1) What is your name?
Mark White, I'm also Markwhite27 on Footstock Chat and @MarkWhi22158012 on Twitter.
2) What is your Footstock related background?
I discovered FS via a Football Index (FI) Whatsapp group who were discussing it, and its potential to act as a disrupter to FI. Personally I think both are complementary, as they appeal to slightly different user groups and operate on completely different scales (at the moment).
I dabble in Fantasy Premier League (FPL), and am part of various family and work-related leagues. My daughter is far more focused on FPL and as such gives me a whopping almost weekly! I am also an avid player of Soccer Manager (www.soccermanager.com) and have been for about a decade. However, the lack of financial incentives associated with both mean that neither appeal as much as FI and FS. I am also a member of DraftKings, but much prefer the camaraderie of an FS tourney as opposed to that more anonymous platform.
I also own a number of cryptocurrencies, but am a passive trader (too much time is taken up by FI and FS!)
3) What is your portfolio size?
When I joined FS I think I was in ‘FI mode’. I joined via IndieGoGo and bought the package that offered you one of each player playing in the 18/19 league for just over £1.5k. My initial intention had been to buy the package that offered you the 18/19 and 19/20 seasons, but a gut instinct told me not to do so, as the market might drop considerably over the summer. That turned out to be a smart move as I have got all the new players I want for considerably less than the amount being initially asked!
Since then I’ve invested a further £1.5k, and have been reasonably successful in tourneys. My portfolio is currently worth around £4k with a £100 or so in the bank, so not a bad return on investment so far...
4) What is your portfolio structure?
The package I joined through meant that I have a broad spread of players across the portfolio. Bar Ashley Barnes (who I lost playing roulette just before the start of the season and whose price has now rocketed!) and Teemu Pukki (who will drop and hence doesn’t reflect a good investment currently in my view) I own every player on FS.
Again, with a bit of an FI mentality I tended initially to invest in young players with potential so I own 30+ cards of Harry Winks, Oliver Skipp, Harvey Barnes, Hamid Choudury, Juan Foyth, Sean Longstaff, Kyle Walker-Peters, Joe Willock, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes etc. However I am also a sucker for a ‘penny share’ so over the summer I accumulated a huge number (35+) of Danny Drinkwaters, Martin Kellys, Joel Wards and Florin Andones for 1p each. I’m a Palace fan so I knew that with Sakho and Tomkins injured and Aaron Wan-Bissaka transferred both Kelly and Ward would play. Andone back-fired on me when he was loaned after that red-card horror tackle - but at least I’ll now be able to swap him - I am addicted to swaps (see below)! However, the player I own the most of is bizarrely Jose Izquierdo - a combination of 1p buys and swaps.
Other than the youngsters, my portfolio operates more like a Christmas tree - I have 1-2 of the 5* players, 4-5 of the 4* players, 8-10 of the 3* players etc etc.
5) What is your strategy?
One of my favourite parts of FS is the ability to combine tournaments and trading - for me, this is the USP of FS - as rather than offering capital appreciation (CA) and dividends like FI, it offers CA and immediate cash returns. When the platform was very small, I used to enter all the tournaments, and won a fair few of the pro ones largely because of the cards I had and because so few others were entering those. Man City and Liverpool have been particularly good to me since joining. As the platform expands, and my own time has become a bit more constrained, I tend to focus more at the free, beginner and amateur tournaments, and leave the pro ones to people with more time than me to do the research. I’m a Palace season ticket holder so when I go to games I will only focus on 1-2 tournaments where I will select my team on the train down to the match.
For capital appreciation, I saw that the initial prices dropped quite considerably at the outset, and I knew that they would reduce further over the summer when there were no games to be played. Working on the principle that players can’t drop to less than a penny I bought a lot of 1-2p players who were either going to be first team choices in the 19/20 season or who I thought might get a transfer to another Premier League club. I’d also heard rumours that FS might offer some form of swap facility for players no longer in the league, and that once a player left the league their stats would be frozen. As such I bought a lot of 1* and 2* players who were either in relegated clubs, or who were certain to be transferred. The relegated clubs offered particularly good pickings and I managed to get a lot of Huddersfield, Cardiff and Fulham players for next to nothing. Joe Bryan, Tom Cairney, Anthony Knockaert and Ryan Babel were all 2* players I picked up for under 20p, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Soul Bamba were real bargains for under 10p! Mohamed Diame was another one I have a lot of, and I got lucky too with Laurent Koscielny being sold to me by disgusted Arsenal fans!
When the swapping opened up I had over 1000 cards to swap. I got hit when the prices for swaps were finally released as the 3* and 4* swaps were far more than I had anticipated. As such I used my 3* players and my sole Eden Hazard for roulette and had a fairly decent run with him and with Mitrovic. For my 1* and 2* players I think I got a bit too excited too early and swapped too many immediately. With the benefit of hindsight I should have held back on the 2* swaps as there is still a lot of dross at 2* at the moment (Boruc and Jagielka spring to mind). What I should have done is waited until the first update and then swapped them all then. I still have a lot of Koscielny’s and Diame’s however which I will keep until the update.
