Like millions of other people, I've been playing in a Fantasy Football league this year. Although I do play in a league with some friends in the Telegraph's game, the main focus of my attention, as usual, was the office "friends and enemies" league we have on FantasyLeague.com. It's a squad game, and you have to perm your 16 players in such a way as to maximise your points scoring opportunities. It's great fun.
After a terrible start, I had been behind the pace for most of the season, but as we came into the final round of fixtures, I was only a few points off the pace and in with a real shout. The last set of games in the Premier League, of course, are all played at the same time, so every manager had to choose what they thought was their strongest side and cross their fingers that they players they had been forced to leave out didn't play a blinder. I had some transfers left, so I was able to replace some of my benched players with the cheapest goalkeepers and could beef up my defence with the addition of Petr Cech and Paulo Ferreira. My hardest decision was who to play in my midfield. I felt that Bentley, Ronaldo and Ashley Young were all shoe-ins, but the final place was a toss up between Jimmy Bullard, whose game against Portsmouth meant everything to Fulham, and Stewart Downing, who would be playing in a nothing game against Manchester City.
Do I need to mention what happened next?
My side did well.... but my decision to play Jimmy "2 points" Bullard instead of Stewart "8 points" Downing cost me dear, and Bolton's late equaliser cost me a further 6 points.
In the final analysis, I lost by a single point.
To be fair, the winner had left Downing out of his side too, and when Bolton's goal cost him another 3 points, he thought that he'd blown it too. Little did he realise that Matty Taylor's goal had actually won him the title.
Incidentally, my mate who was second in the whole Telegraph Fantasy League competition with two weeks to go and £50,000 to play for.... he's now 18 points adrift with only the cup final to go. So close.... although his consolation prize is likely to be a couple of grand. I get a silver medal mousemat.