Review – The Sun Dream Team

The Sun Dream Team
Price: £5 per team with transfers costing £1.50 per window over the two transfer windows. You can also buy 2 teams for £10 or 5 teams for £25 both with pre-paid transfers.
Private Leagues: Yes


* A Massive £1 Million Prize Money
* Private or Mini Leagues


* It’s £5 per team
* Transfers cost £1.50 money to make
* Only 6 transfers per season
* Transfers must be made in 2 fixed transfer windows
* Scoring system includes points for player ratings in both the Sun and the News of the World.
* Scoring system includes multiple cup competitions in addition to Premiership matches
* Multi-entrant managers can dominate

Game Rules

Choose a team of 11 players from the player list, within a budget of £50 million, choosing either a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 formation. Once underway there are 2 transfer windows – one in October, the other in January. Managers may make up to 3 transfers within each of these windows.

There is also a “Golden Gamble” option that allows you to delay your final selection until 31st August, thus forfeiting points earned to that point in order to have an advantage when picking your initial lineup.

The basics of the scoring system are pretty simple but are badly bloated by arbitary points scoring for player ratings in the Sun and News of the World newspapers.

Goals are awarded with 5 points with 3 or more goals awarded with 5 additional points. Clean sheets also earn a keeper or defender 5 points, while Midfielders get 2 points. Keepers and Defenders also lose a point per goal for every goal they concede after the first goal. Penalty saves earn a keeper 3 points and each booking deducts 1 point and each red card 3 points.

Each player is also awarded 3 points if they score 7 or more in the Sun ratings for each match. The Sun “Star Man” however, gets an additional 5 points. In addition, the seasons top individual points scorer gets 20 additional points for his team.

The game also has an additional scoring variable (sigh). Now for Saturday games only, players will score points if they appear in the News of the World “Dream Team” on the Sunday. All players appearing get 2 points. The top rated player in each position gets 8 points.

In addition, the Dream Team game scores matches in the Premier League, Champions League, UEFA Cup, FA Cup and the Carling Cup.


The Sun’s Dream Team has proved a hugely popular game – mainly because the prize fund is by far the biggest in Fantasy Football. In 2008-09 the Sun raised the stakes even further by putting up a cool £1 million in prize money, including a huge £250,000 to the eventual winner.

With no restriction on the number of entries you can make, it’s not surprising then that Dream Team is the most popular game for multi-entrant managers. This means in the solo game, you’ll be up against managers with a very high number of teams. In simple terms if you want a chance of winning some cash, you’ll need to invest fairly heavily in a number of teams and dedicate your time to this game. If that’s your bag then the good news is that Dream Team does all it can to support multi-entrant managers.

The most significant measure that aids managers with a high volume of teams is the inclusion of transfer windows. Dream Team offers just two windows within which your transfers must be made. This means that multi-entrant managers need only tweak their team twice a year and can only make 6 transfers per team over the season. This makes it far easier to run a large number of teams.

At first glance, Dream Team actually looks pretty decent if you’re looking for a more casual setup for your Private League. The limited number of transfers and the transfer windows, curtail the amount of tweaking required throughout the season so it’s ideal if you fancy setting up a league with mates who perhaps aren’t keen on spending their time sifting through fixtures and player lists.

However it’s highly likely that, with the first transfer window almost 3 months after the season kickoff, many of your private league managers will give up if they’ve suffered injuries and are lagging behind. The fact that they also need to cough up £1.50 to make transfers in each of the two windows could be enough to convince not to bother. This hardly makes for a great private league experience. Similarly, if you’ve some managers who are looking for something more hands-on, Dream Team will frustrate. There’s nothing worse than picking up a couple of early injuries and having to wait until October to change them. The limited transfer windows are just to punishing to hands-on managers who want to tinker, and more casual managers who may well be punished for mistakes in their initial lineup.

It seems the Sun have actually realised this last issue and have come up with a system called the “Golden Gamble” which allows managers to forfeit 3 weeks of points, in order to tweak their team up until the end of August. It’s basically compensating for the limited flexibility of the transfer windows. However, the introduction of an earlier transfer window would surely be better than this bizarre idea. It doesn’t seem right, when I’m paying £5 to enter, that I should have to gamble 3 weeks of points in order to get a chance to react to what happens early season.

The timing of the first transfer window is another factor that offers multi entrant managers an advantage. With dozens of teams, it’s likely they’ll have several lineups who do not need early season tinkering. With just a handful of teams it’s far less likely, therefore, as a solo player, I could feel like I’m out of the game early on unless I chose to forfeit my first 3 weeks of points. It all makes the solo experience a little unfair for the manager with just a tenner to spend on a Fantasy Football game.

You’ve probably gathered by now that Dream Team is not a game I’d recommend for solo or private league managers. This is compounded by a scoring system that is bloated by a huge amount of objective variables in the shape of the Sun and News of the World player ratings. In basic terms players gain points for scoring 7 or more in the Sun each week with extra points awarded if they gain the Star Man or man of the match rating. There is then an extra layer of points awarded to players who rate highly in the News of the World paper.

The big flaw here is that the News of the World is a Sunday paper so only players that play their matches on a Saturday can win points in this way. With almost half the weekly fixtures now played over Sunday and Monday this seems like a farcical situation.

Add to this the fact that Dream Team includes scoring from the biggest range of competitions, including the rotation nightmare that is the Carling Cup and you have a bizarre mix of variables that can be a nightmare to anticipate and manage.

To compound matters there’s one bizarre scoring rule that I couldn’t help mentioning. A rule that that remains in the scoring system every season despite being truly absurd. It concerns penalty saves. Strangely, keepers can earn 3 points not just by saving a penalty but also if the penalty is not scored directly. This even counts if the penalty hits the woodwork and goes in. Very, very strange. Just imagine losing out on £250,000 because your rival’s keeper concedes an FA Cup final penalty in off a post. He’ll score 3 points for that “save”. That’s a nightmare, not a bloody dream.