The Challenge

I often get the same questions from people thinking of joining the Index. “Can you still profit without holding 1,000 Neymar’s bought in 2017?”

“Doesn’t most profit come from the bonuses?” “I don’t have enough time for it!” This article is my answer.

The Rules

I started fresh on day 1 of the new football season with these rules:

  • No bonus cash*.
  • No long term holds from last season.
  • No spending 24/7 checking news or watching every game.

Just 1 man. £1k. And one helluva lot of stats.

Notes for New Readers

I’ll be trying to show not just the trades but my thought process and reasons behind decisions I make. The specific players I pick are less important.
You can check out the original post where I introduce my overall strategy and explain the opening selections.

As I obviously have an existing portfolio, I will not make these exact trades but they will be tracked realistically.

I will also own every player on this list for real so the selections will get my full attention. Generally, I select players I have talked about positively on the site.

I always say though, don’t blindly follow any picks you see from others including mine. Do your own research and if you see what I see, great, but you have to know why you have bought the player and be happy with it.

*Since the Challenge started the Index have dropped 2 further bonuses. I haven’t directly used them here, but they do affect the market and there’s not much I can do about that!

The 1K Challenge Portfolio

  • Portfolio Value: £1,449.25
  • In the bank: £18.81
  • Value Increase from £1k: 46.8%
  • Value Change from Week 10: +8%

Portfolio Performance

Another nice 8% gain although we’ve had to work hard for it.
We’ve had a host of players dropping like Aguero, Traoré, Kamano, Anton, Alberto, Dubois and Plea.

Fortunately, our other picks led by Thorgan Hazard, Fabian Ruiz and my new buys (below) are keeping us chugging along. It’s been an unsettled time with the bonus and the subsequent hangover that some traders felt.
Really though, it’s just a normal part of trading and dips will happen more and more as the Index matures.

We shouldn’t retreat into our shells when heaven forbid we actually have to do some trading to make progress. The rougher times are when you can show a bit of skill and it’s all the more satisfying if you get it right.


Sells and Holds

In the Week 10 update I stuck with Alcantara and said I didn’t care that others were selling, he would come good.

He duly delivered and won the dividend but unfortunately picked up a nasty injury shortly after. As I said at the time if the injury looks bad, and you see it straight away, it’s often best to get out and that’s what I did here. His price did recover a bit but I think this a false dawn. I’m not sure people factored in the Bundesliga winter break. It’s going to be late January before he returns and I can use that money better elsewhere in the mean time.

As discussed on this Friday’s Daily, Payet and Thauvin were in trouble and at risk of a drop after their first loss to Lazio. Even if they turned them over away, they would still be far from assured of qualifying for the knock outs.
Therefore, it was an easy decision to offload both well before their second game vs Lazio. This protects us from any drop, and gives us an opportunity to re-buy cheaper if we want to, which I’ll discuss below.

Elsewhere, Dubois continues to frustrate. He’s a solid player but he’s been injured and if he ain’t on the pitch, he’s never going to show it.
Still, he will rise once back playing and we don’t have much cash tied up here, so he can stick around. (Am I in denial yet?). Aguero and Savic are pretty stagnant, which is fine at this stage.

Traore, Kamano, Alberto and Plea are getting a bit of stick on the market for their terrible crimes of failing to win immediately. But there is nothing to worry about. Only Alberto has a question mark as his pitch time has been limited, but he’s quality and there is no need to panic.


Combined with the £93.3 we had in the bank from Week 10, the sales of Alcantara, Payet and Thauvin give us a sizable balance to play with.
The last two weeks has seen more trading in this portfolio than before. There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, in the good times you can pretty much find good players then run on cruise control, making small adjustments as needed. If things toughen up, as they have a bit, you may want to be a bit more active.

Second of all, my strategy changes throughout the season. When I started this portfolio 12 weeks ago on day one of the season, the sole objective was to establish a solid spine of known strong performance players (Aguero, Thauvin, Alcantara), then back that up with 4-5 good performance players who I knew would develop (T Hazard, Traoré, Kamano etc).

This is a “new trader” challenge and I think that is spot on for a newbie, a solid core and a bit of risk. We don’t want to go wiping ourselves out before we even get up to speed. But by now, our new trader will have a bit of confidence and may want to widen the net. He/she may want to go and find some more unknown higher risk players. And, as we are now closer to transfer windows, this is what I do myself. It’s never too early to build for next season.

We therefore turn to some of the new IPO’s, minor clubs and the ineligible leagues to get some cut price talent that could come good for us. I’m not just reading the news and picking the hype players though. I’m using as much data as I can combined with local scouting reports to pick out performance friendly players who may also get hyped.

It is better that your hype player actually has some substance to back him up, because if the transfer gamble or similar does not pay off, you will still have a potentially good performance player. And if you actually get a good player who starts challenging for dividends, the reward will be greater than if you are carrying over-hyped garbage who will eventually get found out.

I tend to go for the players I have discussed favourably on the site for these selections, so you can read my detailed assessment of them by clicking the links. First in is 21 year old talent Brais Mendez at Celta Vigo from my La Liga Scout Report. Thauvin (as discussed on the Friday Daily) we bring back in, increasing our holding in him by 5 shares on the cheap thanks to our little Europa League shenanigan. Joao Felix at Benfica from the Monday Daily is as promising a young talent as you are going to find.

Exequiel Palacios from the Wednesday Daily is moving from River Plate to Real Madrid next summer. He looks fairly well suited to performance scoring, and at 20 is further along in development than some.

Based on recent history, I’m sure by July many will be convinced he will immediately become the main man for Real next year. They can buy him off me then.

We finish with two cheap and cheerful picks at the £1 mark.
Dennis Man is a young Romanian striker and a new IPO from a Daily this week. Denis Suarez hasn’t been featured on the site recently. He’s a forgotten man at Barcelona, clearly the very last in the pecking order.
But he’s a real talent and I think he will move on and find minutes elsewhere. He’s got a chance of being a strong performer if that goes well.

Next Week

Our bank is pretty much committed with just £18.81 on the sidelines. So if we want to buy, we will have to sell. Unless anything serious changes, I don’t see myself selling any of them soon, so it should be a quiet week.


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