What is Site Key Strategy?

The biggest factor influencing our total returns is how well we nail the trends at the correct time – we need to get our strategy set before we worry about the individual players.

Without a clear strategy, we can end up just following the market stampedes and will get, at best, a mixed bag of results.

The members area always has a live key strategy which helps put all of the scouting, transfer and market information into context. 

Some members like to stick to it, others pick and choose bits they like, and others just like to see the discussion and have their own plan. 

All of this is fine. People have different skills and time commitments to work with and are the Captain’s of their own ship at the end of the day.

A Review of Winter Strategy

I always like to review the last strategy before I start the next one. It gets me in the right frame of mind, and it’s always helpful to check in and see if the last one was any good, right?

You can read that here if you haven’t caught it already and it gives good background for what comes next.


Mid-Season Strategy - Summary

This is a Summary of the Objectives of the strategy covering February to the end of March.

Full discussion of each is below, and I recommend reading it all!

Clean house.

Move early to drop any remaining players without reasons to hold them in late season, focusing on a tight portfolio of our most on trend, performance suitable picks at good value, maximising opportunities for profits and minimising our risk of being dragged back by underperformers.

Some exceptions can be made for premium players or cheap youth players designed for long term holds.

See the guide on Strategy and Portfolio management (linked below) for advice on constructing a portfolio with the right balance of diversification/aggression to suit you.

Objective 1

Maintain a core portfolio of at least 40% and up to 60% of "full season fit" players.

These players should have current performance strength and as many reasons as possible to hold them towards later season, such as Euro 2020, the CL and Europa, or a big Summer transfer.

Full criteria described under Objective 2 below.

Objective 2

Fill the remaining 40-60% of the portfolio with a pick and mix from the following areas:

- High potential youth players with next season in mind

- Improving underperformers as they emerge in Scouting

- Summer transfer prospects (even without full season fit)

- IPD Punts, particularly for CL/Europa Gold Days where they can also claim the performance win.

- Selected Elite Veterans - who may now be worth short term punts after dropping in price and coming off trend.

- No more than 1-3 premium holds (£5+) at no more than 10% of total portfolio value.

- Low key Euro 2020 performance challengers at smaller teams

The Road Ahead

The above is a summary, and the full discussion of each Objective is below.

Before that, let’s think about the key events coming up so we know what we will be working with as we get well into mid-season.

This Key Strategy phase will be shorter than the others, just two months covering February and March.

Mid to late season often requires more flexibility. In the past, really quite dramatic trend shifts have worked well where whole portfolios have been sold up to move elsewhere.

But every season is different, there is no template where you can say “ah this worked last year I’ll do that again”. 

Often, what worked last year doesn’t end up working this year because too many people do the exact same thing thinking they are following the “template” from last year. 

There is no template we can just keep lazily repeating. The trends are different, and traders behave differently each season too.

So it makes sense to make the key strategy segments shorter and be more flexible for the rest of the season, since we may want to move to different areas of the market later on, depending on what happens.

Let’s look at the big factors coming up first.

The End of Season Sell Off

Unlike early season, where we could rely on performance strength to drive profits, members may have noticed in the last month or two that performance strength alone has stopped being enough.

We’ve seen this most obviously at the veteran end of the market – very few people want to be left holding veterans in late season no matter how good they may be. They’ve taken a savaging by and large since November. 

There are exceptions, Kroos, Lewandowski spring to mind, Immobile too. Even Kroos has faced headwinds on this front recently despite repeated wins. 

All of them have optimism for Euro 2020 and strong performance strength, so you can make a case that some trends will battle others and performance strength will shine through in these cases. 

This is fine, there are borderline calls to make and being on the right or wrong side of one or two of them is not going to make or break your season.

However, on the whole, we don’t want to pick too many fights with the clear trends, we want to work with them. 

Whilst I have not seen much obvious “end of season sell off” panic chatter yet, we have been seeing it creeping into thinking already. It’s why we see veterans being sold, why Euro 2020 players have already been attracting premium prices.

