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When fantasy turns into a nightmare

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Dan Walker | 16:28 UK time, Wednesday, 18 August 2010

I don't think I am exaggerating when I say that Saturday's Football Focus was saved by the perfect bacon sandwich. It arrived at precisely 0945 BST on the morning of the show.

Up until that point, the day hadn't been a winner. I stayed up far too late the night before watching the second round of golf's USPGA and my two little daughters decided to rise like salmons at 0602 BST the following morning. When I finally left for work at 0730 BST in the rain, I dropped my TV shirt in a vast puddle next to the car.

After arriving at TV Centre, I did a little live interview with presenter Jo Good on 6 Music and then headed to the BBC News studio for an appearance on BBC One's Breakfast programme. Sadly, we were understandably bumped because Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore turned up to talk about the start of the 2010/11 season.

I then went to watch all the various pieces that were going to be screened on Football Focus with the editor and director before heading to the production office, where we "do our stuff" before the show. The bacon sandwich came into the room via the fair hand of production co-ordinator Rachel Paterson.

Not only is Rachel key to the programme timings and owner of one the great nicknames of our time - Pato Banton - she also understands the complexity of the perfect bacon "sanger". I'm not picky about how the sandwich turns up but if it comes exactly how I'd make it myself, it is hard not to avoid a little fist pump.

And that's just what happened on Saturday.

Anyway, here are my four steps to making the perfect bacon sandwich:

1. Baguette or, at a push, two slices of white bread (DISCLAIMER if the baguette is crunchy or floury, send it back immediately);
2. Butter;
3. Thick but not too crispy bacon;
4. Just enough ketchup so that when you squeeze the bread it pops out the sides but doesn't drip.

Follow those easy pointers and you are on your way to a culinary masterpiece.

With my spirits lifted, I was back on track for the first Football Focus show to be filmed in the studio this season. There was a miniature panic halfway through the programme when Alan Shearer was nowhere to be seen and we were about to present him with a 40th birthday cake. The crisis was averted when Shearer suddenly appeared, blowing out the candles on the cake, which was presented to him by Alan Hansen.

By the way, if you missed Saturday's show, you can see the online version below.

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Lots of people have been asking about the opening to the programme, which featured some dudes in football shirts running around a forest. Well, it was the brainchild of Andy Fraser, who organised a combination of actors and BBC employees to meet in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, although it did not go off exactly as planned.

Despite Fraser warning everyone all to "stay on the path", assistant producer Stu Hutchison (in the Stoke shirt) decided on an elaborate overtaking manoeuvre that ended in a tremendous face-plant. It has now been entered into the 'Top 10 Decks of All Time' between Devon Loch and Mary Decker (see below).

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

The rest of Saturday was spent watching my Premier League Fantasy Football team crumble before my very eyes. I have made all the textbook errors over the years... picking injured players, not changing the team, chasing goalscorers the week after they bag hat-tricks etc etc. But I was determined it would be different this season.

I sat down last Thursday and carefully picked a majestic side. Didier Drogba was skipper, Florent Malouda was in there, too, as was Marlon Harewood, included as a cheap striker. Joe Hart was in goal and the midfield boasted James Milner and Frank Lampard.

Then I did what you should never do when you come out of an exam at school - I talked to other people! They picked holes in my team and told me about world-beaters who had been banging them in for fun in pre-season. So out went Drogba, Malouda, Harewood, Milner and Lampard and in came Nicolas Anelka, Tim Cahill, Mauro Boselli and Cesc Fabregas. I needed to free up a little cash, so Hart got the boot for Robert Green!

I don't support a Premier League team so my choice of players for my fantasy side colours the way I view the top division. For example, I found myself celebrating a meaningless late headed goal from Ryan Shawcross last season, while Charles N'Zogbia gave me an unhealthy interest in Wigan for a few weeks.

There was a twitter-based discussion on the merits of Fantasy Football this week, with one man highlighting the feeling of being torn when one of your chosen strikers takes a penalty against your goalkeeper. The dream scenario is an initial save from the keeper with the rebound then being tucked away by your lad... points a plenty!

If you've got any Fantasy Football secrets you want to share, it would be great to hear them. I should point out that I have never finished anywhere other than mid-table in our leagues at work. And if you have any suggestions for Focus, let's have them, too.

You can follow the progress of this week's show on twitter at


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    How did Anelka get in!? Drogba even said he was as fit as he's ever been and has never not 'banged them in'. I can understand Lampard and Milner getting the chop, Milner wont play more than 15-20 games this season and will struggle, whilst Lampard was supposed to be injured. Also, you must be blind to stats if you thought Green was even a good 'cheap option'. Last season he led the league in errors leading to goals and it wasn't too high a gamble to assume Hart would start for City. Nightmare!

    Tips? Hart in goal. Drogba up front. Look for someone like Harewood or a cheap striker up front with him, possibly even adopt a 4-3-3 if you can. Also look for those anomalies that are midfielders in real life but apparently defenders on fantasy football. Phil Neville was one such anomaly last year.

  • Comment number 3.

    secrets?? never go on pre-season and..... dont pick robert green!!! under any circumstances.... not even to "free up some cash"

  • Comment number 4.

