The Fantasy Football Scoutcast
Let Mark and Granville sniff out your clean sheets and assist your fantasy football season with a regular serving of stuff and nonsense from the English Premiership. News and analysis is mixed with lively banter between the two bitter mini-league rivals as the pair laugh off a life of mid-table mediocrity.

Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which normally finds us two un-wise men camped in the studio clutching presents and forlorn hopes of a festive points bonanza.  This year, Granville and I appear sans gifts but with familiar Fantasy aspirations ahead of the punishing holiday schedule.

 

My Christmas spirit is at least buoyed by the fact that I’ve wiped the indignity of a three-figure mini-league gap between myself and my co-host, although Granville still seems to be in pipe and slippers mode. He’s all set to camp himself in front of the Two Ronnies repeats, safe in the knowledge that he’s got this season wrapped up. I just wonder.

 

Granville battles complacency to join me while we sift through the ScoutCast regulars and find time to pray at the altar of Luis Suarez. The most effective Fantasy Footballer ever? Much it pains some to admit it, the case for the defence is looking flimsy. 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP120_Wrap.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:28pm UTC

Feeling rougher than a Lee Cattermole tackle, I manage to patch myself up to share a microphone with Granville for another Podcast episode. Tonsils in tatters, the usual round of blows come my way as my co-host strolls into the distance with a comfortable three-figure lead.

 

We talk Rooney vs Aguero and rinse through the ScoutCast regulars, while I end up getting misty-eyed about Stephen Ireland – one of a select band of “soft spot” players who rise to the top of my watchlist at the first sign of a semblance of form. And I wonder why I’m struggling.

 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP119_Throaty.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:44pm UTC

Having made a huge two-point dent in Granville’s mini-league lead, it’s time to change strategy. I’ve been complacent for too long, allowing my rival and co-host a weekly insight into my plans, welcoming in his nagging little voice to play havoc as I hover over the transfer button. As my phoenix-like ascent prepares for take-off, it’s time to play cagey.

With my transfer plans kept hushed, Granville does his best to use his Darren Brown like powers to have me reveal all. Along the way we assess the week’s transfer activity in “all aboard”, preview the weekend’s fixtures and decide whether any Fantasy manager can possibly do without the Aguero/Suarez captain combo.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP118_Cagey.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:07pm UTC

Not often acclaimed for his sage -like wisdom, Granville is enjoying his season in the sun and is firing advice, sympathy and jibes my way, in equal measure. With little to lose, I’ve even resorted to taking his guidance on board. After spending points on transfers on the Mancunian’s recommendation, I’m looking on my squad with optimistic eyes, although Granville is far from convinced that I made the “greatest hits”.

After raining on my revival parade, Granville joins me to talk Suarez, Oscar vs Hazard and Jim Bowen before we roll out the podcast regulars – “All Aboard”, the weekend preview and the usual dalliance with the ScoutCast team. 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP117_Hits.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:40pm UTC

These are hazardous times. Shopping in midfield is a thankless task, with little value and consistency on offer, aside from a pair of dominant forces who threaten to break the season, along with the hearts and minds of those too stubborn to jump on board their seemingly relentless bandwagons. 

In this latest episode of the podcast, I lay the blame for my inept season squarely at the feet of my failing midfield and my reluctance to give Aaron Ramsey the time of day. Oh, how I crave those predictable days of the ever-reliable “Power Five”.

Granville does his best to ensure that my moans fall on sympathetic ears, although his sniggering gives him away on more than one occasion. In between giggles, my co-host joins me to dissect the week’s transfer activity, preview the weekend’s fixtures and mastermind another mediocre Gameweek for the ScoutCast lineup.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP116_Minefield.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:34pm UTC

A green arrow offers renewed hope for a stalling Fantasy campaign as I desperately cling to Granville’s coat tails. A sixty-point gap gives my co-host plenty to feel smug about and, as he moves to cover my Silva lining in midfield, you can almost sense the desperation in my voice as I’m left “squirming”.

 

Positive thinking and Granville’s inexplicable urge to keep the armband from Suarez offers a glint of light as I sit down to take another beating over the ScoutCast airwaves. We talk City rotation, Oscar vs Hazard and midfield failings, before assessing this week’s bandwagons and rinsing through the Gameweek fixtures.

 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP115_squirm.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:24pm UTC

And so it goes on. With Granville bemoaning a “reasonable” 58-point Gameweek, I slip further into the mire as my team of differentials, mis-placed punts and failed opportunities continue on their relentless decline.

 

Slowly but surely the roles are being reversed in our weekly chat – as I recall my latest errant transfer and Granville struggles to curb his smugness: he even talks about himself in the third person.