1* swapping is a bit of a lottery, but at the moment the returns outweigh the risks. Presently there are a lot of decent players from the promoted teams at 1* level (Max Aarons, Jamal Lewis, Todd Cantwell etc) who will secure you a decent return in the future whilst also providing a good price now as they are valuable for being new. There are also the Mason Greenwoods, Callum Hudson-Odois and Harry Wilsons who excite the FI brigade whether they play or not. My personal favourite, Phil Foden, is also still at 1* though I can’t see that lasting long...
My other strategy also commenced over the summer when I started investing in 1* and 2* players who were going to improve their stats considerably in the new season. I got onto Kevin De Bruyne a bit late (Dan beat me to that one!) but still have a lot of AWB’s, Dele Alli’s, Danny Roses and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlains. Finally, I also invest in injured players, so have a fair few Bellerins, Leroy Sanes and RLCs who will rise on their return to fitness.
6) What do you like about Footstock?
I think the future of Footstock is extremely bright if Till and Oliver ramp up the marketing. They have both done exactly the right thing at the outset by investing in the platform and responding to feedback from their users before splurging money on marketing and such like. In my view the results of this are clear to see - the FS platform is already far more robust in 4 months than the FI platform is in 4 years. Order books work, tournaments pay out promptly and customer service issues are resolved swiftly. I like the camaraderie of the user base too - which is a pleasant contrast to the more sharky and snipey FI twitter battles. You get the feeling that we are part of a community who help each other out - and the users and the owners are working as one to make FS a success.
I view FS more as a hobby than an investment. I’m confident that, over time, I’ll continue to get a return on my investment, but I don’t sell many players, and now that the season is underway I don’t expect I’ll purchase too many either. I will continue to monitor player prices, and will probably make my next significant investment in advance of the winter transfer window. Until then my plan will be to operate within my own current funds rather than make any significant top-ups.
7) Which players do you presently think are the best value and why?
I think those who invested in KDB when he was a 2* player will achieve the biggest returns on FS. When it first started he was trading at about £2.50 - and he is now over £15.
In fairness to FS they recognised that anomaly and have adapted the scoring system to stop that happening again. Him aside, I think there is still value in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who is one of the best full-backs I have seen. His current performance scores will make him a 5* player before long and he will achieve legendary status both in FS and in reality. I also think that either Dele Alli or RLC will be the 19/20 KDB - both are currently trading at around £2 and once fit both are likely to make the England squad for Euro 2020. Finally, whoever wins the battle to be first choice Man City left back between Zinchenko and Mendy will also rise considerably in my view.
8) What advice would you give a new trader?
For new traders I’d offer the following ‘top tips’:
a) FS is not FI, nor is it FPL. It has its own scoring system and incentive structure to which you need to understand and adapt. There is no point in hoarding lots of youngsters who never play. You need a broad spread of players from all the teams if you are going to enter tournaments and stand any sort of chance.
b) Always have some funds in your account. Buying and selling takes place in waves on FS, with a lot taking place during the night I find. There is nothing more annoying than missing out on a player drop because you don’t have enough money in your account.
c) Don’t have too many orders in at any one time. Whilst the order book is hugely convenient, if you don’t monitor them you can end up buying far too many of one player at one time, thus wiping all your funds.
d) FS rewards patience. On a match day people will invariably pay the buy price of a player. At all other times, you can get most players for your offer price, which can be 25%-30% lower. Hence when buying think about when you buy (Mon-Wed rather than Sat or Sun) and when selling, I find it’s best to put people up for sale on a Friday night ahead of match day.
e) Finally be careful with swaps and roulette. Both are exciting, but the returns offered on roulette after the first 5 spins are very poor. There is no point in paying 39p to win a 1p player. Similar with swaps - 9p and 99p are about right, though there is a broad range of quality at 2* level at the moment, once you start paying more than that the odds are no longer in your favour based on current prices.
9) What has been your best/favourite roulette win or swap?
For me my favorite swap was getting a Callum Hudson Odoi for a Julian Speroni. I literally had a Eureka moment in the bath when I won a Giovani Lo Celso in exchange for a Huddersfield player (I forget which one)!
Favorite roulette win was the all conquering Ashley Westwood where I got a Kevin De Bruyne, Rhian Brewster and a Harry Maguire in one session!
10) What are you most looking forward to about Footstock?
In the near future, I am excited about the next phase of the rewards programme. The existing one is very generous but fairly predictable, and I am looking forward to some of the more random asides that Till and Oliver have mentioned in the past (like owning the whole England team for example). These types of rewards, as well as being fun, will act as a bit of a disrupter to the market which is always good to see.
In the longer-term I am looking forward to seeing Footstock adverts on the Tube or on the side of taxis in London and being able to say knowingly to friends when it hits the bigtime - that was the thing I told you about months ago!
Footstock is the latest evolution in the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and Football Trading sector, it is disrupting the industry with rake free contests tied to player trading, this mix creates loyalty to a product never seen before.
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