    I did exactly the same, took malouda and drogba out thirty minutes before deadline and put in gerrard and keane! What were we thinking? I think from now on once a decision is made just do it and stick with it, at least that way theres no regrets!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm giving up after one week of fantasy footie this season as I'm sure I'm jinxing my real team by selecting their players in my fantasy side - knew it wasn't a good idea! :( I think everyone selects Lampard as he scores nearly double the points of everyone else - weird that!..right I'm off for a bacon butty now the image has been subliminally implanted in my brain.

    Patrick Berger (food inspired)

  • Comment number 6.

    I feel it appropriatly sums up how poorly my squad did that my biggest achievement was having dropped lampard to spend the money elsewhere that he "Only" scored 1 goal as a midfielder.

  • Comment number 7.

    Oh my!! Im going to spend the next week replacing my 6 players that did not play, as for those who did play... Isn't Arshavin supposed to always score at Anfield :(

  • Comment number 8.

    Well it may seem obvious but the first thing to do is make sure the players you pick play all or most of their games, next you shouldn't pick bad tempered players and players that are prone to injury.

    Its too early to say who is going to do well this season, but forwards like drogba, rooney, tevez and maybe bent are regular goalscorers and will do well, you could also consider picking torres or van persie.

    In midfield it will be useful to have one player out fabregas lampard and gerrard as they are always scoring and providing assists and usually do well.

    In defence pick a couple of players that are part of a good defence such as Manchester united, chelsea and villa, otherwise use your defence to free up money as the defence don't always get the most points.

    For a goalkeeper it is best to pick someone from a good defence rather than one with ability, while joe hart is good, city aren't defensively sound, so peter cech and friedl will be good picks.

    And also you should look hard for bargains they are always there...

    Good luck!

  • Comment number 9.

    Dan, key to fantasy football, Full Backs! They get the same points as central defenders defensively(?) but also more likely to get assist and goals. So a back four all of full backs.

    And as English arrogance pointed out, annomalies such as Gareth Bale (listed as a defender but is gonna play left wing for tottenham!) are also a bonus!

  • Comment number 10.

    You can do worse than look at players who did well the previous season, players who could be due to move from a lesser team to a bigger team, and who are likely to also play. Then think about anyone coming off the back of injuries from the World Cup/Off-season. Also look at the fixtures for the first week or two and identify theoretical walk-overs for the big teams. I like to have good defenders who can earn you valuable points on quiet weeks when the goals and assists dry up.

    Its also worth thinking about midfield/attack link-up's such as one I used three seasons back or so - Cahill and Yakubu for Everton. Lots of assists and goals going through those two players at the time.

    Also, with the Premier League game, its one of those where you can see what your Super League compatriots are doing, and copy the good managers!

    Finally, never pick the same team as Alan Hansen... he always does badly in the Fantasy Football game he fronts!

    Fats Domino

  • Comment number 11.

    Oh and Shaun Goater (also food inspired but carribbean!)

  • Comment number 12.

    I forgot to pick Lampard, a stupid error. This guy scores points for fun - doesn't miss a game, scores lots of goals, takes the penalties - he has to be your captain.

  • Comment number 13.

    I would always spend a disproportionate amount of money on the midefield. Every season the top midfielders (likely names) have scored way above strikers and so concentrate on them. They naturally get more points when they score and assist so if you have someon like Lampard guaranteed to knock in 20 goals then you have to pick them. Would also adopt a 5 person midfield and pick a disproportionate amount of wingers in your team - as they are more likely to get assists. Also think about having lots of corner, free kick takers - who are often wingers any way and (if you can figure them out) penalty takers in your team. Good luck and don't let Lawro pick on you too much!

  • Comment number 14.

    Dear oh dear, when will people learn? Ketchup is only fit for burgers and hotdogs. A bacon sarnie needs brown sauce. You also forgot the freshly-ground black pepper.

  • Comment number 15.

    Perfect bacon butty:

    Not too thick but nice and crispy bacon.

    Proper white bread - the stuff you cut yourself - very thick.

    Loads of proper butter.

    Lashings of brown sauce, but no dribbles.

    Last but not least - a nice hot cup of tea.



  • Comment number 16.

    I actually run my own Fantasy Football League - formulate the rules, scoring methods, the lot, and I still can't pick a team to win it so I'm afraid I can offer no help!!!

  • Comment number 17.

    Comrades! There are some very handy suggestions here and it's great to see that many people make the same mistakes as me.

    I'm definitely going with the full backs option Andy O'Connor (9), Rob Green went on Monday and Drogba is back in... all costly but crucial.

    Keep the comments coming and maybe we shall attempt to assemble the perfect fantasy 11!

    See you soon.

    Bodo Ilgner

  • Comment number 18.

    Back to the bacon butty - I would only consider tomato ketchup if I was being decadent and adding a nice fried egg - plus the black pepper for the egg!


    Fantasy football - it's a lottery!

  • Comment number 19.

    More advice... try to avoid the temptation to make transfers early in the week. Always best to wait till Friday/Saturday morning (difficult with your job obviously!) because you can try to avoid picking anyone who's picked up an injury, or who is going to be dropped.

    The other thing that hasn't been mentioned I don't think is trying to spot one or two of those bargains that you always get who has a low value but gets loads of points. With the Premier League game obviously trying to spot them early is key as the more people who bring in that player, the greater his value will increase.

    Andreas Kopke

  • Comment number 20.