 

As I desperately clutch at straws and roll out some positive thinking, my co-host halts his stream of advice to analyse the week’s rolling bandwagons and preview the weekend fixtures, whilst discussing the crunchy topics.

 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP114_plunge.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:18pm UTC

We return from the international break to find Granville totally smitten by Ravel Morrison. While that particular bro-mance takes me by surprise, the shock of my co-host agreeing with me twice on one ScoutCast is perhaps even more jarring. 

I guess Granville can afford to be generous. With a 41-point gap between us, the Mancunian may still be laid up by an untimely knee-op but he’s sitting comfortably when it comes to our Fantasy rivalry. 

In between sonnets dedicated West Ham’s troubled talent and jibes aimed at my struggling season, Granville joins me in rinsing through the current bandwagons, previewing the weekend and discussing topics such as Suarez’s lost bonus points. He also helps with the mispronunciation of Adnan Januzaj’s name on 72 occasions. We’re now praying he slips back into the reserves. 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP113_Ravelations.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:23pm UTC

Back after a five-week break, Granville and I have squeezed in two holidays, two wildcards, an engagement (certainly not to each other), a dose of man flu and a near-on leg amputation. Packed, I tell thee. 

The other highlight has been the steady and consistent decline of my Fantasy season, giving my co-host Granville plenty of ammunition. Reclined in his armchair, leg braced like James Stewart, the stricken Mancunian leaves his Rear Window to investigate the murder of my fantasy team.

Once the taunting dies down, we manage to tackle the old regulars: bandwagons are assessed, the weekend is previewed and the ScoutCast team gets some love on its way to outscoring my lineup for a fifth week running. Oh the joy. 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP112_Crutch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:44pm UTC

There are no brown envelopes in sight, this “bung” is firmly placed in my nasal passages as I clamber from my man-flu grief pit to sit alongside Granville and take my Gameweek medicine. After seeing me off by 21 points, it’s only fair I gave my co-host his moment of glory, regardless of being short of match fitness.

Somehow we end up arguing about Robin van Persie once again, before taking a gander at the bandwagons rolling and preview the weekend’s action the only way we know how: by rambling and singling out some dubious player picks. 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP111_Bung.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:06pm UTC

He’s well travelled. He’s multi-lingual. He’s just 19 points behind me. Despite my best start to a Fanatsy Football season in living memory, Granville is right on my tail. In this latest episode of the ScoutCast, Granville takes delight in taunting me by wrapping his tongue around every “Pochettino” with ease, leaving me to struggle like Paul Merson with a mouth ulcer. 

In between the mispronunciations, myself and the “cosmopolitan manc” get heated about Robin Van Persie, rinse through the Gameweek 1 bandwagons, preview the weekend’s action and welcome the flying start made by this season’s ScoutCast team. It’s breathless stuff, squeezed into a low fat 40 minutes. 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP110_Cosmo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:56pm UTC

No thrills. Few spills. Just two men in a room talking about Fantasy Football.

Granville and I handed Jonty and the “Professor” an extended pre-season and rolled the ScoutCast back to its rawest form. Just myself and the Mancunian sharing our thoughts after a summer break and looking forward to another Fantasy campaign.

We talk double Gameweek assets, I roll out the van Persie duvet, Granville reveals more than he should about his team lineup and, around all that, we assess the early bandwagons and preview the weekend fixtures.

Forty-five minutes of two blokes talking about the stuff that’s rattling around in most of our heads right now.

It’s good to be back.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP109_Two_Men.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:55pm UTC

Ryan Giggs, Tom Jones, Terry Griffiths, the guy in the Apprentice with the eyebrows. These are the legends that Wales has brought us in recent years but, come the weekend, we might just find that Fantasy football unearths another. Tonight’s final episode of the campaign is a very special one as Jonty crashes the party with a special guest – a Welshman that most of us have been looking up to all season.

We chat to the FPL title challenger in the “Full Jonty” after we discuss the perils of the final day fixtures, check in on a much improved Professor, question the transfer trading in “All Aboard” and preview Sunday’s season farewell.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP108_Rarebit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39pm UTC

This week’s ScoutCast episode reminds us that there really is life outside of Fantasy Football. 

Like the pursuit of the “most consecutive hours spent in one building” for instance, or perhaps the “most impressive eating feat”. Both are key events, alongside Fantasy Premier League ranking, in an annual set of “Bloke Olympics” revealed courtesy of this week’s rather different “Full Jonty”.  Our friend in the community brings with an extraordinary tale of a top Fantasy manager who runs his life like an achievement list – not to be missed.

Around that, we find time to pop in on an off-colour Professor, welcome Mr Moyes to Old Trafford and discuss the options presented by the Michu fallout. 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP107_Olympian.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48pm UTC

With the ScoutCast survey results still resonating, we make minor tweaks to the trusted formula and still manage to clock up our longest episode yet. To be honest, with a double Gameweek looming and “Balegate” to pick through, this one could have run and run, particularly once I’d got “Significant Touch” by Phil Collins trapped in my head.