But I expect before long, at least by the end of February or March, we will start to see wider discussion and fear of the approaching end of season.

This is likely to hit any player that has no reason to be holding them over the Summer, not just at the older end of the market.

The Funnel Effect

As people increasingly sell players without late season reasons to hold them, most of that money will end up somewhere on FI. 

Logically, it should go towards a relatively narrow selection of players at Euro 2020 or with a good Summer transfer to sustain them. These players can hit very high prices, even if they are considered to be relatively expensive now.

This is why I believe retaining this core of full season fit players is important.

It isn’t really about Euro 2020 or the Summer transfer, although some players may be worth holding through that and even into the new season.

The important thing is that traders will retain confidence in these players throughout the rest of this season.

Because they have performance strength, they can keep winning dividends and getting price increases due to good performances throughout this season. 

And, as big name players, they will tend to be the ones involved in lucrative knockout Champions League and Europa games too.

When they are out of the competition or have won it, they’ll lose that reason to hold them. 

But they will also have a backup reason – Euro 2020 or their big transfer. 

This means that we can play for the Gold Day European nights with less fear about a knockout causing a huge price collapse – it’s not all or nothing because we are using a great technique for increasing the likelihood of success – giving ourselves multiple ways to win.

With these players, we can win because they can win dividends and get buying from performance wins. We can win because of big CL or Europa performances or hype. We can win because of Euro 2020 optimism. We can win because of good Euro performances, and/or a big Summer transfer.

We’re stacking the odds in our favour and will generally find we have made our own “luck”. 

Winning trading.

Compare that to punting on a weak performance player who can win only rarely, and relies entirely on getting the correct transfer to the correct club for his value. Most of the time he won’t and this trader will suffer from “bad luck”. 

Losing trading.

For these reasons, I anticipate that the funnel effect is going to keep driving people increasingly towards players who match this “full season fit”, and we will see bigger and bigger premiums paid for them in the coming months.

Other Factors

At the very end of this feature, I’ve included an optional section discussing 5 more topics that can be relevant to the outcome of the season.

I’ve considered them when thinking through this strategy. But for those pushed for time, it’s not essential reading, and I’ll provide updates on them when needed through State of the Market etc. 

But, for those interested, I think it is worthwhile and beneficial to be aware of these topics. 

– Team of the week or “loyalty dividend”

– Dividend Review

– New Territories

– Performance Tweaks

– Order Books

Mid-Season Strategy - Objectives

Clean House.

Objective 1

If we want a great end to the season, we need a tight, focused portfolio that is bang on the trends and generally performance suitable. 

One of the biggest reasons for underperformance in a portfolio that I see all the time is over large, flabby portfolios where people are making some gains but taking too many losses that drag them back.

I am convinced this is the main reason why some traders have been pulling in 200%+ a season and others struggle to beat the market at all. 

It’s usually the result of a gambling mentality. We don’t want huge highs and painful lows. We want huge highs and lows that make us go “meh, ok.” That’s achievable with good risk management.

I’ve spoken about this a lot recently. Minimising losses is always important, particularly so right now as we get towards the end of season.

If we are still holding players that lack the “full season fit” and do not have reasons to hold them in late season this will generally be the best opportunity left to ditch them before end of season sell off chatter really begins.

We’ve seen this sell off already happen to veterans, I expect it will increasingly happen to 18-28 year olds too unless there are good reasons to hold them into late season.

There can be a good reason to keep players that lack that fit, but we need to go through our portfolios and be satisfied we’ve got one for every player.

Lo Celso is a good example of a player you can make a case for keeping for now. He was at a lower price to start with so has some room to grow. He’s showing some good performance numbers, and can attract a premium as an EPL player with more eye catching performances.

You may still hold someone like Ilicic, wanting him for an upcoming CL match. All good.

