Yes, it’s that time of the year again. The sun is out, the sky is blue and pollen is waging a full-scale offensive on the nation’s airways. Transfer rumours are zipping back and forth faster than photons in the Large Hadron Collider, as football fans shun the beautiful weather to crowd around laptops praying that their “undiscovered hit” from last season hasn’t gone up in price too much. That’s right folks, the fantasy football season is upon us.
Say goodbye to your summer. Who has time to stock up on vitamin B when there’s player stats and data to absorb? It’s back into the routine: studying re-runs of Match of the Day in search of this season’s unrated ultra-performer and tinkering into the wee hours to divine the best value midfield pairing possible. Some managers, less hardy humans than us, will fall by the wayside as their once in-form players turn into pub league plodders.
Henry Gregg, the fantasy football champ friend interviewed in Musa Okwonga’s Will You Manage? had it right. The name of your team is all important. Not only is it the closest thing you have to a badge, it’s also the only insight your rival fantasy managers in the public leagues will have of your psyche and personality, and it’s in public leagues, open-to-all, that the most intriguing fantasy football battles will take place.
“I hate you Jim’s Jalopies 89!” you will shout. “Curse you and your captain’s hat trick Kyle United!” comes your anguished cry. Against complete and utter strangers, the tensest sporting battles of your year will take place. You’ll grow to know, hate or even fear imaginary squads and their titles, which must be less than twenty characters. Whether you loath, sympathise or applaud the fortunes of your enemy can come down entirely to how good their team name is, because when it comes down to it nobody can begrudge victory to clubs built on exceptional word play and imaginative puns.
This year, players of the official Premier League fantasy football competition, can even take things one step further, with a kit editor as simple as it is obsessive. I’ve opted for a simple two-tone green striped jersey, with white shorts and green socks with a white trim: simple, but effective. It took a frankly embarrassing amount of time for me to perfect, but that’s all part of being a modern, hard-working football manager, right?
So, what’s in a name? There are several basic types of moniker you need to watch out for.
The Guess Who I Support
This breed of team name is most often found in forum leagues featuring supporters of a certain team. Semi-cryptically, these aliases shout from the rooftops about the team preference of their virtual but uncreative gaffer. It beats playing in a league of 20 Arsenal or Chelsea’s I guess (see below).
Examples: “Mancunian Spurs FC”, “AFC Gunnerzz”, “Super Mario City”
The Oil Baron
As with Sheikh Mansour, Roman Abramovich, or the paltry poultry barons of Blackburn Rovers, users of this particular team name genre like to exert a certain amount of ownership over their team. It’s as if the great big column titled ‘Manager’ and featuring your full name wasn’t enough, with these users branding their team like a birth certificate. Such efforts range from the subtle to the blindingly obvious, with a little bit of inspired punnery making all the difference.
Examples: “phils flyers”, “Hoddersfield Town”, “Casey’s Wonder Lads”
Read the full piece over on The False Nine.