We’re in the middle of the summer and although the 2018 World Cup is over, with France lifting the famous golden trophy, football fans around the globe are now turning their attention to fantasy football picks for the 2018-19 English Premier League season.
Many of the big newspapers offer fantasy football competitions each year, as do a growing legion of websites, but the format and process for choosing players largely remains the same. There are limitations such as only being able to pick a maximum number of players from any one team, or an overall ‘transfer’ budget that you can’t exceed throughout the season.
Meanwhile, over at Name Your Squad, they’ve done something entirely different and unique, with participants able to build their teams using the letters of their own names for inspiration. After picking which formation you want to use, be it 4-4-2, 4-5-1, 4-4-1-1, 4-3-3 or 3-5-2, the letters of the first name and surname you register are then set out in correct order amongst the positions.
— MonsterSoccer (@monstersoccerco) June 2, 2016
For example, if by some coincidence you happened to be named Martin O’Neill, like the current Republic of Ireland national team manager, then you would pick a Premier League goalkeeper whose surname begins with the letter ‘M’ in that position. The same process would be repeated for defenders, midfielders and forwards, with each subsequent letter of your own name in sequential order. For lengthy names, the letters continue into the four available substitute selections.
It does add an element of randomness to Premier League fantasy picks, but it’s also a fun way of setting up private fantasy leagues between friends, and to see who has the luckiest name. They say that none are so lucky as the Irish, so how would Murphy, Kelly or O’Sullivan fare? Well, according to the numbers those are the most common surnames in Ireland, closely followed by Walsh, Smith and O’Brien.
For those lucky to have an ‘S’ in their surname, you might have a distinct advantage when using your name to pick your fantasy team players, especially if the letter falls amongst the midfield positions. Why? Because just like in any fantasy league, players win points not only for starting appearances, but also for goals and assists, man of the match awards and suchlike. According to whoscored.com statistics for the 2017-18 Premier League season, four of the top ten players had surnames beginning with the letter ‘S’.
OFFICIAL: Mohamed Salah has signed a new five-year contract with Liverpool which does not contain a release clause. pic.twitter.com/WTy3dcgEpM
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) July 2, 2018
Liverpool’s Egyptian dynamo Mohamed Salah is perhaps the most prominent amongst the ‘S’ surnames, after banging in 32 Premier League goals and topping pretty much every fantasy league for points. Also, there are Manchester City trio David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané, who are all arguably ‘must have’ players for any fantasy league selections, especially if Manchester City continue their dominance of last season.
Even if you’re not fortunate enough to have an ‘S’ anywhere in your name, chances are you can still choose from a whole host of the best Premier League players, when using your very own name to make the player selections all the more exciting, adding a little extra personal spice to something that’s so popular amongst millions of fans each season.