Last season, before the wonders of the FPL Draft existed, I ran a draft league for my work colleagues.
And I destroyed them.
In our ten team league I could not put a foot wrong. I was fifth to pick and I got Aguero, I took an unfancied Eden Hazard in the fifth round, I even picked up a little known midfielder called Etienne Capoue with the final pick and he started the season red hot.
I won three of the first four weeks, sat a top the table for the entire season and even completed a league and cup double as well. It was glorious.
This season has been very different.
First off I drafted badly. I was third to pick and I chose Gabriel Jesus. That was a mistake, and it wasn’t the only one.
I brought in an injured defensive pairing of Leighton Baines and Laurent Koscielny. I took risks in midfield with the likes of Alex Iwobi and Tom Davies. Thankfully I did bring in his Tottenham namesake Ben Davies in defence and with David De Gea in goal these are the only picks I’m still happy with.
Looking back now, I can’t quite comprehend what I was trying to do. I don’t believe the previous season’s success had gone to my head. Maybe the pressure of the ticking clock made me rush my choices, next year I’ll have it planned out much more thoroughly.
However despite the squad I ended up with I managed to produce a decent start to the season and regular transfers in and out were allowing me to compete, eventually rising to second in the league and just 11 points off the leader.
But that was as good as it got, just one weekly victory, a quarter final exit in the knockout Naming Rights Trophy and not a lot to shout about.
What I’d found was that with a 12 team league the pool of available players is very shallow. With the best 180 players already signed up, there’s not a lot out there for people to bring in, so if you release a player who’s having even a slightly above average season, they’re gonna get snaffled up quickly.
As oppose to the classic FPL releasing a decent player for one week is a big risk as you most likely won’t get them back. I made some good early season signings such as Chris Smalling and Richarlison, but I only kept them for a few weeks and then I let them go again much to my opponents delight.
Then the risks I took on players like Bakayoko and Jordon Ibe didn’t pay off and before long I was cut adrift into mid-table obscurity.
Now my hand is forced to make yet more risky moves for any new blood in the hopes of clawing some ground back. Theo Walcott? Yes please. Viril van Dijk? Well why not. I may even give a spot to Adrien Silva as I pursue attempt to salvage a top half finish.
The FFA Cup, our second, more prestigious cup competition kicks off this weekend with a group stage followed by a straight knockout section, so perhaps there is still a chance for some glory before the summer rolls round.
But if i’m honest my sights are already set on the 2018 draft and making sure I don’t make the same mistakes again.