Inittowinit – he’s one of our own
Now the season has finished and we’re all twiddling our thumbs as to what to do for the next several weeks, we thought it prudent to reflect on a strange, fun season by interviewing someone most of you are familiar with. Some of you know him as Inittowinit, or Init, or Inuit, or Cock, or maybe you have another more private term for him! For those not familiar with Init, he was one of the original founders of FF247 and to used to write the Fixtures article as well as contributions on all other articles. He is a busy chap with a young family yet finds time whenever possible to comment on the boards, offering help, advice always mixed with an appropriate amount of banter. What many of you won’t appreciate is the ‘behind the scenes Init’ – those of who work to bring the site you see every day will testify that Init is very much the general manager behind the curtain – he’ll organise the writers, talk to potential sponsors, do much of the admin – he is the man who brings everything together. Now we have not chosen to interview Init for him to tell you what happens behind the scenes – he is too modest for that and frankly it would be a very dull interview.
The reason we have got together with Init is because of his FPL pedigree – in ten seasons playing FPL, his worst rank is 84,991, his best 422 and he has now finished in the top 10k four times out of ten, with another two finishes just within 225 places of the top 10k. Yet this season was different – at halfway he was ranked 342,147 and there were huge and realistic concerns of a worst ever finish and a failure to him, his much treasured mini-league. Many times in the last few weeks he posted his team on the site, asking for ideas and advice, highlighting all the time what those leading his mini-league were doing.
Yet what followed was a masterclass in playing FPL and the reason we wanted to tell his story – for there are lessons for everyone of us here – it is a prime example of how to play the game, how not to panic, to plan and to trust in one’s ability and experience. A quite magnificent final two game-weeks saw Init scoring 293pts! He won his mini-league by the small margin of 163pts and his final global ranking was 4,909. Let’s here from the man himself.
Cookie: Congratulations on another top 10k finish – that’s your 4th in ten seasons playing the game with another two just outside of it. Feeling good?
Init: Thanks Cookie. This one feels good as it was somewhat unexpected. I’d been on a bit of a march since bottoming out in GW18 at 400k odd but even so I was only just inside the top 20k after GW36 and making progress within that is always tough. Knowing that I still had a WC and BB to unleash in GW37 gave me hope that I’d have a decent finish but the last two weeks went far better than any expectations that I had. 293 points in two weeks is a bit mental actually! That’s 12.5% of my total score accumulated in two weeks. You should get about 2.6% per week.
I always seem to luck out on the big DGW so I wasn’t really surprised with that one. That took me just inside the 10k mark. I was hoping for a bit of fortune to stay there on the last day. We had a busy family day so I wasn’t really following it that closely but every time I picked up my phone one of my players had scored or assisted so I had an inkling that I was going to make it. I wasn’t hopeful at the start as I had 3 players not starting but then when Cahill comes on at 26 and then Pedro comes on and scores almost immediately you just sort of know it’s your day!
Cookie: You finally entered the top 10k in DGW37 after a monster score of 187 – that’s one nice wildcard played! Were you close to not having Harry Kane in your side given the league had virtually gone by the start of the game-week and Spurs were dismal in losing at West Ham? And well done on avoiding Gabbiadini!!
Init: Lol. You know, that I know, that you know why you’re asking that! What a very different season it could have been. I did seriously consider the Vardy switch, especially as my rival had him. I just felt that Spurs weren’t done so I stuck with him. Had my rival been a bit nearer in points then I may well have been swayed into simply covering his Vardy pick. In all honesty though I just didn’t fancy his DGW fixtures. Gabi was never on my radar as I’d decided on a strong front three and my mids weren’t overly compromised as a result. Hazard was the only pull in that respect, I’d consider that two bullets dodged for the price of one now!
Cookie: For much of the season you were saying you were just trying to win your mini-league and avoid your worst ever rank (which is 84,991). But then from GW25 until the end of the season, you saw green arrows in every week bar just one. That’s an impressive run.
Init: Mini-league is always my priority. I have to walk into a changing room on a Saturday morning full of (grown) men discussing nothing else! They really should be discussing the game ahead but what can you do, team bonding and all that. I’ve won it nine times out of ten now too, and they all know about the website, so to say I’m a prime scalp is an understatement! That said I simply pick the players who I think will score the most for my team each week. So essentially I play for rank for the majority of the season. Usually that is enough to not leave me having to make cover moves but it has happened on a couple of occasions and I’m happy to do that come GW36, even if it means sacrificing a few ranking spots. This season wasn’t one of them though so I was able to just crack on regardless.
Cookie: By the end of GW24 you were placed in 211k position. You were concerned about the deficit in your all-important mini-league. Yet you didn’t panic, didn’t play a panicked wildcard – did you have confidence you’d turn things around?