    I feel the pain of the Fantasy team, I'm languishing 12th out of 13th in the pub mini-league. Not good.

    The footage of your man falling over is the second funniest thing I've seen on the BBC this week (step forward Tomasz Shafeneker), total commitment, until trying to save at the last moment (although that could apply to both).

    Great tips on the Bacon, although I always like to slip a bit of sausage (or Black pudding if I'm feeling flush) in there. I alternate between brown and ketchup, can't pick a favourite there...

    Great blog again, I'm off to warm up the grill.

    Dave Beasant

  • Comment number 21.

    As already mentioned, full backs for your defenders usually get more assists.

    There's the choice of the holy trinity of Lamps, Gerrard and fabregas. You must have one of those.

    Drogba or rooney too is a must.

    The key though is to having a different team to others. You can't beat people by having the same team.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.


    You have to be joking!!! Sense of humour by-pass?

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    Good to hear Dan McWalker (seen as we are now adding letter to our names!!)

  • Comment number 26.

    Different fantasy football games have different points systems, you need to understand them and combine with insider Opta stats knowledge from the 2009/2010 season to work out a sensible squad. Throw in a couple of EPL newbies who might break into that squad and off you go! It seems that Lampard/Fabregas are 'nailed on' winners in just about every fantasy game for midfielders as are Drogs/Rooney for forwards. Defensively you need to pick some cheap n cheerfuls and perhaps one solid performer (Dunne normally turns up with the goods). Goalkeeping is farcical with the likes of Gomes turning up in the top half usually - clearly nobody knows how to rate goalkeepers anymore, including Capello!

    Maicon (half-Cockney rhyming slang for bacon ... and he has got a good pair of bacon and eggs himself apparently...!)

  • Comment number 27.

    Starting my first full fantasy football season, unfortunately I got hoodwinked by the strike partnership of Bent and Jones for Sunderland last season and presumed Jones's move to Stoke would lead to lots of goals. So, as naive and deluded as myself, I put him up front, with Hernandez, AND CAPTAIN. Looking brilliant up until thirteen minutes in... Oh well better look next season.

  • Comment number 28.

    Dan, good blog - this is so true!
    I've just started my second ever season of fantasy football - only to realise I'd made two fatal errors come Saturday afternoon. I was stupidly relying on Mancini's loyalty and kept Given in goal (He'd done great for me last season and I was hoping Mancini remembered that too!). And I didn't check my injuries during the last week before the start of the season so had left Bosingwa in - he's out til September...OUCH!!!
    My tips (I've learned the hard way!) are always go 4-3-3 because strikers score goals and goals equal lots of points. And go with defenders from the top four teams - they don't have to be the best as long as they get first team football as they are guaranteed to keep more clean sheets.
    By the way - read your DayOne booklet a while back. It was a big challenge. Thanks!

  • Comment number 29.

    Dan I feel your pain, my team was set up in similar fashion with a nice even distribution of top 4 players across the team.

    One pub based discussion later and I was convinced the way forward was to adopt the "whoever is playing Blackpool" approach, 2 Wigan defenders later I am bottom of all my leagues!

    Am hoping I'll be like Spurs and start slowly and the rest will Burnley and fade badly!

    Andoni Zubizarreta

  • Comment number 30.

    PS If, as I suspect, your playing on the PRemier League website what chances of a Dan Walker Blog Followers Mini League, should add a bit of spice and banter to your blogs for the rest of the season!

    Sieb Dykstra

  • Comment number 31.

    My errors included deciding 'No, I won't choose Joe Hart, he's the goalkeeper I would pick but he won't play'. Then he played a blinder. :(
    I also decided it would be a great idea to pick players with Swindon connections, thus why Simon Cox was in my team, and played the last 15 mins against Chelsea, and why Danny Ward was on my bench, and he didn't even make the Bolton squad.
    Other than that my decisions were all ok, other than a few players who didn't play (Boateng, Fabregas). I decided to make the majority of my team English too (around 8 out of 11 are English) because I was among those who moaned about English players not playing for their teams :P

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    Oh dear. Here goes. My head ever so slowly creeping up above the parapet. Fantasy football is for people with too much time on their hands. I tried it once circa 1992, I was still living with my parents.

    Kenny Hibbert

  • Comment number 34.

    #33 with such a busy sounding lifestyle I hope I speak for everyone else in saying how honoured we are that you found time to leave a brief note on this blog.

    Kenny Jackett (Potato)

  • Comment number 35.

    Bang! I knew it. Direct hit. Now, how much for a Shay Given…

    Kenny Swain

  • Comment number 36.

    Totally agree with full backs and wingers which is what my team now consist of.

    Just don't ever change your team on a Saturday afternoon as I did by taking out Milner about 4 split seconds before he scored. Now i can't him back without paying :( Big problemo

    Valerio Fiori

  • Comment number 37.

    Dan, dan, dan

    Some schoolboy errors there.

    If only you'd had a read of Goops! fantasy footie tips


  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    You've got to get Ireland in your team before his price rockets at villa!

  • Comment number 40.

    What is the fascination with Stephen Ireland? A few good games a couple of seasons ago and his reputation appears to be set at sky high forever. He is capable of playing absolutely dismally on a very regular basis and coaches and even some fans not seeming to notice. Good job Villa don't have any other players like that. (I never said the word Heskey).

