In what can only be described as the global crisis of a generation, few things matter less than how far behind you are from the joke team you made for the cat in your family mini-league. However, in an uncertain time and with an ever-extending period of self-isolation for society at large – we really could have done with the distraction that FPL brings.
If before you were lambasted by friends or family for not paying attention to them as you temporarily benched John Lundstram for the fourth time that day, they are surely sick of you by now. Still, as Philip Larkin once wrote, ‘What will survive of us is love’ and while he was almost certainly not talking about football, the message remains apt. Football will outlive us all. Until the Premier League’s timely return, and off the back of the FPL’s rather optimistic article on their scheduled dates for the rest of the season, here are just some of the alternatives you could try in the meantime.
A Never-ending Wildcard
The doomed spirit of Gameweek 30 lives on through your desktop, with all 10 scheduled Premier League matches postponed before a ball was kicked but, crucially, not before some of us rage transferred. If nothing else has taught me to wait for near-deadline time to make my transfers from now on, it’s a sudden and devastating global pandemic. Uncharacteristically, I had yet to make my ill-advised weekly -4 (it was going to pay off this time I swear) and am taking my GW30 0 points as a small victory.
The ability to activate a wildcard now would certainly alleviate the stress of having to talk to your nearest and dearest for 12 straight weeks and could provide that little sip of dopamine you get from shaving £0.1m off a substitute goalkeeper. With all the time in the world, for however long the world lasts, you could peruse our fantasy section for all the quality tips needed to create the perfect FPL squad. They’ll be ready to play their remaining eight Premier League fixtures over a fortnight at some point this summer. Make good use of your bench!
There’s nothing like a threat to humanity to bring about a charitable spirit in your local community. While there are several loud calls out there for big business to lend a hand to those who keep their profit margins up in peacetime, the team behind the world’s favourite time-devourer have made a real difference.
Football Manager 2020 is available free to play here from Wednesday 18th March until the 25th. For those of you who have yet to play FM be warned, this is a clever and quite frankly dastardly marketing ploy. Once your free week is up, you will be required to pay for the game to continue your journey trying your best to get Halifax Town promoted on a shoestring budget. Not to mention you lost your first-choice striker, Andy Andyson, to a last-minute transfer! Also, Leonardo Leonardinho Le Leonard is unhappy with his training regime and keeps getting sent off! It’s a fantastic game and downloading it for free now will 100% mean you’ll be paying for it come Wednesday. Still though, a nice touch.
Yes I have just downloaded it.
If what you are really missing is a long and protracted way to spend a week, followed by 48 hours of slow and deepening dread that results in disappointment almost every time, then making sourdough bread might be for you.
The creation and subsequent nurturing of a sourdough starter (a colony of microorganisms including yeast and lactobacilli) is an excellent way to substitute the time you would have normally spent staring at your phone each week wondering whom to bench, captain and transfer. The process of developing your starter takes approximately five days to complete before you can take a portion of your now engorged ‘pre-ferment’ to mix with strong white bread flour and water, prove for two to three hours, knock back, then prove for a further two. Other recipes vary. This, I think, would serve as the most natural non-football alternative to a week in the life of an avid FPL manager. You wait five days each week nurturing your team with hope (flour) and care (water) before making your transfer decisions and watching over the course of an afternoon (three hours, check phone, two hours) as your creation ultimately fails you.
You can find a simple, easy to use recipe here but do bear in mind we’ve already discussed that Football Manager 2020 is free to download above.
FIFA Ultimate Team
I have been reliably informed by some of my colleagues that there exists a video game called FIFA which is rather popular worldwide. Like Football Manager, FIFA allows you to simulate football matches, players and seasons from the comfort of your own self-isolation cube / home. Unlike Football manager you can take control of the players on the pitch yourself to pass, shoot, lob and slide-tackle yourself into a stress headache. The ability to play alongside or against your friends or online strangers provides an extra dimension to the distraction, and could admittedly provide more of the aggression synonymous with FPL. Furthermore, the ability to quit a match and start a new campaign is something I’m sure FPL managers everywhere would appreciate.
Since the edition of FIFA I last owned (I can’t remember the year but Thierry Henry was on the front) EA have introduced ‘Ultimate Team’. Currently ranked as the third-most effective way to siphon money from young people, behind Tik Tok and tuition fees, the feature allows players to purchase packs of random players from past and present to assimilate into one perfect, world-beating team. The formation of your perfect team might distract from the lack of football during this prolonged spring break and losing heavily to a 10-year old online should substitute for that special brand of despair only FPL can bring.
Stay sane and sanitised, love from TSZ.