Fantasy football has moved on a lot since my mate Andy and I were invited to join a league by the landlord of our local about 15 years ago. In those days, a group of us used to gather in the upstairs meeting room at about 7:30pm a week or so before the season started. We werenâ€™t allowed out until weâ€™d finished the auction, which normally didnâ€™t happen until after closing time and also lead to some very debatable decisions. Letâ€™s put it this way, after a few pints Andy Sinton seemed a decent prospect to us:Â in 1995/96Â our team was called â€˜Trawlers, Seagulls and Sardinesâ€™ after the Eric Cantona quote.
Sadly the days of being shut in a pub with a handful of photocopied sheets of A4 (covered in handwritten notes like â€˜goalscoring defender!â€™ but never anything useful like â€˜donâ€™t buy Sinton if youâ€™ve had too much to drinkâ€™) are long gone â€“ and it couldnâ€™t be any easier to join a fantasy football league these days and itâ€™s also a lot easier to play. For example, we had to phone the pub before the Saturday lunchtime kickoffs to make any team changes because not everyone had an e-mail address!
The Sun has been running a ï»¿Fantasy Premier LeagueÂ ï»¿competition for a while now but for the forthcoming season thereâ€™s a free to playÂ option as well â€“ so thereâ€™s every reason to get involved in 2011/12. Apart from being another way of enjoying the football season, itâ€™s also possible to keep an eye on both the England squad and some of the fringe players to see how the team could change before Euro 2012 â€“ and of course thereâ€™s always the opportunity to brag to about how youâ€™re a better manager than your mates and Andres Villas-Boasâ€¦or possibly Andy Sinton, who is now manager of AFC Telford United in the Conference!