    Stanislav Bohush

  • Comment number 41.

    After just one lot of games I ended up bottom of our mini-league, 11 points adrift!! I had a similar experience to you, in that I kept over-analysing and changing the team, and ended up with a selection that was not that great, To cap it all, I made a bizarre choice for captain, Ivanovic - he didn't even start! He came on after an hour and so accummulated a lovely one-point for me, doubled to two. Arrggh!!
    Unlike you, my Charles N'Zogbia fetish continued into this season, and he didn't make the squad, having flounced out of the club on the Friday night apparently.
    It feels like my season's over already, and maybe that's no bad thing, I can spend my time writing a few more of these:

  • Comment number 42.

    You got it so wrong on the Bacon Sandwich front. HP Sauce all the way, never that ghastly red stuff.

  • Comment number 43.

    Great to be reading this again, my team got a fair aul' slap at the weekend also. I think Arteta is going to have a blinder this season so you should go with him, albeit at a hasty 8.5 but it should pay off. I always go with a 4-3-3 myself and ALWAYS use Lawro as a guide! Don't know why, he gets most of them wrong... On a more important note the bacon should not be crispy, as soon as it turns pinkish it's done!!! A healthy dose of HP or Reggae Reggae and you're done!!!

  • Comment number 44.

    Good evening all. Just packing some football kit - I'm off to the midlands tomorrow to take some free kicks. All we be revealed on Saturday's Focus.

    The sound advice continues to flow. I was reminded today that 2 seasons ago I was in the Telegraph league and my starting 11 finished in the top 50 in the country. Sadly my continual tinkering meant my actual team had just over half the points of the team i started with!!!!

    I like the idea of a blog league (ddsmart #30) but I am slightly worried that if we go on about it all season those not in it will develop deep rage. The oscar for superb playing of the kill joy goes to Custodian (#33) and huge apologies to Andy Connor (#25) for turning you into a Irishman! No idea where the O'Connor came from. Shambles.

    See you tomorrow

    Jermaine McSporren

  • Comment number 45.

    Dan I did the same as you, saw that Drogba was doubtful and took him out and put Anelka and Boselli but I had the ingenuis idea of putting Boselli as my captain, thinking if he has a blinder I'll be a genuis, 4 points from your captain is not genuis in the slightest, luckily I was saved by a clean sheet from Blackburn and Malouda's double.

    Gutted that Nasri is now injured ruins the plans for my 1 transfer.

    Surely worse than being a real manager, I have to pick from 500 players, not just 25, Martin O'Neil should try this game, no extra transfer funds here pal.

  • Comment number 46.

    8th comment - rooney scores regularly? :P

  • Comment number 47.

    Thanks, Dan. No offence was meant. I just had a bit of a 'Lawro' moment.

    Kenny Hibbitt (not Hibbert)

  • Comment number 48.

    Amazing this witless stuff gets airtime on maybe the world's premium website.

  • Comment number 49.

    Always look at the free kick and corner takers ... Assits galore, Gareth Barry was a dream while at Villa, he took those and penalties.

  • Comment number 50.

    Okay first i totally agree with your definition of the perfect bacon sarnie, and to all you brown saucers, BOOOO!

    Second i also fall prey to the usual things on fantasy football but i tend to have a few golden players so here are my tips:

    In defense have those defenders that when getting up for a set piece actually do something, like Dunne, Vermaelen, Vidic, Cahill, R.Johnson. You may also do well with fullbacks. But be careful with defenders it's sometimes not a good idea to spend too much because even the best teams let in goals and there goes your clean sheet (NEVER PUT ARSENAL PLAYERS IN DEFENSE, i dont remember the last time arsenal kept a clean sheet)

    Midfield is a place where its ok to splash on on 1 expensive player but dont put any more in, instead fill it out with either those inbetween players like young, downing, bale (BEST SHOUT 6.5m) essien etc. My golden tip for midfield, n'zogbia, providing he patches things up with roberto, otherwise avoid him.

    As for forwards, well your best bet is to do what dan says and plonk in an expensive striker (drogba or tevez are your best bets) and then have either a 3rd striker or your first sub as a great cheap striker. Good shouts for cheap strikers - Zamora, Zigic, Harewood, klasnic, jerome.

  • Comment number 51.

    Also look for those anomalies that are midfielders in real life but apparently defenders on fantasy football
    spot on! Bale last season was mine, Scharner a couple of years earlier for Wigan.

    Also defenders who take free kicks/pen's are a massive bonus - Alex, Baines - clean sheets and golas points a plenty.

    Set piece takers in general are a must, as they are more consistently going to at least get points for assists.

    Finally, the Baguette has to still be warm out of the oven to make it perfect!! :)

  • Comment number 52.

    Brown sauce surely on bacon sarnies! That is a Shay Given!

    In terms of fantasy footy picks - I find defenders who take set pieces, free kicks and penos are shoe-ins, to take a couple of examples from yesteryear, Dennis Irwin and Ian Harte.

    Roy Race

  • Comment number 53.

