tsf.tech fantasy league update 22 March 2024

Greetings all

A quite week with the FA Cup reducing us to just four league games, so points scoring was unusually low. Week 29 saw Paul B burn up the league with 25 points (or for those of you who prefer a more European description vingt-cinq, fünf­und­zwanzig, veinticinco, dvadeset pet, douăzeci şi cinci, dau ddeg pump) as he continues his good run, leaving a gang of three on 24 points – Aleksa, Hayley, and Niall.

For the month of March to date, then Mr Wright has accumulated more points than anyone (180), with Jelica second (172) and Rhys (171) third. This leaves Nick still sitting top with just ten games to go on 1,779 points, with Michael second (1,773), Aleksa in third (1,721). So, it’s close!

Why would Jürgen Klopp leave Liverpool?  So why has Jürgey packed it in? I know he has said he is exhausted, wants a rest, wants a break. But don’t we all? His decision to leave was so sudden, something must have tipped him over the edge. The clever-clogs back-page journalists have taken him at his word and failed to suggest any other reasons, even fake reasons. Here are a couple of my theories.

1. Ulla his wife is fed up with the attention and noise of Liverpool and is desperate to get back to the magic of Mainz or the delights of Dortmund, in order to get down to some undisturbed writing. She is a children’s author.

2. The gegenpressing style that he has developed, with all that pounding up and down the touchline, has taken a toll. It involves so much energy and enthusiasm, shouting and swearing. His body can’t stand it anymore, and his doctor may have told him as much.

3. He has had a fab offer from Bayern, the German National team or Barcelona have tapped him up – but keep it to yourselves for the moment…

4. Goethe University has accepted his application to study something nice and gentle, like art history or the Beatles’ Hamburg years.

5. A referee he traumatised is now threatening to sue him from the up close and personal anting. Shiny white teeth and lasered eyes don’t hide the fact he can be a maniac at times where his passion overloads.

6. Too many games. At 56 the constant grind is getting to him and mein Gott, the travelling, the planes and coaches. There are so many games, at stupid times, stupid places, not to mention VAR.

But privately, in his head, it’s all just for a one-year sabbatical, to have a lie down. He can’t give up football, after all these decades and enormous success, winning everything at Dortmund and Liverpool. He knows the smell of the embrocation balm, the banter of the dressing room, the cheers of the fans, the boos of the away crowd, will draw him back. He will miss it so much. As we will miss him.

More Jürgey Klopp’s bizarre post-match meltdown in the aftermath of Liverpool’s FA Cup exit at Old Trafford is worth another look. Losing in stoppage time of extra time having led twice, to blow the fairytale ending of a quadruple in his final season of a legendary stint as manager would wind most people up. If the above looks awkward written down, just wait until you see the video, folks: Klopp

After a couple of perfectly respectable and sensible questions by a Danish reporter, the tone and personal nature of Klopp’s answers are, at best, unsavoury. Klopp has always been a vibesman. Nobody does it quite like the German, the teeth grinding, the chest-thumping, the fist-pumping, the hamstring-twanging.

He is in synergy with the Kop, and the legions of away fans that continued to sing his name twenty minutes after the final whistle on Sunday, Klopp has always been in synergy with the city of Liverpool, but being a sore loser doesn’t fit neatly into the cosy Klopp farewell narrative. Other than the personal insults and questioning of a reporter’s integrity, he also managed to speak a lot of gibberish. United were by far the better side in extra time and deserved to win. Their starting XI on Sunday had more academy graduates than Liverpool’s.

Forest have been deducted four points, plunging them into the relegation zone, after being found to have broken the PSR regulations. An independent commission found Forest’s losses to 2022-23 breached the threshold of £61m by £34.5m. Forest will appeal, with any decision needing to be finalised by 24 May, five days after the end of the season.

Everton’s initial ten-point deduction for breaching PSR rules was reduced to six on appeal, and their second case is expected to be heard next week. With Forest now one point adrift of Luton Town and the resurgent Burnley winning every game between now and the end of the season, the battle to avoid the drop could be settled off the pitch. Luton fans could invade the pitch at their last game, celebrate staying up, and five days later get told ‘Sorry, you’re relegated’. It damages the competition. It’s like waiting for VAR.

Everton were ultimately docked three more points on top of the minimum three-point deduction for a £19.5m breach. Forest’s breach was 77% larger. So Everton overspend £19.5m and get a 10-point deduction reduced to six points after appeal. Nottingham Forest overspend £34.5m and get a four-point deduction before an appeal? Something doesn’t quite add up there.

Putting all the furore over points deduction to one side, and whether it’s fair, why not look at what got them in this mess in the first place? The mentality that has crept into Premier League football is one of ‘win at all costs’, with the ingordigiousness of owners very much in evidence. There’s so much money involved in football these days that everyone appears to be blinded by it, treating it as a game of Monopoly, to the detriment of the sport itself.

Football should be a form of escapist entertainment where, for two hours a week, you can forget about the constraints of everyday life and work. But thanks to PSR and VAR we are obsessing over spreadsheets, legal arguments and rules. It’s sucking all the joy out of the game. The Premier League is losing its way. I love the Championship…

Non-League Day is this Saturday The international break is a time for reflection, contemplation, and relaxation. It is the chance to mentally steel yourself for the ‘business end of the season’ for the Fantasy League run in. Especially when it is an international break predominantly made up of meaningless friendlies it is a time to let those meaningless results wash over you: embrace them, arms raised, eyes closed like a liberated Jude Bellingham in front of an away end.

Because the international break is rarely about the actual football. And that’s OK. It’s time to diversify interests, an opportunity to finally get those DIY jobs sorted, the lawn re-seeded Saturday morning or Sunday. Why would you go to the England v Brazil friendly at Wembley on Saturday when you can leave the house and spend £10 on a Non-League game Saturday afternoon? Just in case international friendlies and trips to B&Q don’t do it for you over this weekend, then a reminder that Saturday is Non-League day.

Non-League Day was set up by James Doe in 2010 as a social media experiment, after being inspired by a pre-season trip to Devon to watch QPR play Tavistock. It has now grown to become an annual part of the football calendar. Always scheduled to coincide with an international break, it provides a platform for clubs to promote the importance of affordable volunteer-led community football while giving fans across the country the chance to show support for their local non-league side.

Many non-league clubs are almost exclusively volunteer run, with money taken at the turnstiles funding youth set-ups, projects and facilities which are of benefit to the whole community. The level of skill on offer at non-league grounds might not be the same as that at the Etihad, but there are other sides to the experience, from which the smaller club will always win hands down.

The vast majority of games still kick off at 3pm, ticket prices are realistic, you can often stand (and drink!) anywhere in the ground and will always be guaranteed a warm welcome by people who run their clubs for a love of the game. Whether you’re a Premier League or Championship fan without a game, a League One or League Two supporter who can’t make an away trip, or just someone who is curious about what their local club has to offer, there is sure to be something to interest everyone.

Use this post code finder for your nearest game  https://nonleagueday.co.uk/map/

I’m off to Nantwich Town v Mossley, a Northern Premier League fixture before England’s goalless draw with Brazil on Saturday evening…

See you next week.

Ron Manager

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