 

There’s plenty of discussion, another cameo from the Professor and his suffering Fantasy fortunes, the weekend preview and another Full Jonty which, this week, focuses on one Fantasy managers mysterious message from the “other side”. An event that inspires Jonty to go on the hunt for superstitious Fantasy managers.


Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP106_Significant.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:20pm UTC

Peaks and troughs – every Fantasy season has them and, this week, we revel in the Professor’s major trough in a futile attempt to break the man. After Robin Van Persie issues the boffin a spanking, the Professor shows his mettle by taking it on the chin. Admirable stuff. 

While we’d have gladly devoted this entire episode to such gloating, we do manage to squeeze in the regulars, whilst Jonty turns up with more community gold: the tale of a globe trotting Fantasy manager who takes his advice off Frankfurt clubbers and QPR fans, whilst trying to figure out the Russian phrase for “please, wireless, I’m desperate – I have Djibril Cisse up front!”.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP105_Troughs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:46pm UTC

Wednesday’s midweek matches push the ScoutCast back 24-hours, offering you a Crackerjack style Friday afternoon “treat”. Granville and I could certainly “crush a grape” after reaping the rewards from the Robin Van Persie captaincy and we can’t help allowing our smugness to seep through on several occasions, as we take the opportunity to mock both the Professor and Jonty on the recent failings of Wayne Rooney. Small victories.

Those two characters crash the party to bring us the latest forecast from the Rate My Team computer as part of our weekend preview, while Jonty brings us another “fortunate” member of the community to suffer the usual brand of “Full Jonty” analysis. The familiar smattering of regulars glue it all together, as we keep the momentum going with the finishing line now in sight.

 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP104_smug.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am UTC

The double Gameweek dominates episode 103 of the ScoutCast, providing a timely antidote a pitiful weekend of points scoring that saw even the great and good struggle. While your hosts hardly fit into that category, Granville and I dust ourselves down to rinse through the double Gameweek options, popping in on the Professor to get the “Rate My Team” viewpoint, before Jonty crashes the party to serve up another community themed conclusion.

 

This time around, Jonty brings a tale of armband woe: a Fantasy manager who misses the captain target with frustrating regularity. Whilst that manager’s luck should offer cheer, Jonty is also armed with a plethora of captain statistics that come courtesy of a former “Full Jonty” victim. Those particular revelations have me staring into the eyes of a certain Dutchman and wondering where it all went wrong.

 

 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP102_armband.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:49pm UTC

Sometimes, when in the presence of greatness, you can’t help feeling introspective. With Jonty rolling up with a very special “Full Jonty”, featuring none other than the current top ranked Fantasy Premier League manager, I cast my eye around my virtual dressing room with a feeling of disdain. What choice did I have but to gatecrash “Granny’s miffed”, reeling off my tale of woe as my once promising Fantasy season slips into oblivion. 

As for our Full Jonty candidate, his story is quite extraordinary. Managing from down under, using reports, highlights and stats to steer his team, this guy sleeps while we fidget and flinch at every clean sheet lost. Get your ears around this valuable insight into a top manager, whilst listening to some rather average ones reel off another round of ScoutCast regulars.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP102_First.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:46pm UTC

Wake up and smell the coffee. The ScoutCast returns to jolt us back into life and get us prepped for another Gameweek. After another dullard international break, we come back to life over 100 minutes, delivering the usual mix of chatter, banter, debate and community spirit.

 

Resigned to mini-league defeat, Granville enjoys pointing out how I’m oh so wrong on the price rise tax, James McClean and Maynor Figueroa’s Gameweek potential. Jonty crashes in having leaped above me in the contributors league for a quick Rooney-themed gloat, followed by another “Full Jonty”, which this week puts focus on a “no hits please, I’m cautious” Fantasy manager from the Scout community. All the regulars squeeze in amongst that lot to deliver a lengthy wake-up call. 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP101_Sleepy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:09pm UTC

One hundred up. Some achievement for two miserable so-and-so’s, confined in a room or hours on end, griping and gloating about Fantasy football.

 

I daren’t calculate the hours spent gazing into the beardy face of my Mancunian counterpart, or the minutes wasted while he moans about points on the bench. Equally, I doubt he’s recalling the hours he’s listened to me talk about Aleks Kolarov, Victor Moses or how my latest points hit will steer me to glory. Instead, we’ll look back fondly and remember the many, many good times.