    The key to this year's fantasy football is Gareth Bale, down as a cheap defender, plays as a very attcking winger, so gets all the goals and assissts but also the clean sheets! Good blog, sounds like your original team would have been top of the national league after the first weekend?!
    This year me and my 6 mates have each drafted 26 players each and two to be added at the end of each transfer window, in the style of the NFL draft. This way no two teams have the same player. It's great fun and we can trade between each other at a monthly meeting where we dish out the monthly prize!

  • Comment number 54.

    With reference to your production co-ordinators nickname, I work in a school in Birmingham where Pato Banton's son was a pupil. We had an "Industry Day" and he was invited to participate as he runs a recording studio. Unfortunately, the person in charge of signage had no idea who he was so he spent the whole day referred to as Mr Pat O'Banton.

  • Comment number 55.

    Does any one else like to sneak a cheeky grating of strong cheddar cheese on their bacon sarnie? Personally, I keep the ketchup separate and dip the sandwich in - one can never be too careful about the amount of sauce - too much and the sarnie is ruined! Bacon definately not crispy, very greasy though!
    Fantasy football, well, I'd almost given up on that one. The disillusionment set in when, on checking the leader boards for the Telegraph competition last year, I found that 70 out of the top 100 teams were owned by two or three different people who'd obviously shelled out a huge amount of cash to guarantee themselves the top prize. Shameful! If you're reading Telegraph types - limit the number of teams per person! It's a the MP expenses scandal, only with more of a direct effect on me!
    My tips would be - Get a good goalkeeper, but not necessarily the best, just one who's in a team that won't concede too many goals. Pick goal-scoring/ assisting defenders/midfielders i.e Bale who will play in midfield but is a defender. I always used to pick players like Riise as he would score and assist. There's no point picking central defenders unless they score regularly, full-backs are more likely to get the points. Get Lamps in. He scores, he assists, takes pens, gets man of the match. No matter how fat and slow we think he is, he's a point scoring machine. On that note, remember - don't just go for players who are good (I found this with Modric) they may pull the strings and be praised for their godlike magic, but might not score/ assist all too often. For a bargain, look at one of the newly promoted sides and take their midfielder/striker who takes all the free kicks, pens, corners etc; they're likely to start week in, week out and even if their team goes down, they'll be the only ones to have gained any points for them. Also, be patient - X didn't score this week, but Y bagged a you change it...Y breaks his leg and X goes onto win player of the year....BUT don't be affraid to change! Keep on the ball so that injured players don't stay in and check to see if players are in favour - don't second guess premiership they don't agree that such and such should play and so and so be rested - jump to their tune!
    Not that I'm in a position to give the best advice, but I was once in the top 100...for a week...ten years ago... but that's what I would do!
    Glad that with the new season the blog is back. Gives me something to do until I finish my cup of tea at work of a morning! Top Stuff!

  • Comment number 56.

    P.S Jose Dominguez

  • Comment number 57.

    Morning sports fans. Currently on the M40 of dreams with producer Andy Fraser - the same man responsible for the shoot in the forest with the epic deck.

    Delighted to see the first one of these this season... (#48) Troyspeer wrote: Amazing this witless stuff gets airtime on maybe the world's premium website.

    Tremendous comment. You are correct that the BBC website is a rare electronic gem but thankfully it has plenty of room for witless stuff like this. There is already a healthy bundle of hard news and comment available on this site and if everyone was selling cabbages then the market would be rather dull.

    This blog will continue to sell plums and marrows throughout the season with the occasionally special offer on kumquats.

    Thanks for the comment though... keep them coming.

    Tony Galvin

  • Comment number 58.

    My tip of the day is Charlie Adam.
    He is Cheap and he will get points as he takes free-kicks,corners and penaltys for Blackpool so he will surely get you points for assists etc.
    Jagielka as well i think will do well this season as a left back.
    What fantasy football site do you use Dan?

  • Comment number 59.

    How would Fantasy Football score Vincent Enyeama? As he proved in the Champions League qualifier versus Red Bull Salzburg, he can take a fine penalty as well as being a decent 'keeper.

    Manuel Bento

  • Comment number 60.

    Ladies and Gents, feel free to join my league. Plenty (and I mean at least a hundred players) of competition in it and proved successful last season!

    Code - 32438-11640

    Dan, you're welcome to join to (as are your other BBC counterparts :) )

    Also, has anyone got any Head-to-Head leagues I can join??

  • Comment number 61.

    my money saving tips for fantasy footy, pick 2nd defenders, i.e Evra- £7.5m but John O Shea £5.5m, £2m saved, Richard Dunne £7 but Carlos Cuellar £6.5m. these players will keep the same clean sheets an save some big doe

    also look for the teams with 2 games in a game week, its early in the season now but later on when the cup fixtures pile up theres plenty of points to be had.

    and finally, and i apologise in advance, but Reggae Reggae sauce has totally transformed the condiment world, HP and Heinz are resigned to the bargain shelves

  • Comment number 62.

    There is a 606 league on, which was started a few seasons ago back in the days of the transfer gossip thread! (how we miss it!) :(

    I dont know who is in charge of it though, but there are a couple of us trying to get the code to post on here!

  • Comment number 63.

    One of the best Fantasy Football tips is don't get cocky!!