You may be holding a very cheap youth punt and you are content with a long term hold into next season, and don’t care too much if he dips in the mean time. No worries.

But we should double check portfolios now and make sure that we don’t have any price drops waiting to happen.

There are plenty of borderline calls and getting one or two right or wrong isn’t going to make or break our season.

But, if we try to fight the trends too hard, we’ll lose. We need to make life easy for ourselves by not stubbornly holding onto players who have obvious negative drags on them. 

Many people particularly struggle to do this if they don’t want to sell at a loss. 

But it’s no time to be stubborn, if the player isn’t the right for the trends ahead, they aren’t right, and we should generally be biting the bullet and moving our money to better places.

Other players that are particularly vulnerable are any that has had a recent large price increase and is currently being pumped up on social media or chat groups as a “must have”, particularly where they lack any real FI suitability for performance or media dividends. Scouting helps identify the good from the bad here. 

People like to buy players that seem to be popular and are rising, it’s one of the psychological traps a lot of people fall into with trading because we have a natural pack mentality. 

We want to stick close to others. We hate buying things that are falling. But in trading, avoiding following others and going where others aren’t is usually exactly what you want to be doing. 

See my pre-season results article as to why – and spot all of the “must have” players that went on to have a car crash weeks or months later. Also note how few of them went on to do well after the big breakout moment.

As part of this cleaning house objective, I’d encourage members to check out this Guide on portfolio management. 

This guide also tackles another common reason for underperformance – too much of the portfolio allocated to the most expensive players in the market, either intentionally or by accident.

Maintain a core portfolio of at least 40% and ideally closer to 60% of "full season fit" players.

Objective 2

For the reasons given in The Road Ahead above, I see no reason to abandon this ground yet. 

Unless something unexpected happens with a big new announcement from FI or similar, there is every reason to be prioritising the “full season fit” player in the months ahead.

We’ve been doing this for a while, and it’s been working very well. Many have reached high prices in the £2-£5 range already. Can they go further? I think so, in many cases.

The funnelling effect I described above, combined with all of the chances they have to gain attention from the CL/Europa, domestic wins, Euro 2020 hype and performances, and/or a Summer transfer gives them plenty of opportunities.

In particular, look out for what I am calling “combo” players who have multiple late season reasons to hold. If they are at Euro 2020 and have a big transfer chance for example, they could really be flying come April time particularly when they have real performance potential at their expected destination club.

As a core of the portfolio, full season fit players are still absolutely the best place to be. 

The criteria I use for this full season fit player is below.

In an ideal world, for members who have been with the site a while, most of this business would have been wrapped up already as it has been part of Key Strategy and State of the Market advice for months now.

But we have lots of new members recently too (welcome!) and I do not think it is too late for this at all. If starting fresh now, I would 100% be making sure the core of my portfolio was made up of these players.

If our portfolio does not have 40-60% in this area already, there is still some time. The January “silly season” has distracted many from the real trends ahead, so there is still value in this area (Scouting helps here, as do my various articles like the recent CL/Europa articles etc).

But I’d say this is a priority and we should not hang around on this too much longer.

Also, as we have seen recently, opportunities will come along as players come in and out of form. 

We can’t just sit on these players, they will still need monitoring through Scouting so that any who become weak can be ditched, and any players that emerge as strong with a good fit can be added.

We don’t have to hold everything, either. If we have a player who has reached a high price, and they have now become a very large % of our total portfolio (say 7.5% to 10%), I’d generally take a bit of profit, perhaps bringing them down to around 5% to 7.5% of total portfolio value. 

This is nothing to do with whether I think the player may rise further or not – it’s just good risk management. When a player gets injured or similar, and it can happen to any player, we don’t want to take too big a hit.

Full Season Fit Selection Criteria

Essential: Performance Quality

hey will be quality performance players or potentially good quality, ideally at least 4 out of 5 stars for potential but no less than 3 out of 5 stars

For a player 21+ or older, we likely want to see a good current rating as well as potential because they will need to be demonstrating consistent strong performance scores to maintain momentum, especially at higher prices.

