Sheffield United fan column: Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker and David Brooks united againÂ
Before the 2016/17 season somebody at work suggested starting up a Fantasy League.
No entry fee, no prize money, just for fun. Premier League players only.
Now, I've never been a big fan of Fantasy Leagues, or the Premier League for that matter, so was reticent to join, but it's a small company and they were struggling to drum up sufficient interest to make it worthwhile. So I signed up, but decided to take a novel approach.
There are about a dozen people in our Fantasy League, most of whom assiduously selected their teams to maximise their budget.
But one blokeÂ came up with some sort of spreadsheet to help him pick his team based on players' statistical performances over the past couple of seasons. We call it Stu's algorithm.
I've walked past people's desks as they swapÂ players around, making transfers and fretting over selection, who they should make captain to get double points, and generally taking it all much too seriously.
I adopted a different approach '“ pick my team for Week One and let it runÂ to May. And my selection policy was wacky, too; just ex-Sheffield United players, or if there weren't enough of these, those withÂ some other connection to Sheffield or the Blades.
This season my outfield players, in 4-3-3 formation, are: Walker, Jagielka, Maguire, Lowton; Mendez-Laing, McDonald, Brooks; Vokes, Vardy, Calvert-Lewin. No surprise that I had loads of unspent money left over.
Needless to say I finished bottom in the first two seasons. This season I am propping them all up again, though a couple of weeks ago I briefly moved out of the basement when Maguire, Brooks, Vardy and Vokes all scored. But at least I have my principles.
And, by the way, Stu's algorithm has him in lower mid-table, above two or three who reckon they know a bit about football.