 

Tonight’s special podcast includes a clip from the very first pilot show, Granville’s first, and some would say, last, attempt at ScoutCast humour. That’s followed by a flood of reminiscing, as Granville pinpoints some of his favourite episodes, while I see through my fixation with beating Last of the Summer Wine by checking out how they celebrated their own century of episodes, with depressingly predictable results.

 

Of course the regulars play their part, including the Professor and his Rate My Team computer and another stellar showing from the “Full Jonty”, this week featuring one of our very top managers in the community. Depressing stuff for a host just coming off the back of a red arrow.

 

Like Granville says, however, this is a time for celebrating. Here’s to the 100 and the next century to come. 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP100_Century.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:12pm UTC

One man’s personal battle to mastermind his beloved Fantasy Football team through extreme adversity steals the show in this week’s episode of the ScoutCast – and we’re not talking about Granville struggling with his BAFTA award-winning hangover. 

Episode 99 has all the usual ingredients as we look back on Gamweek 28, rinse through the Gameweek 29 options, pop in to disturb the Professor and his Rate My Team computer, analyse the transfer ins and outs and, of course, give another community member the “Fully Jonty” treatment. 

Jonty delivers a heart-warming and rather humbling account this week, emphasising just how far the dedicated Fantasy manager will go to steer his ship. Postponing your bedbath to play your Wildcard? You better believe it.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP9_Convalescence.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:13pm UTC

The ScoutCast emerges from under the duvet, Lemsip soaked and coughing and spluttering its way towards a century of episodes. After a two-week break, the full crew are assembled as Granville joins me to celebrate his Gameweek victory, Professor Chris Atkinson returns from the slopes to charge up his “Rate My Team” computer and Jonty chips in with another community-powered “Full Jonty”.<!--more-->

Around this we discuss the unlikely scenario of selling on Robin, give our Scout League leaders a shout-out, analyse the transfer ins and outs in “All Aboard” and look ahead to the weekend’s programme. 

The “Full Jonty” rounds things off as “Ginkapo” gets the treatment, prompting a love-in with a certain Serbian left-back. 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP98_Splutter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:36pm UTC

Better late than never, our ninety seventh episode of the ScoutCast delivers another 45 minutes of mirth, plus injury time. 

With the Professor otherwise engaged, it’s left to Jonty to provide backup to myself and Granville, arriving to deliver another “Fully Jonty” – the first to feature a community victim. 

Doosra’s Fantasy fortunes come under the microscope, revealing a penchant for bandwagons and knee jerk transfers. Nevertheless, we try to go easy on the experienced campaigner, rounding things off with the extraordinary tale of the Doosra rescuing Jonty’s dog – no really. 

That treat rounds off an episode that includes all the usual regulars, including our rinse through the forthcoming double Gameweek which Granville insists on placing within inverted commas: the weirdo. 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP97_Dogging.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:08pm UTC

As we close on a century of episodes it was time to freshen things up and bring new voices to accompany my drone and that of grumpy Granville. In this weeks’ episode, we draft in both “Professor” Chris Atkinson and his “Rate My Team” computer, plus long-time community member and contributor, Jonty, for a new ScoutCast regular.

Don’t worry, the usual format remains intact although, having recorded this just minutes after last night’s whistles, Granville escapes the usual mini-league grilling. Not surprisingly, there’s plenty of “Granny’s miffed” to endure, plus all aboard and the weekend preview. That’s’ rounded off by the “Full Jonty” a brand new feature that will bring you, the community, into our weekly ramblings. 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP96_Changes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:02pm UTC

Rush. The best form of goalkeepers for the playground. A long-haired Canadian prog-rock outfit. A mustachioed goal sniffer and, sadly, a description of how Granville and myself had to approach this latest episode of the podcast.

 

With our studio slot limited, we had to skinny things up and turn this one out double-time. Nonetheless, in 25-minutes, we touched on all the regulars, whilst scattering the silence in between with the usual sniping between the pair of us. It makes you wonder what we waste the other twenty minutes on every week.

 

Not to worry. Enjoy what you can of this little taster and look ahead to next week’s full-length return, when we’re planning a new feature and a new voice.

 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP95_Rush.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:55pm UTC

Back for 2013, fully refreshed, slightly rusty and balancing the same chips on our shoulders, Granville are I make a return to the podcast studio.

 

The New Year presents my beleaguered co-host with a 51-point gap to bridge as I spent Christmas “ho-ho-ing” about three midfield hat-tricks, leaving Granville to roll out one mighty miffed in this week’s episode.

 

Elsewhere we pick at the double Gameweek buffet, eagerly scoffing on the Chelsea canapés whilst wondering if Rafa has put something nasty in the vol-a-vents. We rinse through the latest transfers in and out in “all aboard”, preview all the weekend fixtures and carry out the latest emergency surgery on the ailing ScoutCast team.

 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP94_Resumption.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:34pm UTC

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