A former Wellington lawyer is looking forward to a trip to the UK to watch two English Premier League (EPL) games after beating out more than six million other competitors around the globe to the EPL’s own Fantasy Premier League title.
Adam Levy, who is 53, works as a principal adviser in the policy and legal team for Te Arawhiti – Māori Crown Relations in Wellington and is a former in-house corporate/commercial lawyer at the Ministry of Justice.
At the start of the season, Mr Levy, and all his rivals, pick a squad, and then select a team each week to ‘do battle’ against that week’s foes. Transfers are allowed, but the 'budget' means would-be Jurgen Klopps and Pep Guardiolas have to sign up cheaper players at lower-level teams as well as the top stars like Mo Salah.
On Monday morning Mr Levy had his eyes fixed on the screen until 4am to see how his team were doing.
”It’s just unbelievable to win it outright because of the outrageous odds – one in six million,” he says.
“You put a squad together at the start of the season and you are constrained by a pretend 100 million budget; the players have a price depending on how likely they are to get you good points.
“You can’t have all the big star name players, of course, so you have to balance out the squad and find value in the Burnleys, the Bournemouths and the Huddersfields, and from then on you can make a limited number of transfers each week. And you build up points through goals, assists, and clean sheets but you can also lose points through red cards etc.”
Superstars and workhorses
In his final team of the season, Mr Levy had two Liverpool players, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold – and three from Manchester City, Aymeric Laporte, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero. Manchester City won the league by a point from Liverpool by winning their final league game at Brighton and Hove Albion on Monday morning New Zealand time.
But as valuable as they are, as in real football games, all team players need to step up, and so it is essential to pick someone like Matt Doherty, a right-back with Wolverhampton Wanderers who might not be known to many people outside of the English Midlands but who added invaluable points to Mr Levy’s tally.
For Mr Levy, it is a case of trying to ignore much of the data and tips flying around and rely on his own instincts and knowledge.
“I do watch Premier League football I can, probably a few hours a week, but with the internet, there is just so much information out there and a torrent of opinion; there’s masses of statistics, web forums, twitter posts all dedicated to Fantasy Football League. The big issue if you get into the game seriously is dealing with the noise and you have to find your own way through that opinion and information overload and play the game in your own way.”
As part of his prize, Mr Levy will get a paid-for trip to England to watch two Premier League games (“with VIP treatment”) during the 2019-20 season. The West Ham United fan – he supports them through his London-born grandmother - will wait for the new season’s schedule to be released in June before he starts looking at flights and games.
The prize also includes visits to heritage sites around Britain, a watch, a copy of FIFA19 and games console, and a Nike manager jacket.