computer at the Christmas dinner table or risk going up to several hours without checking on their Fantasy teams.
Some managers were unable to do even this and were thus forced to pull crackers, wear paper hats and speak to their families, like cricket fans.
Not many people know this, but smartphones were originally created to solve this exact problem, allowing Fantasy managers fast, convenient and real-time access to football scores and apps over the holidays.
Sometimes, while fiddling with my team and sending VAR hate tweets at the Christmas dinner table, I do marvel at how connected we humans have become over the years. Christmas really does remind us of how much we have to be thankful for.
My recommendation is to always have a smartphone or other internet-ready device within three feet of you at all times during the festive season.
Any further than that can cause anxiety and ruin Christmas.
Boxing day is exclusively about football and everybody should already know this so don’t feel bad about abruptly switching off The Muppets Christmas Carol or whatever puerile nonsense the kids are watching in favour of a glorious 12 hours of uninterrupted TV football coverage.
Ideally, you will not move from the couch at all during this period and this, of course, necessitates getting a good seat.
I suggest you spend Christmas day scouting your surroundings to identify the optimum vantage point.
You might also want to consider making an early start to Boxing Day in order to secure the best seat or, at least, leaving a beach towel over it before going back to bed.
Obviously you can’t watch a football match without at least one spreadsheet open on your computer but I find that a good physical notepad (I prefer wire-bound with a ruled 7mm feint) for studiously jotting notes during the matches helps you to keep you on track following naps and, I feel, helps to project a vibe of professionalism, clearly demonstrating to passers-by that you’re doing important work and that you shouldn’t be interrupted.
Nobody ever bothered Arrigo Sacchi or Sir Alex Ferguson with questions about ‘watching Sherlock’ or ‘playing Boggle’.
After all, Boxing Day comes but once a year and you shouldn’t let anything, least of all family, friends or general social conventions get in the way of you enjoying it or remembering its true meaning, which is football.
And, with that, I hope you find these tips useful and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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