Playing Fantasy Football often involves making unpalatable selection decisions, which can sometimes bring the real world and the fantasy world into conflict. Most Fantasy Football fans will be able to empathise with me when I describe the agony of finding myself cheering on a team I loathe in reality, purely because I need them to score points for me in my fantasy league. Of course, some principled supporters get around this problem by not selecting players in their fantasy teams that they consider rivals in reality––Arsenal fans who will not select Tottenham players in their fantasy team for example; or Manchester United fans who deliberately overlook both Manchester City and Liverpool players. Needless to say, their teams did not rank very high in the final Fantasy League table this year.
But the Premier League season is over; the Fantasy League not up and running again until August. However, this summer, I still find myself thrust into a situation of having to make conflicted decisions, but now the topic of discussion is not football but the race to be the next Conservative Party leader.
On the surface, there would appear to be little in common between football and politics, but there are some surprising parallels. For a brief moment, before Sam Gyimah fell by the wayside, the number of Tory leadership hopefuls formed a perfect team of eleven. I had already mentally compiled a formation.
Dominic Raab firmly on the right wing; Rory Stewart playing a blinder on the left. Jeremy Hunt a safe pair of hands in goal. Mark Harper and Sam Gyimah out on the flanks at the back. Michael Gove the midfield enforcer. And Boris Johnson way out in front.
Like my Fantasy Football team, I would play around with the formation; flirt with the idea of Esther McVey in attack; deliberate about the wisdom of having Sajid Javid in defence. Wonder what Matt Hancock would be like leading the line; speculate if Andrea Leadsom should be dropped to the bench.
But, ultimately, I find myself conflicted. Conflicted in the same way as when I cheer on a football team I despise simply to win fantasy football points because, at the end of the day, I don’t want any of the Tory leadership hopefuls to win. I am discussing possibilities, none of which I want to come to pass.
I am the Arsenal fan with a fantasy team entirely composed of Tottenham players; the United fan forced to choose only City or Liverpool.
© Donnie Blake
Donnie Blake puts a big boot into politics.
Check out Donnie’s novel Artie Yard and a Very English Pickle.