Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

The 2013 Haters XI

Celtic v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Group Stage Matchday Two Group H

“Don’t hate the game, hate the player.” – Descartes

There is a special place in hell for the corporations that buy up large blocks of ad time to pump out their latest wares.

People need to buy stuff, I get that. But watching a sporting event shouldn’t entail being beaten over the head with a violin, a trumpet, or a seminal hip hop classic 14 times within three hours.

This year’s Haters XI is fueled by unadulterated rage, as it should be. First, the disclaimers: This list is my own, so direct your anger at me. The players listed are all good to great players — this isn’t about their technical ability. You can check out last year’s squad here. Read the rest of this entry »

The 2012 Haters XI

"Haters going to hate." - Socrates

It was the fourth elbow to the back of the head that finally did it. There was a time when ogling the latest in shitty electronics could be done in a safe environment. Instead of departing radio shack with a new CD Player — the new vinyl player — I left the mall with a cloudy mind and a genuine feeling of anger. And thus the 2012 haters XI was born. In an effort to direct my anger at a worthwhile endeavor, I’ve created the most hateable squad of footballers.

A few housekeeping notes before we begin. This list is my own, so direct your rage at me. The players listed are all good to great players — this isn’t about their technical ability. Also, many of you know I’m an Arsenal supporter. Don’t worry, that didn’t cloud my judgement. You’ll see a couple Gunners on here. And finally, this list was made in jest. I do not actually ‘hate’ any of these guys. Here we go. Read the rest of this entry »

The Footy Show did its internal Premier League player draft last night at a nearby bar. I was already a few sheets to the wind, and my total Premier League teem sheets were a disorganized mess. I didn’t get Danny Graham, but I did get David Silva. Joe Ross somehow thinks Michu is going to burn down the Premier League. James, who had his picks selected on his behalf, ended up with Arshavin and Shay Given, which was hilarious.

Not that any of that mattered, because I had a strategy. I don’t know how your pool is scored, but if it’s some variation on a basic point system for goals and clean sheets, you don’t need to do much work at all.

Ours was a straight up, unlimited budget snake draft. We had a 4-3-3 formation, plus seven subs in any position. Yours might be slightly different, but the basic principles should carry over. The general idea is NOT to pick “starz.” Or players that are generally good in a way that isn’t directly related to the points system. So if yours is based on “key passes” or “assists” then obviously pick as needed.

Generally though, you want defenders in a team capable of getting clean sheets. You want more strikers than midfielders, and you want midfielders who can a) score and b) generally play for teams who regularly put up clean sheets.

Some pointers by position.


This one’s easy. Rank by clean sheets by last season. If you like, you can weight over several added seasons. But don’t take Joe Hart as your first pick. The math doesn’t add up. You’re far better blowing it on a decent striker. Our pool didn’t require a goalkeeper at all. Think of them as padding.


If your pool requires players to play the full match in order to get the clean sheet points, make sure they’re ALL central defenders unless your pool forces you to pick full-backs (get out of that pool NOW). CBs won’t get subbed if they’re injured. Also, pick defenders at a club likely to get clean sheets (in other words, hold your nose and take Joleon Lescott).


As stated above, pick midfielders with a good scoring record, and if you can overlap that with a club with a decent clean sheet history, great. But goals bring in more points in this category, so err on the side of attacking mids. Ashley Young would be a good pick, as would David Silva or Yaya Toure, obviously.


Goals. A history of goals. I would urge you strongly to avoid brand-spanking new signings, as more often than not they go through protracted adjustment periods. Better to consider relative consistency rather than a single solid year, which is why I picked Wayne Rooney over Robin van Persie.

That’s it. Live a little too. Fellaini, Odemwingie, and Michel Vorm all made my team. You’re not going to win the pool (I won the Euro 2012 player pool, tied with James Sharman), so you might as well give yourself reason to care over the course of an entire season.