    Last season I was hammering everyone in the league on a weekly basis. A couple of guys were hanging on to my coat tails rather impressively though.
    Then, on Week 37, i made the fatal mistake of proclaiming to all in my work league "It's in the bag, guys".
    Right on cue, the two lads hanging in there had an unbelievable week 37 and scored in the region of 120 points each. My team faltered somewhat and I ended up with 40 points that week. This put them ahead of me by a couple of points, and i started to panic. I made "panic transfers", and the derriere well and truly fell out of my team in Week 38. 4 of my players were injured in the warm up for their game, Wigan shipped 8, Utd banged in 4, and I ended up with 20 points and a 6th place finish in the work league.

    Never big yourself up until you're over the line!

    For no other reason than it's a funny name - Ian Culverhouse.

  • Comment number 64.

    Dan, you have to be really vigilant and spot which players are coming into form, and put them in before their price gets raised too much. If you are gonna transfer in a player who has just bagged a hat-trick, try doing it soon after the game rather than waiting til later in the week when his price will be higher. You run the risk of them getting injured, but FF is all about risks and gut instincts! hope you trust them a bit more from now on. Also, I've never had a bacon sandwich before...

  • Comment number 65.

    Dan, be honest, fruit and veg arent really your forte!
    In fact if you are what you eat, you're chocolate covered breakfast butty!

    And im sure I'm irish somewhere down the line.
    Hey if rusedski is english then I must be a poster boy for Aer Lingus!

    Also leave your goalkeeper be (once you change it from Rob green that is!) Pick the same goalkeeper throughout the season (injuries allowing)

  • Comment number 66.

    I prefer a 4-4-2 approach to the problem:


    Hot Bacon Dripping Fat

    Fresh Soft White Bread

    Brown Sauce

  • Comment number 67.


    Try switching your attention away from bacon and go for a fried halloumi sandwich.

    If you've never had halloumi, it has the texture of chicken breast and the saltiness of some good bacon. Only overall it is better...try it!

    In terms of FF, I always indulge but preferred the days when you could not often make changes, as this would test the true value of a good FF manager. Get it right at the start of the season!

    I'd like to see something if possible - we have Lawros predictions. We get to know if he was right or wrong and the scores compared.

    Why not have a Lawro league table. Contrast the real table to what Lawro had predicted on a results basis.

    It would be interesting to see how that panned out over a 38 game season

    Eike Immel

  • Comment number 68.

    For all those interested in joining a 606 Fantasy League.

    I have created a new league and named it 606 Fantasy League, it will start the point scoring from game week 1, so any points you have will be bought over.

    I would ideally like for 606 users and will create a forum page for it too.

    Anybody interested that has a fantasy team on please join the league using the code 53773-352271.

    I shall be leaving weekly tips in which players may be useful as well as any injury news from other websites.

    Please feel free to forward to anybody who may want to join.


  • Comment number 69.

    Hello Danny boy, good to see you back in good flow, food and all. Bacon butty as described, but have you tried with some cheese on? Cheese improves all. And try Reggae Reggae Ketchup (not original Reggae Reggae!).

    Here's some of my Fantasy Footy tips, and I finished 48th a few years back out of over 2,000,000 teams! Never got back up near there though.

    1) Subs, cheap as you can get. Make sure they all usually play 90 mins though, as they could even pop up with a cheeky clean sheet or goal. No use having a sub who when you need him, doesn't play.
    2) Cheap good defence teams. Choose a team who doesn't concede many, e.g. Liverpool. Choose their cheapest defender who starts, e.g. Skrtel. Johnson may score a couple, but defence is about clean sheets! Why pay £2m more for the same?
    3) Sub players currently starting due to injury etc. E.g. if Cech injured, pick Hilario. Cost a few less pounds, almost same chance as clean sheet.
    4) Midweek games. Sometimes, a team plays twice a week. Pack your team with these players! 180 mins per player should get you more than 90. Imagine Drogba got back to back hat tricks, and he was your captain!
    5) Players out of position. If a player is further up the field, he has more chance or scoring or getting an assist. E.g. Bale last season was down as a defender, but played left wing. Cahill midfielder, played for large chunks up front.

    Your welcome,

    Maheta Malongo

  • Comment number 70.


  • Comment number 71.

    On the premier league fantasy football, i've come had over 2000 pts every time. Couple of years over 2200.

    Most points & bonuses are for players who score & assist.

    Formation 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 minimum starting defenders! sub defenders cisting 4-4.5. But make sure they play most games. at least 1 top defender to guarantee clean sheets from good team. Rest shouls be cheap.

    Midfield is wher if you can get lamps , cesc both in plus a chep midfielder who gets assists or goals.

    Forwards need at least one of rooney or drogba plus cheaper zamora style one.

  • Comment number 72.

    Predictions game: Make it stick to it and don't listen to anyone else, no matter how silly they try to make you feel. great face plant by the way.

  • Comment number 73.

    #68, I'm in!
    #71 Spot on - I have Lamps and Cesc, with Ferguson, and newly added (what a bargain) Ireland. Diame on bench.
    Always 3 at the back with bargain basement stuff on the bench - Berra and Crainey - my whole bench is only £17.5m, but had they been in my team would have scored 13 points, which is nice to have as back-up.
    My top defender is JT - points galore for CS, and gets the odd goal too. Although I may be switching for Alex with my next free transfer, but I had 7, so why not spend it on a better points scorer if its available.
    Up front - again nail on head, Drogba, with Chamakh as back-up, and seen as Arsenal will have to play either Diaby or Song CB this weekend, I went for Harewood to get a goal again - especially at £4.5m - usually you shouldnt go with a cheap player because he scored one weekend, but I can see him repeating - its all about analysing the opponents more than the player sometimes!