For a player under 21, we can be a bit more forgiving of current ratings provided their potential rating is high.

We want to avoid any poor players who are going to be exposed by consistent weak performance scores, particularly if carrying a high price.

I will assist with this weekly through the Scouting section (and the site Player Ratings are there for reference, too). 

Essential: Broadly match Site trends for age and playing position

In general youth is still a positive force especially for attacking players. However, they must have a realistic prospect of playing regular football as per the other criteria. 

21-24 is a great age provided the player is getting regular minutes. 24-27 can be where a player is in his prime and delivering his best results whilst not being too old that it starts to impact his value. These are the most reliable ages to target.

Under 21 players that show 4 out of 5 stars or greater potential for performance as well as a good trend fit should usually be bought heavily provided the price is right. 

However, many young players are currently sitting at prices well above what they deserve. Be careful with this and generally stick to players who offer value and have real potential. Today’s hype kid is so often tomorrow’s disaster.

For older players at 28+ we should be much more cautious on them now than we were in Early Season Strategy. 

There can be exceptions. If they have strong performance suitability, a late season reason to hold, and have a fairly certain future for next season (i.e a long contract at a great club) we can be a bit more relaxed.

Essential: Price

Price is everything.

A player can be an exact match for all of our criteria but if the price is already flying way above site Guide Prices, we need to consider this very carefully and consider whether they have room to grow.

Of course, many Full Season Fit players will by now be at prices in the £2 to £4+ range. 

This can be fine, provided they genuinely deserve those prices because of their trend fit and performance strength. I would not stress at this point about paying a reasonable price for a quality player to build my core portfolio, even if that was in the £2 to £4 range.

If they match the full season fit criteria, there isn’t likely to be a better opportunity to sign them up this season. Not one we can foresee now at least.

The stronger the fit with these selection criteria the more we can be prepared to pay. But, we must always find the best value we can and ensure we leave realistic room to grow.

Essential: Champions/Europa League involvement and Euro 2020 involvement OR a Summer transfer

This is not just because of the extra games and chances to win, it’s another reason for people to keep that player deep into the season.

By now, our portfolio must be set up to resist any worries about an “end of season sell off” later on and this is crucial.

There can be some exceptions. If a player meets all of the Essential criteria but lacks CL, Europa or Euro 2020 involvement I will not refuse to buy them but they would need to be particularly strong and particularly good value. These players would be covered under Objective 3.

But a “core player” needs that full season fit.  

Cornerstone 1 Examples from Scouting: Gnabry, Werner, Griezmann, Van Dijk, Brandt, Lewandowski, Coman, Kroos, Lukaku, Kai Havertz, Eriksen, Fabian Ruiz, B Fernandes (depending on first Man. United scouting reports!). 

Note: It is debatable whether very highly priced players like Kevin De Bruyne or Alexander-Arnold would be included and I get asked this a fair bit. Whilst they have quality and a great trend fit, they would fall foul of my above “price” selection criteria. The prospects of large further rises compared to what you can get elsewhere are limited because of their sheer popularity.

Price remains a factor even with strong trend fit players. I think they are solid holds but the risk is that if too much of your bankroll is occupied by them they can draw your money away from targets that can rise more and hit your overall ROI. There are far worse players to be holding though – their strength is not in doubt.

Fill the remaining 40-60% of the portfolio with a pick and mix from the following areas.

Objective 3

If 40-60% of our portfolio is made up of the above core full season fit selections, we should branch out a bit with the rest of it to pursue other opportunities. 

High Potential Young Players

The first area to look at is high potential youth players. As a rule, I stick to youth players of genuine potential. 

For the 5-10 of these that come along per season, I usually buy them up in very large quantities when I am convinced. Stengs, Curtis Jones are perhaps the best examples from this season. Havertz, Felix, Fernandes would be good ones from last.