Init: Never mind that, I was 440k in GW18! But yeah, probably just too long in the tooth for panicking now. You need to consider the whole picture, they were using chips like they were going out of fashion. I was always happy to sit on the BB / WC combo for the biggie. I was always comfortable that even if they were still winning or close come that one then having those in hand would be a huge advantage. As it was they crashed and burned anyway so the advantage was only hammered home come DGW37.
Cookie: You wrote an article for the FPL magazine about taking hits and I know you have always avoided hits where possible, but has your attitude towards taking hits changed at all?
Init: That was a strange one, as having examined the hits in detail for the article, and basically concluded that they had worked out on the whole, I then went and proceeded to only take another three hits all season! Albeit that was only from GW31 onwards and that period included a late WC so it is possibly not the best sample. My attitude towards them has definitely changed though having examined the season as a whole in relation to them. My past attitude was based upon my best OR finishes and those being seasons where I had abstained as much as possible from taking them. Doing the article and the research was definitely an eye opener as it made me see the benefit of them but of course that all depends on the success of them so I certainly wouldn’t advocate it as a wholesale approach, but as a measured and calculated one it looks fine on the basis of it.
Cookie: You plan carefully and deliberately, but how did you plot this run of green arrows? And how far do you plan transfers and team strategy in advance?
Init: I’d love to say that there was a clear plan but in all honesty I just play what’s in front of me, it’s too fluid to have a plan ahead beyond two or three weeks. I must admit that pre-Christmas I just tend to play it week by week and then after that I sharpen up and start to formulate plans for the next few weeks ahead. That’s also when I start to look at the ML properly and focus in on that. That probably explains, in a nutshell, why I always suck before Santa comes and why I always see a huge row of green arrows after he’s been. If only I could learn to play it from August to December like I do after then I’d have some real good ranks!
Cookie: Another feature of your play is your transfer policy. None, or at least, minimal early transfers and you’ll look at your team only on a Friday evening and then make your transfers. This naturally means you miss out on midweek price changes and affects your team value somewhat – yet you still produce impressive and consistent results. This policy clearly works for you.
Init: I’m just a creature of habit on this. It’s what I’ve always done. It’s not a steadfast rule by any means but it does minimise the chance of making transfers only to find that more are necessary to field a decent team later in the week. We see it all the time on the site where people have gone early and then got stung. That said, their overall TV probably then dwarfs mine later on in the season which is pertinent come WC time. It was noticeable that I was a good £3-5m behind some when the WC RMT’s started pouring in when we got to the DGW’s. It was possibly a blessing in disguise this time though as my main thought when viewing those witH a higher TV was that they were able to fit in both Sanchez and Hazard… It won’t always work out like that but this time it did.
Cookie: Do you like the chips and what would you change about them?
Init: I like the chips, they’ve been a very welcome addition. I think they need to freshen them up this coming season though. I’d bun the AOA one, that’s fairly useless. I would like to see them double up on both BB and TC and have one of each to use either side of GW18, rather than just one anytime. It adds an element of jeopardy and means that the earlier ones would have to be planned for on a SGW as well as a DGW later on.
Cookie: How much PL did you watch and do you think it helps / affects your transfers?
Init: I don’t watch anywhere near as much as I’d like to but that’s down to both family and site commitments. I watch all the goals and probably see about one game a week live. It definitely helps the more you see, as you get a better feel for who is ‘due’ or who is performing in reality but maybe not (yet) in fantasy terms. I miss watching Match Of The Day but that’s also a free time slot for prepping the site stuff for the week ahead. It’s a difficult balance. Site always gets priority though as people rely on it and expect it, imagine me posting on a Monday – “no Tips this week as I decided to watch MOTD instead”!
Cookie: What was your highlight of the season, FPL or just football in general?
Init: Bit of an odd one but it was in the showers at football on a Saturday morning! My main ML rival asked me who I was captaining and told me he was going for Lukaku. It was GW28 (the odd one, with only four games). It was basically either Mane (home to Burnley) or Lukaku (home to West Brom) that week for the armband. I spent five minutes explaining the relative away goal stats of Burnley and West Brom. Burnley were by far the worst of the pair at that point. He subsequently went away and switched the armband onto Mane. I’d have paid good money to see a pic of his face when he realised that I had gone for Lukaku. Mane went on to get 4 points as captain that day, Lukaku 24! It didn’t win me the ML but psychologically it was a huge turning point!
Cookie: Init, many thanks for sharing your season’s experience in such detail and with such transparency. We’ve enjoyed watching your progress throughout the campaign and congratulate you on another fantastic season! In addition to that and I’m sure I speak for everyone, we thank you for your tremendous work that you contribute behind the scenes to make FF247 what it is – without you there wouldn’t be a site and we salute you.