Christmas Day is finally upon us, although perhaps not in the form many of us expected.
In years gone by, I have written these Christmas messages with references to Fantasy Premier League managers pulling themselves away from FPL content to spend more time with their family and friends.
But it would be naive of me to assume all of you have the opportunity to do so today.
2020 has been a generation-defining year for the people of the United Kingdom and the wider world. The global pandemic has affected all of us in different ways with subtle, often unquantifiable, nuances.
The one feeling that unites us this Christmas is heartache, as we all strive to adapt to life in an ever-changing world.
Football has not gone unscathed, as we all know. Fantasy managers can consider themselves lucky to have the sport in our lives still, but it has been forced to endure most of the year without the presence of its most important component: the fans.
And, of course, due to recent changes, many of us are now unable to see our nearest and dearest on the most important day of the year.
So, to anyone who has not been able to enjoy a sorely-needed Christmas celebration with family and friends, I say this: We feel your pain. You are not alone in this fight.
I know these crumbs of comfort cannot replace the things many of you have lost this year, especially on Christmas Day. There is only so much Fantasy Football Scout can do to battle the ongoing crisis but, if providing a healthy distraction from all the doom and gloom makes a difference in your lives, then I will be very proud.
To business, then.
As you know, the Gameweek 15 deadline looms large on Boxing Day morning, which is why the full array of Fantasy content is already up on the site.
Make sure you head to the Complete Guide to Gameweek 15 tab at the top of the page to find everything you need.
It is not long until the first Wildcard deadline passes – and don’t forget to set your plans in place for Blank Gameweek 18, Double Gameweek 19 and your chip strategy.
That just leaves me to pass on my gratitude to some key individuals.
Once again, deputy editor Neale Rigg has been an invaluable resource. You are all probably tired of my comparing him to N’Golo Kanté, but until we get another Premier League player renowned for doing the dirty work and mopping up in midfield as well as the Chelsea man, you will all have to make do!
Commercial director Chris James and community manager Geoff Dance continue to help the site develop behind the scenes and push forward to bright new things in 2021.
Head of content, Paul McKinnon, Will Timbers (or TopMarx) and Ted (Rotation) are also key members of fulfilling a number of key Fantasy Football Scout responsibilities – who all have my thanks too.
We have also enjoyed the help of Sam Bonfield and Ian Archer in developing our presence on social media. The pair have taken our Twitter and Instagram accounts to new heights with their vision and execution in 2020.
Video manager Andy Mears has had the same effect on our YouTube content during his first full campaign at Fantasy Football Scout.
We should also thank Gianni Butticè for spearheading our Matchday Live content, with the help of Seb, Toby and Lee. And we cannot forget host of the Scoutcast and captaincy videos: the long-serving Joe Lepper.
The editorial output has grown this season too. Andy, Az, Holly, Luke, Sam, Simon, Tom, Pranil and Utkarsh have all continued to provide excellent Pro Pundits articles – and we are delighted to have added Fábio Borges, Darren Wiles and the great Mark Sutherns to that list in 2020/21.
David Wardale, Jan Sienkiewicz, Colm Hayes and Marc Jobling all deserve praise for ticking key editorial boxes while Karam Tayser has done a great job in helping us reach new audiences this year with his translation of our content into Arabic.
And, of course, I would like to express gratitude to the moderators, who all perform the thankless task of managing our community at ground level every day.
The list of people contributing to the site behind the scenes continues to grow. To these individuals, you know who are you and you have my thanks.
I hope you all have as Merry a Christmas as the current restrictions allow. Good luck in Gameweek 15!
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