But I leave the overhyped garbage well alone. This will mean missing the odd spike in the latest fad, but it also saves me a ton of money when they crash.

What I am talking about is young players of genuine performance potential. Stengs for example has delivered a win already and it’s the reason he can keep rising and potentially blow up later if he gets a good transfer link. People will remember that win.

Recently in January, the youth hype players have picked up momentum again mainly I think due to the examples of Haaland and Cherki. But let’s not have short term memories. A similar thing happened in early October, and by the end of that month we saw a youth player bonfire.

By sticking to high potential youth, we avoid these types of losses.

Where we have a youth target of genuine quality, we should be looking to aquire them in large quantities if:

– They are high potential, at least 3 out of 5 stars and ideally 4 out of 5 stars for performance potential in my ratings.

– The price drops to good value level, at least under £1.50 or £1.75 for extremely high potential players.

– They have a reasonable chance of getting a good transfer rumour come Summer OR can realistically play first team football at a performance suitable club next season.

Examples from Scouting: Stengs, Curtis Jones, Dani Olmo, Pedrinho, Aldulkadir Omur, Alphonso Davies, Reguilon, Pasalic, Upamecano, Tolisso, Zielinski, Aouar, Cornet, Aouchiche. 

Quality Underperformers

The best recent example has been Brandt, who had a tough season, but as per the Scouting reports, had a big turn around and now looks a great hold from here.

If they have a full season fit, fantastic. If they don’t, that can be fine for now provided the price is right (Lo Celso for example).

Stay tuned to Scouting and I’ll highlight these as and when they come up. (And on the flip side, if a good player looks to have declined, I’ll let you know).

Examples from Scouting: Havertz, Eden Hazard, Suso (worth watching at Valencia), Cengiz Under, Lo Celso, Isco, Alcantara, Lorenzo Insigne (note that these are players I think have high potential but are currently underperforming). 

Transfer Prospects

We can be thinking of the Summer transfer window even in February. 

If we have a quality player who can be winning throughout the rest of this season, a good Summer transfer link can be a solid substitute for a lack of Euro 2020 involvement.

Generally, the stronger their performance strength, trend fit and desirability the sooner we want to be signing them up, particularly where they have good prospects for the rest of the season such as CL or Europa involvement.

If that’s the case, I’d generally just sign them up in February, particularly if they just took a price hit because those expecting a January transfer sold up in disappointment.

We want to avoid moving too early though. This can be a waste of time and cost us the opportunity to invest elsewhere. 

We may be able to get away with waiting where a player is a little under the radar, they are not moving in price, and are not likely to do anything to get attention like win (because they are at a small club etc).

Late March or April might be a better time to go for these players.

Examples from Scouting: Federico Chiesa, Insigne (maybe?), Moussa Dembelé, Kai Havertz, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Fabian Ruiz, Rodrigo De Paul. 

In Play Dividends

IPD’s remain lucrative now, provided the players are ideally under £1 and up to £1.20. It can also add a bit more value to an occasional performance challenger in the 2 out of 5 stars or 3 out of 5 stars range.

Where the player is not on trend they can be particularly great value for that reason. An elite veteran at 31 years old for example could well be near his goal scoring peak but be very cheap because of the usual fear of decline. 

But for IPD purposes this does not matter very much and his goals are all going to payout the same during a big streak.

I point these out in Scouting fairly often. They aren’t a priority, but for those with a little extra time, this can be a nice way to grind out a bit of short term profit.

Examples from Scouting: Belotti, Plea, Luuk De Jong, Kramaric, Morata. 

Selected Elite Veterans

Often in trading, going against the grain works. This deviates a bit from core strategy but this will work in some cases.

With lots of elite veterans having taking a beating in November and December and many continuing to do so, some may come back into value range again before too long.

I will definitely consider short term punts on these, particularly for CL and Europa Gold Days and strong runs of fixtures.

