Wednesday 26th July, 2017.
At The Gaffer Tapes, we are globally regarded as Fantasy Football experts… shut up, we are.
We’re the go-to guys when you need fantasy football discussion. When Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic (we just call him Asmir) needed a couple of knowledgeable sausages on his Season of Sport Podcast, Ash and Tom rose to the occasion like the proverbial salmon. When talkSPORT came knocking for a fantasy football expert: bang – look no further than Craig “Quinoa” Hazell.
But, until recently, we’ve felt like frauds…
To be able to fully know fantasy football, to be able to experience all the different aspects of the game, we needed to take it to the next level… and that next level was draft.
In the United States, draft fantasy is colossal. It’s a multi-million dollar/several-thousand pound* industry. The UK is clearly cottoning onto this and the official Fantasy Premier League game has just released its own version of draft fantasy. But we wanted to go with the real big boys, no half-measures here at the UK’s biggest Fantasy Football Podcast… unless you count the half measure of Campari that Ash adds to his Vimto of an evening. So, we went with TOGGA.
*look up exchange rates, before publishing.
We wanted to do it all properly and fully embrace the experience, like the Americans do, so the first – and most integral – part of the draft is the actual draft itself. The three of us invited a select few official Gafferazzi who sponsor the podcast through Patreon, to join us at the Double Bill Café, above the famous PimpShuei bar in London. Myself, Ash and Craig were joined by Chuck "Chucky Charms" Bailey, Joe "Bloomhead" Bloom, Johnny "King of the Patrons" Worthington, Adam "Race for Life" Race, Raphaël “Chateaux” Briand, Max: The Naked German, James “Mental Email of the Week” Doncaster and Ian “Far too many nicknames to mention” Stimson. Also, playing via his laptop, from his honeymoon… seriously… was Oscar P, bringing a bit of knowledge and American diversity to the otherwise incredibly British proceedings. Several listeners turned up to enjoy the proceedings, as well as Togga Writer and Expert John Montgomery.
The order of the draft is incredibly important. It determines what order you get to pick in and makes the difference between whether you get the guy you wanted, or someone you’re really not all that interested in. Craig decided the order of the draft by asking us to pick a number between 1 and 100, and the closest to the number he had in mind, the better number in the draft order. It turns out that the number Craig was thinking of was 42, as – in a characteristically meta nod to ourselves – this is the percentage of meat in a Richmond sausage… if this means nothing to you, listen to our podcast. No, it is a football podcast, honest, we’ve got an award that says so and everything. My guess of 92 was clearly wrong (I was hoping the number he was looking for was the amount of podcasts we had done, the Togga Draft Special being our 92nd). Alas, I came last in Craig’s weird-made-up mind-game thing (good name for a TV Show and/or Boardgame) and was picking twelfth. Bollocks.
However, once we had pressed record and the game was live, I realised I didn’t need to be as worried as I was. Max: The Naked German was first up. Max was a guest from Season 1 of the podcast that some people had forgotten about, very much like when Blackfish returned to Game of Thrones after several years and everyone had to google him and went “Ooooooh yeah, him!” Max’s first pick, and the first pick overall, was Eden Hazard… a player injured until about the middle of September. This was going to be fun.
Strikers and the most attacking of midfielders came and went first: Kane, Lukaku, Sanchez. Someone picked a defender early: everyone jeered. We recorded the podcast throughout. Free beer was flowing, so was the friendly rivalry and paperwork… seriously, there was a lot of paperwork; people came prepared. There was even a highlighter.
Some of us made some great picks. Some of us – not so much. Yes, maybe I did pick Ibrahimovic and Costa who may or may not be playing in the Premier League next season, and yes, maybe I did pick Kolarov who may or may not have signed for Roma a few days before the draft and as a result definitely won’t be playing in the Premier League next season. But we all make mistakes.
The draft was such an incredible laugh and the couple of hours flew by. For nearly all of us, it was our first draft, and the experience of it took fantasy football to the next level. The Gaffer Tapes will be playing our draft through Togga next season, without a doubt. Since the release of the Live Draft Podcast, we have had a lot of listeners and twitter followers starting up their own unofficial Gafferazzi Togga draft leagues and we URGE you to do it, it is so much fun.
Download the Togga App, or go online, get a few mates together, and do a draft, we promise you, you won't regret it.
Listen to our Live Togga Draft Special Podcast on iTunes, Android or on our website.