Fuelling the fantasy - Passionate Jamaican EPL fans gravitate towards online community
As the start of the new Premier League unfolds, Jamaicans across the country have returned to their weekend routines of setting their morning alarms, confirming their sports view packages and assembling their gear in order to cheer their favourite teams to glory.
They have also spent countless nights over the computer agonising over squad selections, injury reports, transfer announcements, anything to give their teams an edge.
Oh we are not talking about their club teams, but leading their created “teams” to glory, playing the Fantasy Premier League online game.
If you are new to this, you are given a ‘transfer budget’ of 100m pounds to assemble a team of your choice using the best the Premier League have to offer.
Points are scored based of the real life performance of your teams and you get to compete with players from all across the world for bragging rights.
Shannon Thomas, who plays the game regularly, attributes Jamaican’s love for football and for the game to be one and the same.
“Football is a passion for most Jamaicans and competition is high and bragging rights are important,” he said.
But just choosing a squad is not as easy it may seem. There is some really homework that has to be done in order to give your team the best chance of success.
Terrence Harvey knows exactly what is required for success, having played the game for seven years and is current role as the administrator for the Instagram page known as FPLjamaiacacommunity.
“[Fantasy Premier League] was introduced to me via word of mouth by one of my colleagues, who had experience playing,” Harvey said. “Fantasy Premier League is fun and addictive. It takes up a lot of my time in preparation for the season and when the EPL starts, so I said why not create a group for other players where we can share information via social media, while winning prizes and having fun?”
It is an addiction that is also shared by Thomas, who has been a regular of Premier League fantasy and like Harvey was drawn to the game by a friend.
“Fantasy was introduced to me by a friend a few years back and I kept playing all these years because I kept losing and getting bantered for it, so it pushed me to be more diligent and focused [in] improving my squad if needs be every week,” said Thomas.
Harvey’s passion for fantasy has also resulted in a Youtube page with videos displaying tips for squad selection, which at times seem as intricate as a coach setting his line-up for an actual Premier League match day. The constraints of setting up your team, Harvey notes, can be a problem and maintains that for better performance, it requires patience and research.
“You have to do your research. Find out the top performers from last season as well as top value performances (points versus cost). Plan [for] two to three game weeks in advance in mind. Timing and flexibility [are also] key,” he notes.
To that end, the community has organised a US$200 Money League which is free to enter by entering the league code 45xxh1 and subscribing to the FPL Jamaica Community Youtube page. It already has over 100 entrant’s eager to test their skills in hopes of glory and prizes.