This is generally best done just for weeks or months, and I usually go for the players where the market is actually over reacting to their age.

If they are 29-31 and almost certain to be playing next season with a long contract at a good club, I’m much more relaxed about punting on them for a short period.

32+ where one injury could lead to retirement… not so much. 

Examples from Scouting: Ilicic, Gomez, Alex Sandro, Willian, Mertens, Benzema, Immobile, Milik.

Small team Euro 2020 players

In the next month or two, it will be worth signing up a few low key Euro 2020 players.

These are performance suitable players we may or may not have heard of at cheap prices, who will play for a smaller team at the Euros and should have a bit of optimism due to a good opening fixture or similar.

I call this the “Bulgarian Messi” player due to the often hilarious attempts on social media to justify buying some random no hoper.

But where we can find a good one, they can be worth having early so that we can profit when other people switch on late to Euro 2020.

And during the tournament, I might have some fun with them too.

I recall picking out Granqvist’s win in the World Cup on Twitter as a high baseline defender with penalties who I think was something like 29p and that was a good day when it came off, with a dividend win and a rise to 50p+. 

Paid for a few rounds anyway but then I only had two friends whose favourite drink was “cooking lager”. 

Examples from Scouting: Haven’t looked into this yet, but I will run an article scouting this in the coming weeks.

Premium / Media

I have not widely held premium priced players (top 10 or so) since I sold them to traders getting far too excited by them in advance of the Share Split early last year.  

Since then, this category of player has had a rough time generally throughout the whole of 2019 and most of them stagnated or declined with a few exceptions.

One of the biggest mistakes I see in portfolios is a tendency to hang on to too many over priced premium players too long. 

Even if you don’t see losses, the money locked up in there can be the silent killer of a total ROI because the opportunity cost is huge.

However, circumstances change. As we look forward to a likely Summer dividend increase, I do see value in a limited number of premium picks for those who like to.

But, I recommend keeping them to reasonable levels, probably around 10% of total portfolio value in premiums and not much more than that if a trader wants to shoot for optimal ROI.

They will need a very strong trend fit, with CL involvement, or Euro 2020 or a good Summer transfer at minimum.

As a general rule, to support a premium price (let’s call it £5+) I want genuine and consistent returns for my money in BOTH media and performance. 

Not vague promises of “potential” where 7 different events have to happen before they start justifying the price.

But for the coming months, you might get away with something like Mbappé because of the trend fit despite his weak returns.

We should not hold premium players who have obvious drags on the price. 

For example, Messi is suffering because of age and a lack of full season fit

Pogba has the shadow of an EPL exit over him and as I’ve said for nearly a year now – whilst that remains true – the price is always going to struggle.

Premium prices should at least be buying us an easy life, even if they don’t deliver the biggest returns.


Examples from Scouting: Neymar, Sterling, E Hazard, Mbappé, Sancho, possibly Kane recovery depending.

Final Thoughts

The main objective of Winter Strategy was to get to the end of January with a core of full season fit players and having ditched any players likely to be vulnerable to an end of season sell off. 

If we aren’t there already, either because you are a newer member, or because you only read my stuff for the banter rather than the advice, I think we want to move fast on those two points.

It’s far from too late, I think the silly season in January has been a distraction that means many full season fit players haven’t run away yet. But I wouldn’t want to wait on this too much longer.

We’ll stick on the territory of core full season fit players from Objective 2 for now, as the trends indicate that more and more people will need to come here as the season gets on. 

But, we shouldn’t be complacent on these players. Through Scouting, we should keep refining things, cutting off the weak and adding the strong and gaining an advantage that way.

I haven’t decided yet whether at some point in the season the majority of them should be sold if we experience a rush to them, or whether some can be kept throughout the tournament and beyond. Likely, it will be a mix and depend on individual players and what happens on the market.

At the same time, with the Objective 3 players, we should be looking outside of the Core selections for value in other areas such as genuinely high potential youth and Summer transfers.

