Whilst we enjoy the tinkering of our 2020/21 squads I felt it was important to attempt to review the inaugural FFScout Head-to-Head Leagues. I must admit that, ideally, I would have preferred to get this out on the site a couple of weeks ago and well before the 2020/21 FPL site launched. Nonetheless, a summary is still required to bring the season to a close.
Just a reminder that the top five teams are promoted from each division to a division in the league above and the bottom ten teams are relegated from each division to a division in the league below.
The exception is League 8: the top three teams in each of the 173 divisions are promoted along with the best 121 fourth-placed managers. Relegation to a potential League 9 depends on entry levels for next season’s Head-to-Head leagues, but this will be outlined in a future article.
I’ll mainly focus on Division winners and promotions as no one likes to know they have been relegated!
I won’t attempt to review all 173 divisions that are in League 8, but will instead highlight some stand-out performances with the likes of Abdullah Tamin (Division 1), Jack McCulloch (Division 2), Stephen Blake (Division 4), Trent Chamberlain (Division 8), Navishka Wijewardene (Division 41), Vladimir Stojiljkovic (Division 7), Karl Cullen (Division 97), Richard Sarver (Division 134), FPL Mechanic (Division 169), and Geoff Holt (Division 170) all scoring 90 or more points to win their respective Divisions.
It’s also worth noting that FPL Mechanic finished 966th overall in the FPL standings, which is an outstanding overall rank.
In fact, he would have finished a little higher after Joshua Bull was declared the FPL Champion and we all moved up a few places. The overall ranks mentioned in this article are all from before that happened.
64 divisions within League 7 but I will go straight to Division 3 and to Liam Bondin who won the Division by three points, however, it’s his overall FPL rank of 95 that stood out.
A great performance and season for Liam who will no doubt be in contention for another promotion next season. There were a couple of other notable high FPL ranks in League 7, however with it being a head-to-head format you don’t always finish top.
In Division 38 Neil Thompson finished 169th overall and, although he gained promotion to Division 6, he finished second to Daniel McKenna by eight points. Daniel had an overall rank finish of 6K (which of course is still an excellent rank).
Another example of a high-rank finish not resulting in the top spot is in Division 62 where Johnny Guerrero Concepcion finished in 113th place overall but was only good enough for fifth spot. He just took the last promotion place by two points. Worth noting that 2nd, 3rd and 4th places all had 100K+ ranks.
League 6 had some very close finishes with Divisions 10 and 12 being particularly close. Division 10 had six points separating the top nine teams whereas Division 12 had eight points separating the top 10.
Damjan Rupnik top scored across League 6 with 87 points which resulted in him winning Division 5. However, it was Kristoffur Sorensen who amazingly finished 32nd overall but somehow was only good enough for fourth place in Division 1, albeit securing promotion.
I believe this is the highest overall Head-to-Head player across all eight Leagues and 5,983 players.
Whilst Eirik Aasen Aukland won Division 1 and Johnny Paterson Division 9 comfortably by 13 points, it was a much closer story in Division 2 where Colm Divilly beat Graham Langley by virtue of a better FPL rank. Both managers finished on 66 points, with five points then separating 3rd to 7th in a very tight Division.
Oliver Russell won Division 10 despite the teams in second down to 11th (relegation zone) having better overall ranks, which once again highlights how the head-to-head format is never straight forward and that anyone can win.
8 Divisions in this league and all were very competitive and close.
Samuel Johnston had the best overall rank (425) of the 160 teams across the League, however unbelievably it wasn’t enough for promotion as he finished sixth in Division 5, 15 points behind first place (Ste Cummins).
Scott Ireland won the most head-to-head points across the League, scoring 81 as he won Division 7, and had the highest overall rank finish of the 8 Division winners.
Rupert Fleming won Division 1 from Jon Keates by 1 point. Rupert also had the highest-rank finish across the four divisions.
The other three division winners are Nikita Kursov (Division 2), Billy Ketsu (Division 3), and Dylan Penhallurick (Division 4). All four divisions were very tight, and Division 4 had only four points separating fifth place (promotion) and 11th place (relegation).
For those that are interested, I was in Division 1 but finished 13th and was therefore relegated. I was in the bottom 10 the whole season after losing the first nine games!
Congratulations to David Arblaster who won Division 1 and is promoted to League 1 along with Cam Black, Tim Hill, Ian Knox and Ville Touminen who finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.
David Bowman missed out on promotion by a single point after coming sixth. And our very own Geoff Dance finished eighth, four points away from promotion but five points clear of relegation.
Division 2 winner Mike Udberg won by four points and is joined in the promotion celebrations by Milan Mihajlovic, Al Black, Peter Murphy and Bruce Savage who finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.
The highest-ranked manager in League 2 was Sakari Uutela who finished 1,626th, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for promotion as he finished seventh in Division 2.
A special mention to Cak Juris who despite finishing 7,852nd overall is relegated to League 3 after finishing 15th in Division 2. That is particularly unlucky when you consider he had the sixth-best rank out of the 40 teams in League 2.
Let’s get straight to it…. Craig Johnson is our first FFScout Head-to-Head champion. Craig finished 1,501st overall and beat Grant Barclay (2nd) and Simon Vazquez (3rd) by seven points. It’s worth noting that this is Craig’s tenth top 10,000 finish in 14 years, which is amazing consistency.
Congratulations to Craig who will now have the challenge of defending his title.
Owen Walker (Zan K) avoids relegation on the last day of the season despite losing, Glynn Sherwood couldn’t grab the win that would have meant Owen and Glynn swapped places. The bottom ten, of course, are all relegated to League 2 and replaced with the 10 teams mentioned in the League 2 summary above.
I hope you enjoyed the inaugural FFScout Head-to-Head leagues. We will be running these again for the 2020/21 season and I’m hopeful of more participants than last year. 5,983 players took part this year which you can imagine resulted in several challenges, the next of which is to calculate all the promotion and relegations.
Just a quick thanks from me to the FFScout team, as an idea I had towards the end of the 2018/19 season swiftly evolved into a bigger and better project than I could have ever imagined.
I must personally thank Mat Williams for his incredible work behind the scenes, and TopMarx for his weekly summary of the various FFScout tournaments, which included a very good round-up of the Head-to-Head leagues.
Keep a lookout for an article about the 2020/21 Head-to-Head Leagues in the coming days, which will have details on how to enter. In the meantime, why don’t you guess (without looking back at the article) how many times the word Division is written in this article! Alternatively, you could just tinker with your FPL teams.
Mark / MIR / @sparkymir