Ever find yourself wandering around town of a Saturday afternoon wondering how Stoke’s left back is faring? Do you sometimes secretly hope that your team concede a late goal, because, hey, they’re 4-0 up, Ferdinand has been substituted and your closest rival has Evra in his team?
You do? Welcome to the club. The fantasy football club. Most folk might point to the advent of the Premier League as the harbinger of the fundamental changes that have swept across football over the last two decades, but fantasy football has irrevocably altered how fans consume and interact with the beautiful game.
The game’s original incarnation, Fantasy League, is now 20 years old. To celebrate it has released details of the greatest team, based on highest points scored, to appear since its inception. And while some players are perhaps predictable – Alan Shearer, Ryan Giggs, Frank Lampard – others are conspicuous by their absence (Cristiano Ronaldo, Nemanja Vidic and Thierry Henry, although he does make the sub’s bench alongside Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole).
The other surprising fact? All of the starting 11 are British. So while the likes of Eric Cantona, Dennis Bergkamp and the aforementioned Ronaldo and Henry have propelled the British game to new levels, when it comes to Fantasy longevity it pays to buy British.