I’ll be publishing regular articles on these themes with analysis and suggestions for who might fit the bill, as I did recently for the CL/Europa, and the Under £1.50 articles.

The second half of the season is much more volatile than the first. The end of season sell off fear, Euro’s, and probably FI announcements we don’t even know about yet.

But, if you’ve digested this strategy, you should be well equipped for whatever comes. And I’ll be here with the weekly State of the Market where I’ll discuss the in’s and out’s of each week.

I’ll also run Live Blogs and analysis on any changes FI make where I set out what they mean and who the winners and losers are. 

So members will never be without my thoughts on what is coming up next.

Below, in Further Reading, I’ve included some Top Tips for Success that apply to any strategy. I see a lot of portfolios, and when the holder is unhappy with the results, it almost always stems from the reasons I’ve discussed here.

There are also 5 other factors that are worth being aware of including Order Books and the expansion of FI into new territories. You’ll find my thoughts on all this below!

I hope existing members have had success from the previous Key Strategies, and for those of you joining for the first time, welcome!


Further Reading

Top Tips For Success

Through the site, members will have an advantage in knowing the real quality of performance players, and good insights into the trends ahead.

But the way that you manage your portfolio is also key to success. Two traders could pick exactly the same players, but end up with very different results if they carve up their portfolio differently!

I get sent a lot of portfolios on Twitter and where the holder is underwhelmed with the results, these are the two most common factors.

Portfolio Balance

Making sure the portfolio has the right number of players for you to manage, and crucially, with the right amount of money allocated to each. 

A common approach is buying the same number of shares in each player. It can make you a fairly passive trader almost by accident. This can be fine if this is what you intended. But this way, your portfolio can be too top heavy, and your cheaper and potentially higher returning trades don’t have enough cash in them to get you paid when they do well.

When seeking more ambitious results, I therefore recommend having a target % of portfolio value allocated to each player instead. I have a guide on this here

Two steps forward, one step back 

Lots of people tend to make money on some trades but then take beatings on other players, ending up with limited progress.

This usually reflects a gambling mentality. Chasing hype, following the latest social media “must have”. Look at the pre-season results to see what happens to “must haves” after they have had their breakout moment.

Our primary objective is to maximise gains. We talk a lot about making profit. We don’t talk enough about minimising losses. It’s crucial. Not only did your loss making player lose you money, or spend 6 months stagnating, that was a lost opportunity to use that money productively.

If you ever wonder why some people have been making 200%+, and others struggle to beat the market at all, this is why.

This is why I share my Key Strategy and weekly State of the Market Updates with members. My objective here is to help us trade ahead of the market and be leading it, not following it.

One of the most important skills to have is to be able to see a player you don’t own flying, see everyone chattering about it on social media, and be able to leave it well alone and not let it bother you.

If someone won a gamble and is crowing about it, it probably means they lost a few others and didn’t tell anybody!

Our overall results will be the sum total of all our decisions, not just one trade.

See my public blog on the 18/19 season where I made a 220% profit in this portfolio. Picking the right players was very important. But equally, the reason for this great return is that it almost never took any losses. And when it did, they were very mild. 

In trading, not losing money is as important as making it.

Road Ahead - Other Factors

Team of the week or “loyalty dividend”

Existing strategy plays into this already, should it happen. In the end, it will only reward players who are good at performance scoring further. 

A team of the month style system based on something like a total score of the month would help a small selection of high baseline, low peak score players. 

But, it is also going to boost existing good players who have both a high baseline and peak scores, and these players are the most likely to win the team of the month dividend anyway because high bases + peaks will beat high bases and low peaks generally.

Besides, it may not happen, and Adam Cole has hinted as much recently instead suggesting it may be a “loyalty” dividend which would imply a reward for longer term holders. 

This is not something I think we can trade for specifically now, but rather something I would just expect to reward good players anyway. 

