Meet @fpl_fitballer – Our Newcastle Correspondent

15/07/2018 Planet FPL

What is your Twitter handle?


Who do you support?

Newcastle United

Why do you support them?

Wrong place, wrong time! It was the summer of the 93-94 season, UB40 was number one and I couldn’t help falling in love with the football Kevin Keegan had his promoted Newcastle team playing. I took a fortuitous weekend family trip to Newcastle that season and as soon as I heard the roar from St. James’ Park from the shopping centre car park, I was done for.

How often do you get to attend matches?

I’m not a Toon army regular. It varies season-to-season, depending on whether I am boycotting the Mike Ashley agenda that season or not. I also have no family ties to Newcastle and all my Newcastle affiliated mates, like me, live in London.

Who is your favourite ever player?

I would be lying if I said anyone other than Alan Shearer. A record-breaking local lad that leads the line, captains your country, and is in the conversation for best player on the planet happens once in your lifetime if you are lucky.

What win in your lifetime means the most to you?

We’ve won nowt so having not reached those heights, I have particular wins in different Newcastle eras to fall back on.

In the Keegan-Hall days, it’s the 1996 5-0 win over Manchester United. Never has a footballing philosophy been delivered to such perfection with such beautiful disregard for the calibre of the opposition.

The Sir Bobby Robson-Shepherd Champions League years was the proudest I’ve been of my Club. We played with passion, commitment and class that was levels above our ability. In 2003, we became the first team in the history of the Champions League to lose our first three group games and qualify for the next stage. We did it with 2-3 injury time win against Feyenoord.

The Mike Ashley era has been one of depression and defiance. Nothing sums that up more than the 5-1 win against Spurs in 2016. The team was already relegated for the second time under Ashley and many thought it would be Rafa’s last game in charge of our Club. The result was irrelevant but the reaction of the crowd that day convinced Rafa to stay and it’s why he’s still here.

Which goal meant the most?

Alan Shearer’s penalty against Sunderland at the Stadium of Shite in 2006. It was redemption for a missed penalty a few years earlier. We won 4-1 and it turned out to be Big Al’s final game for Newcastle United.

Which team would you most like to beat this season?

We don’t have anything remotely close to a derby match this season so I’ll say Liverpool at Anfield. I will never forget the 4-3 defeats and it will also mean I win a tenner off my Dad for beating his team.

Are you happy with your manager?

It’s hard to describe in words what having Rafa Benitez as manager of Newcastle United means to our fanbase. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Rafa has stopped a lot of fans giving up on our Club.

Are you happy with your Board/Chairman?

I’m happy that I have this new platform to talk about how unhappy I am with it. With the changes to the transfer window deadline this season (slamming shut before the first game) I will save the vitriol for my GW1 preview piece.

Where do you realistically think your club will finish this season?

Too early to say. Anything from 8th to 18th is possible. It completely depends on whether Rafa stays or not. Which will completely depend on how much money he gets and who is in charge of closing deals.

What opposition player do you secretly admire?

Willian. I think he would easily be the best player at any Club outside the top six.

I also got the opportunity to watch Mousa Dembele play a few times last season. Fabulous footballer with a unique skillset.

Is there a youngster at the club who could become a regular in the side this season?

Unfortunately, no. Adam Armstrong has been talked about for years but it looks like he might not be physically up to playing in the Premier League. I’ll be scouting our U23 games more closely this season to see if any of our recent international youth signings shine through. In FPL terms, I don’t expect the squad to look much different to last season in terms of youth prospects.

Who do you think will be your club’s top FPL points scorer this season?

I’m hoping he hasn’t been signed yet! Ayoze Perez’s end of season form pushed him above the more consistent Lascelles and Ritchie for top points scorer. With the squad as it currently stands, I would probably give it to Dubravka in goal.

Can you tell us about your FPL history?

According to I’m pretty good at Fantasy football. My all-time rank is 1,154 and I had my best finish last season, just outside the top 2k. I’ve been playing 10 years and only finished outside the top 100,000 once, by a couple of hundred places and a few dozen transfer hits.

What would be a successful FPL finish for you this season?

Inside the top 1,000 is my target this year.

What formation do you generally favour for FPL?

I like the flexibility of a rotating 4th defender, 5th mid and 3rd striker. Despite moaning about the lack of third strikers all last season, I ended up playing 3-4-3 in 50% of the gameweeks.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned playing FPL?

I played FPL with a completely different mindset last season and it seemed to pay off for me, focusing on (Overall Rank) OR and just letting my mini league battles play out naturally. To stop myself getting bored, I found a Twitter community I mostly find amusing and really pretty addicted to FPL podcasts. I don’t think there’s one out there I haven’t subscribed to.


When did you use your chips last season and was it successful?

I played my Free Hit in GW10 and it was a fucking disaster. Went all in on Arsenal v Swansea and suffered for it. My FH team scored less points than my original team, mostly to avoid transferring out Coutinho.

My Wildcards went during the first and last international breaks of the season. I don’t think either were essential or worked out particularly well. It’s something I’m considering changing approaches for this year.

I saved my Triple Captain for GW38. I remember punting this idea on the Planet FPL pod pretty early doors and ended up sticking to it. I jumped about 4,000 places to finish 2,018th. Having talked about putting it on Salah for months, I gave it to Kane who got me 36 points.

Anything else we should know about you?

I work for a sports marketing agency and have spent the last 9 months working at Tottenham Hotspur on their new website among other projects. It’s been fascinating to see the stadium take shape a little bit more every day and chatting with colleagues about whether to captain Harry Kane every week.