  • Comment number 74.

    gareth bale is a midfielder this season
    so he will not get the same points as a defender.

  • Comment number 75.

    Well in lads, we have 18 people in the league so far.

    at #37 Goops, i'm gonna hijack your tips from the link, pretty similar to what i would have wrote but a few extra things which i think people will find useful. Hope it's ok with you. :)

    Dan Walker, the invite is open to you and your colleague's at the BBC to enter into the league, feel free to enter your team.


  • Comment number 76.

    Sorry, I use SkySports fantasy football not premier league, where Bale is still a defender.

  • Comment number 77.

    I have always used my wild card early in the season especially if my team has alot of non starters or i dont have the inform players from the lower teams in. Best to get them in before their price rockets! Dunne was my buy of the season last time just before his move to Villa.

    I would recommend not making too many transfers weekly. at most 2 but try to stick to only one so not to lose too many points.

    Try only to transfer injured players or bring in players who are consistently getting more pints.

    Players who take free kicks, pens & corners are always good bet for assists.

    Midweek games & rescheduled fixtures mean more games for those players in a week so more points. If you make your captain one of these you can take advantage.

    The opponents are important too.. keep an eye on the defenders from lower tams against the top teams... chelsea are likely to hit some of these teams for 6's & 7's.

    #73 i think we have the same tactics...

    Always puts me amongst top 3 in my leagues every year. Good luck this season.

  • Comment number 78.

    i set my team around penalty, freekick and corner takers
    they allways get you points whether assits or goals
    for you lazy patatoes eg. c.adam, drogba, bale, gerrard, rooney ect
    and always remember a few golden rules though and you should be ok:
    pick players who will make the starting lineup as often as possible
    look for a friendly list of opening fixtures
    favour attacking talent over defensive talent even in defensive positions.
    Good luck for the season to come.
    and join my league called football focus: 3414-352753
    and a question to dan
    why did you do an exam. are you 15 or something
    and a tip dont listen to students and mark lawrensen!!

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    A new presenter who brings football topics not media antics would be a good start. Last weeks focus was rubbish.

  • Comment number 82.

    #77, hopefully you've signed up so we can battle for the title!?

  • Comment number 83.

    Evening all. We have safely arrived back from that there Wolverhampton and everything appears to be in order. Karl Henry and David Jones were both very nice blokes and I managed to score one of those free kicks after some expert tutelage.

    I have also arrived back to a full bag of comments so thanks to all those who have taken the time to stick something down. Just when I thought we were having a nice little discussion about the perfect bacon sandwich and whether to go with Drogba or Anelka, Mr Tom Hill (#81) arrives swiping at the show and the bloke who presents it.

    You are of course entitled to your opinion Thomas - and I am sure some would agree - but can I ask you these 3 questions...

    1. What are media antics?
    2. What were your particular beefs about last week's show? (we all enjoy a bit of feedback, even the rage fuelled stuff)
    3. Are you a red sauce or brown sauce man?

    On this week's programme we have Paul Scholes & Chris Hughton and we'll talk Bellamy, Milner and 2018. I shall post the full run down tomorrow. We were planning to finish with media antics but that has now been scrapped.

    See you soon.

    Celestine Babayaro

  • Comment number 84.

    Getting to your blog a bit late this week. Pressures of work.
    I am a HP brown sauce fan; which is heinously expensive if you live over here in the USA.
    I had no beefs about last weeks show, just last weeks blog- you responded to my beefs. I hope your face is healing.
    As to media antics just check some of Matt Frei's so called reporting for the Beeb. I know it is not sports media antics but you did not specify. Matt Frei is not a credit to the BEeb or to the British peoples.
    99% of his articles are prejudiced opinion, the other 1% is prejudiced reporting. That is my beef for this week.

    As to the best bacon butty, I recommend that you do not come to the USA for one. Their bacon is pretty grim. But I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING COSMOPOLITAN VARIATION:
    Whole grain sub roll 7 inches, lets say;
    Buttered with full salt butter;
    with moderately fried, almost rarely fried, Italian pancetta;
    all rounded off with a thinly sliced pickled onion in between the pancetta layerrs.
    HP sauce is an option. This is best consumed with a good coffee.
    I'd be glad to prepare one for you someday if you ever want to do a FF interview on New England footie or something like that.

    Now Fantasy Football. I was born less than half a mile from Ninian Park and the new CCFC stadium. Bellamy playing for the bluebirds is fantasy come true... please.....

  • Comment number 85.

    ".... Football Focus was saved by the perfect bacon sandwich."

    Maybe you should put it in goal in your ffl team!

    I love the ffl, did well last year, but didn't start too well this time around. I had Cesc and Given in, who both didn't start, I switched Drogba for Rooney 'cos he was listed as "doubtful" and on the subs bench I had Baptiste (who scored well) as my final sub so his points tally didn't count. Highly frustrating, but it's all for a laugh, so who cares?

    Now for the important stuff, sauce; not enough and it's too dry and too much tends to drip with chances of stainage.

    Why take a chance?