It’s one of those things we naturally put ourselves on the right side of when we buy quality rather than overhyped garbage.

Dividend Review

We should see a dividend review in Summer, and it would be reasonable to expect at least a modest increase in dividends before next season.

This is only going to be a net benefit for high quality players who actually return dividends, and a drag for hype players who are at high prices based on speculation rather than substance.

Anyone around in October at the last dividend increase will remember this.

Again, just by trading in high quality players, we put ourselves on the right side of these events and “make our own luck”.

New Territories

Opening up FI to other countries with a single market (i.e Germany or Spain would trade in the same FI we do, rather than having their own version) is a long standing goal and there are some hints that it may be getting closer.

Possibly for next season, but they could catch us off guard and announce this at any moment.

This would have a huge impact on market values that I don’t think many fully appreciate.

At the moment, EPL players tend to be particularly poor value. As a UK focused product, there is a natural EPL bias because people like to trade in what they know, and big performances in the EPL get a lot more attention and traders watch much more of it. 

Even very weak FI players will get attention if they are getting good reviews on Match of the Day or similar.

And, many get media premiums because the media sources are very EPL centric.

Much of the value (and certainly the majority of my profits) come from shopping outside of the EPL, largely for these reasons.

If we see a market open up in Germany or Spain (just examples, could be anywhere) users in these countries would likely have their own domestic bias and media dividends may broaden out away from the EPL with more focus on other leagues.

This would mean a negative drag on premium EPL assets who are expected to return a lot of media. It would be a significant positive for non EPL players, who would naturally attract more buyers from new traders in that country, and would likely have a greater chance of winning media if foreign media had more clout in media rankings.

Non EPL players usually offer the best value anyway, so if this ends up not happening, nothing is lost. 

But this gives a further reason to be reducing holdings in EPL players, who are often poor value anyway, in favour of branching out into the other 4 leagues to put ourselves on the right side of these potential changes when and if they happen. 

For interest, I just checked my portfolio and just 2 of the 36 players currently in it are in the EPL, and that includes Bruno Fernandes! And I have not been trading on the assumption of New Territories yet.

But I think increasingly, we should factor that in more in the coming months.

Performance Tweaks and Positional Shifts

I would also expect Summer to come with some tweaks to the performance scoring system, and possibly some Summer positional reclassifications alongside.

On performance scoring tweaks, I would expect more modest changes than last year. The scoring system is by and large doing it’s job in my view but it has a few rough edges. 

Top of the list would be inaccurate crossing to not be rewarded so heavily as it is often one that casual observers consider ridiculous, I’d tend to agree. 

Given that 50-70% of crosses are inaccurate even for the best players, this could hit a lot of popular players like Hudson-Odoi, Alexander-Arnold, Coman, De Bruyne, Mendy.

You could also look at something like boosting further Key Passing, or reducing the penalty for giveaway passes to better reward final third attackers who are passing under more pressure than the tip tapping in midfield and defence.

Overall, I think it is a bit early to worry too much about this, and it’s something I’ll consider probably for the next strategy.

I welcome changes overall, firstly if it can make the scoring system better and more attractive to football fans that’s good for all of us. 

Secondly, increased uncertainty is good for the site since it will throw who is a good performance player up in the air again, and I’ll be able to help us work that out first and profit from it as happened this season.

Positional shifts for players are just something that can happen at anytime.

My best advice here is as on the Dashboard under risks – avoid holding players that are at risk of a reclassification that is going to hurt them.

Order Books

Lots of talk of Order Books at the moment, I personally think it is a touch early to be worrying too much about this.

It could have a significant impact later in the year, but it will take most a while to get their heads around it. 

It will open up opportunities for smarter traders to outfox the casual punter I am sure. 

In particular I see myself doing more shorter term trades then since you can set this up to run automatically once prices reach various levels.

I have a Guide on this and I think it’s useful to be aware of what they are, but not to sweat too much yet. I’ll cover this more later in the year.

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