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Wildcard? Why Aye Man!

By James Dowdeswell

In the FPL world, the international break usually drags a little, but not this time. Newcastle United are the first club to hit the Wildcard. But unfortunately they can’t activate it properly until the January transfer window.

The football world was rocked by the news of Newcastle United being bought by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, suddenly making them the richest club in the world.

As the news came in, I was in a hotel bar in Scunthorpe. Ah the glamour! I watched the Sky news feed scroll in disbelief. What would this mean in real terms, and perhaps more importantly, in FPL?

Pics on Twitter showed Mbappe and Hyland in the famous black and white stripes. Bruce was reaching for his p45.

The January transfer window promises to be a cracker. Who will be playing for Newcastle? Will Manquillo still make the cut as a £4.0m. enabler?

On 23 January last year I compared Newcastle to Newky Brown on my Instagram:

“Like the Brown Ale, Newcastle United were once classic, and cool in the 90s. However their old style seems a bit turgid right now.

It has a fruity character, brilliant fan base, although over-reliant on the top notes of a Number 9, currently Calum Wilson.

Like poor Brucie, it has a dodgy nose, which slopes down towards the Gallowgate End.”

Different story now. Even brown ale has had a resurgence, and despite my flippancy I’ve always been quite partial to a brown ale.

Let’s hope the new dawn of Newcastle will be more like a pint of Guinness: famously black and white, rich, velvety, and proud.

After 14 long years under Ashley, good things come to those who wait, and the fans only had to wait 2 minutes, which is the same amount of time to pour the perfect Guinness, for Calum Wilson to score against Spurs on Sunday. Pure genius!

Ross, the owner of FPL Merch, is a Newcastle United fan. I wish him and all his fellow fans of the Toon the very best, despite losing to Tottenham, who have recently had an upturn in form.

Two weeks ago, I had time off from Fantasy and visited reality. I went to see my beloved Aston Villa play Spurs at Beavertown brewery.

After a few Neck Oils at the Goal Line Bar, I witnessed a scrappy, yet enjoyable game. Villa lost 2-1 and Son was the difference. When I drank “One Of Our Own” I thought of Son, rather than Kane.

My FPL eye test showed Son to be the go-to guy when Spurs hit a good fixture run. With his quicksilver feet, he was a constant nuisance, dancing down the left, and produced two assists. Two weeks later he bagged another goal against Newcastle.

Son is now the 3rd highest scorer in FPL with 51 points and despite his tricky price point of £10.1m he has to be considered. He has a great run and sea of green on the fixture difficulty rating from GW12. Although, as we know, Son is capable of scoring against anyone.

In beer terms, Son would be a Beavertown Neck Oil: beautifully balanced, hoppy, currently the most popular on match day, and leaves you wanting more.

Kane dropped far too deep in search of the ball against Villa, however against Newcastle, Kane was back on the front foot, scoring with a dink over Darlow. He followed up by providing an assist for Son. Is the double-act back on ready for their good fixture run from GW12?

Finally, spare a thought for Claudio Ranieri, whose appointment at Watford was rather overshadowed by events on Tyneside. After being thumped 5-0 by Liverpool, he might long for a billionaire of his own.

James Dowdeswell is a comedian and author of

“The Pub Manifesto: A Comedian Stands Up For Pubs.”

Twitter @jamesdowdeswell

Instagram @dowdeswell_drinks_well

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