    Sauce should always be served seperatly from the sandwich, personally I think Brown sauce is a burp from the devil's bottom, but hey, there's no accounting for taste. If ketchup's not your thing, then try a little chilli to spice your sarnie up.


  • Comment number 86.

    Well I sensibly have Drogba in my team but thanks to a certain I didn't put him as my captain for this round of matches as the the preview said that he wasn't fully fit and was likely to start on the bench!

    Thanks Auntie - you owe me 16 points!

  • Comment number 87.

    #86, tell me about it... btw, its 17 easy points that we lost because of it.

  • Comment number 88.

    34 points if you didnt put him as my captain

    i stupidly put anelka in

    when will i ever learn that when chelsea look like scoring goals, anelka will never get one of them!!

  • Comment number 89.

    I think when it comes to Fantasy Football it's always advisable to ignore all advice that any 'mates' give you. On the advice of my brother I took Nikola Kalinic out of my team on Saturday morning only for him to score a few hours later.
    Stick to your Fantasy Football instincts and if you get it wrong you only have yourself to blame.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 90.

    Expect I'll be pilloried for this... have to say salad cream and melted cheese are prerequisite for the perfect bacon sarnie. And it has to be served in an oven bottom (or barm, name varies around the country I gather). I know the melted cheese means it's not strictly a bacon sarnie but it does the trick.

    As for the fantasy football, I tend to look at the new signings that have come in from abroad without a big reputation. They tend to be cheap because they haven't proven themselves in the Prem. When Chelsea signed Franck Leboeuf (A while back I know!) I noticed that he was a regular 10+ goals a season man and penalty taker for Marseille. The man repayed my faith with 12 (I think) goals from defence in his 1st season! All that for £2.5m!

    Thomas Vermaelen is my tip for this season if Arsenal bag Shay Given or Mark Schwarzer. Or any goalkeeper that isn't flappy-boy Almunia...

  • Comment number 91.

    You said it yourself - don't listen to other people!!

    Lampard is a banker - even at that price, look at his record, bags of points for seasons past - also check out internet sources, BBC website said Cesc and Van Persie were unlikely to play.

    And 3-4-3 all the way - midfielders generally score more than defenders over a season - stats don't lie.

    Cheap GK? - Paul Robinson - Sam's the man - I think Blackburn will do quite well this season.

  • Comment number 92.

    Value for money is the way forward, the Sun newspaper website (other national newspapers are available) allows you to look at the players on this basis.

    Its really good to look at the lower priced players to fit in with the big boys. Also, as per anotehr email, a back four of full backs is definately a good idea.

  • Comment number 93.

    #82 i'll be joining both of these leagues posted, 606 & football focus.

    I already have some changes to make to get Drog in my team after i left him out, because bbc sport said he was injured & unlikely to play last week.

    Let the battle commence.

  • Comment number 94.

    I've come into the new fantasy league season with the added pressure of winning my mini-league last time out! In previous seasons I've never been in with a shout - it was a bit like Villa winning the league. (no offence, fans).

    My tips would be fairly simple:

    GK: Someone whose busy but not in a 'getting thrashed every week' way, and likely to keep several cleansheets. Sorensen, Jasskaleinen and Kirkland have been previous good candidates.

    Def: 2/3 defenders who can get goals - Shawcross, Cahill, Samba, Vermaelen, Vidic - and 1/2 likely to get assists: Baines, Warnock, Sagna. I tend to pick a maximum of 3 top defenders and worry less about cleansheets.

    Mid: The reason is my philosophy is packing my midfield with 5 star players every week. Why? Goals, assists, cleansheets - the midfielders get them all. I try and set up with a mix of guaranteed star points (e.g. Lampard, Fabregas) and consistent performers for their teams: Bale, Arteta, Milner.

    Fwd: Top this off with Drogba, Rooney, Torres, Tevez, Defoe or Bent and then just fill the gaps with cheap performers - there's plenty to be found!

  • Comment number 95.

    I always go with the cheapest possible bench and defence so I can really splash out up front, for instance this year I have a front 3 of Rooney torres and drogba!! Also have malouda and kuyt in midfield. The way I see it is that on no week will all three of these supposed world class strikers be off form, and kuyt and malouda will always chip in throughout the year. I have to admit, I would like lampard in the team, he always plays, takes pens, fks and corners and regularly scores.

    Where I struggle is in goal. Do you go with a team who Won't concede much or a goalie who will make loads of saves in a game but ultimately concede. Jaaskeleinen has always been good for me but I tend to with reina because he strikes quite a good happy medium between the two factors.

    Good luck to you all

  • Comment number 96.

    Sorry all you red sauce people but red sauce is for girls, brown sauce is the sauce of real men :D

    I like the sound of the reggae reggae sauce though - has it got a kick to it?

    As to the footie - like someone else said "pick and stick"!

  • Comment number 97.

    @78 - I tried to join the FF mini league, but got an error message from the code you put up. Am I being a proper meff, or is the league full up or summink?

  • Comment number 98.

    Turns out I was being a meff - and trying to join the league on I know The Score rather than the FF league...

    Oh dear!

  • Comment number 99.

    I should have picked Mark Collis and Ferah Orosco for my FF Team...damn!

    Reginald Blinker

  • Comment number 100.

    Albrighton looks to have cemented a starting place and he's really cheap =]


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