The 21st day of isolation and I’ve done it all.
There’s not much work here at my end so I’ve learnt how to cook about 10 dishes, I’ve shed a decent amount of weight, I’ve gotten back to reading and have obviously consumed my fair share of Netflix.
I was gobsmacked by the surreal events of the ‘Tiger King’, cheering every dialogue of Roman Roy from ‘The Succession’ and watching ‘Sunderland Till I Die’, which has the most fun I’ve had in the last three weeks. Everyone is hating on Charlie Methven, but without him, it would not have been half as enjoyable. He is the content. A modern-day David Brent/ Steve Carell.
Like many of us, I’m addicted. I bloody love sport and I absolutely need my fix. I thought I would stay out of the incredible #ChampManFPL game launched by the boys from our community to just take a break from Fantasy Football but I shouldn’t have done.
The FOMO on launch day was real and thanks to my good friend from the boards AK, he let me in and we’re co-managing. Cheering for my childhood hero Ruud Van Nistelrooy all made it worth it a few hours later – and now looking at an overall rank of 27 is pretty cool too!
The boys who run this game have done a stupendous job and deservedly, got a shout-out from BBC.
But I still need more to get my football fix, I found myself watching/reading old interviews, old matches, watching some old documentaries and much more. I’ve even exhausted all the Jadon Sancho highlights there are on YouTube.
Whatever I do, I keep going back to sport. Maybe writing about our beloved Fantasy Premier League will help.
I’ve always wondered whether or not this obsession has been a healthy one for me. Has it been worth it?
Well, it only took a bit of delving into the past to discover that FPL has, indeed taught me some incredible life lessons, which I’d like to share with you.
Olivier Giroud has always been under-appreciated in London. When he first came to the city, he replaced Robin van Persie, a flying Dutchman with 30 goals in the previous season.
RVP had listened to the little boy inside of him and moved to Manchester United but Ollie had to man-up. Not only did he have to enter London with the burden of his predecessor, but he also carried the weight of knowing that the club’s most recent star French striker was their greatest ever player. Talk about pressure.
But when I saw Monsieur Olivier for the first time, I saw the most selfless player being type-casted as a man full of himself just because he had the most perfect mop of hair.
I worked with Ollie to address this. Arsene wasn’t doing his job and was too obsessed with Mourinho at this point to think about anything else. Jose had broken him.
I spoke to Ollie and told him that his chance would come. I told him in clichéd manager fashion –“Ollie, mate, Robin is playing for my club at the moment and is in the form of his life. But your chance will come. And when it does, you need to be ready”.
I told him about how we were eternally connected by the number 12. He wore the number 12 for my Arsenal. I was Lateriser12.
He was smiling. His hair became denser and more luminous. I told him not to overdo it, else he’d become just another Ross. He listened.
I knew it then and there that my job was done. What followed was a string of appearances for Ollie for my FPL team and soon enough I started giving him the armband. Then came the penultimate week of my FPL Managerial career. I was sitting ninth in India and 395th in the world. It was Gameweek 37.
We met for a beer before matchday.
Ollie: “You look nervous, boss. What happened?”
I wondered how he knew so easily but then who was I to question our relationship.
I said: “I don’t think I’m ever going to get a double-digit FPL rank. I came close two years ago but it’s just never going to happen.”
He put down his drink, looked straight at me and said buy me. I told him I didn’t have enough cash.
“I don’t care boss! Take a hit if you have to. Trust me. Even if you need to buy Mark Noble to fund me.”
I had no option. I did as he said. He had never let me down.
The next day, I saw Hector Bellerin cross it to him in the 80th minute and shout at Ollie while he was crossing – “hazlo por LR!” which translated in English means do it for LR!
Giroud tapped in his third, only to take off his top to showcase his Cumberbatch tattoo and wink at me.
Double-digit FPL rank and India #1 happened.
To date, he averages 10+ points per appearance for my FPL Team.
This story isn’t over.
Life Lesson Learnt:
Put quality time into your relationships, sit back and wait for the magic.
The world was at my feet in 2020. After various great gigs with Fantasy Football Scout, I finally spoke about Sergio Aguero during my Meet the Manager with Joe explaining the hit-home, hit-hard policy.
He scored five goals and an assist in his next two games where I had him as captain and I scored thousands of followers. I was in FPL heaven.
The guys at FFS invited me for my first Scoutcast to talk about Liverpool assets during their Double Gameweek. Game-face was on.
I went in, prepared. I spent hours researching. I dived into all the stats, all the numbers, read all the interviews and to top it all off, I saw highlights for the last six Liverpool games back-to-back. I had taken my notes. Rehearsed what I’d say. Done up my hair. Then the time arrived.
Joe and AZ were very kind. I was nervous at first but I knew I had done my research. They calmed me down. It was time for my Liverpool analysis.
I started, and I did not stop. The words coming out of my mouth took the chatbox by storm. I was untouchable. I was 922nd in the world. Joe and AZ did not know what hit them. They were spell-bound. I was smirking. I went on to deftly explain the intricacies of Liverpool’s style of play. It was beautiful.
Then the hours of research culminated into me putting myself on the line and recommending the beautiful Senegalese man with the quadriceps even Gareth Bale would be proud of. Sadio Mané was the captain I recommended for Double Gameweek 24.
Life Lesson Learnt:
Overthinking is of no use in life.