What started as a drunken idea in a bar has morphed into this - a fantasy football podcast from me and my mates. The goal: make an interesting and entertaining fantasy podcast that might help you do alright, but hopefully not as well as me. We've heard what's out there, and we reckon we might be able to do just as well as those other duffers, maybe even better.

There's also some FC Tokyo stuff on here, but I now blog on all things Gasmen at On the Gas (click on link below).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

LMS Fantasy Football Podcast 2011/12 Episode 4

At a very noisy TGI Fridays in Machida last Saturday, four LMS Managers gathered for the Qualifying Round Draw for the 2011/12 LMS Cup.

The Cup Supremo, Graham and Pete were in fine form as we first played everyone's new favourite game "Your Teams Shit" then cracked on with the draw, with the help of Marco and Katy Perry (in that order).


P.S. Be careful with the volume. Did I mention it was very f#cken noisy?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

LMS Fantasy Football Podcast 2011-12 Episode 3

After a longer than expected absence, the LMS Fantasy Pod returns in triumphant style.

This 3-parter sees us debut a new feature "Your team's shit!" before giving a shoutout to the best in the world. We then gives our punts on teams and differentials for the next three weeks before the Monsieur argues me under the table in our discussion about team values. It then all gets a bit messy at the end, but hey, thats the LMS Fantasy Pod for you.

As well as Ben and the Monsieur, we were delighted to welcome The Marrakesh back to the living room, and he's in fine form as you'd expect.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

LMS Fantasy Football Podcast 2011-12 Episode 2

In Episode 2 of the 2011-12 LMS Fantasy Podcast we look ahead to Gameweeks 4 - 6 and give our verdict on the teams to watch, players we fancy to do the business for you and pop a couple of differential picks in for good measure.

Plus, the movers on deadline day and their potential value for fantasy managers.

Featuring The Monsieur, Steve 'Chairboys' King and yours truly. At just under 50 minutes its a rollicking listen, and we had a ball doing it, despite the constant interruptions from Phillipine hostesses.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

LMS Fantasy Football Podcast 2011-12 Episode 1

It's back! The Fantasy Premier League! Wahey!

With the season kicking off on Saturday, reigning L.M.S. Champion Graham joined Mathew and I in the living room to record the first LMS Fantasy Football pod for the 2011-2012 campaign.

In Part 1 (up to about 33 minutes) we talked about the prices of players of note from the top six clubs and other assorted players, then in Part 2 we each recommend a club whose fixtures we like in the first three weeks, and suggest a player from that club as well as another player who could help you in the early going.
We finish things off in Part 3 with a bit of nonsense as the L.M.S. gets set to start its 11th season.

You can listen on the player below, click on the L.M.S. logo to download the mp3 for yourself, or if you are an iTunes'er, it should be available on there tonight or tomorrow so you'll have plenty of time to listen before the season starts.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

LMS Fantasy Podcast: Presentation Night Special

Nine managerial gladiators gathered in a cramped room at an izakaya in Machida to drink, eat and wrap up the 10th LMS Fantasy Premier League season.

You'll notice the volume goes up markedly during Part 2, as thats when the beer really started kicking in, but its all good as we honoured the winners from a cracker of a season. This runs almost 31 minutes, make sure you stick around for the 'highlights' at the end!


Thanks for putting up with us throughout the campaign, from humble beginnings this podcast has become about as successful as we could have ever imagined (ie. not very).

We'll be back for the start of the 2011-12 season, that is both a threat AND a promise!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

LMS Fantasy Podcast - Cup Semi-Final Draw Special

This podcast is just 15 minutes long, but a perfect example of what the LMS is all about: blokes sitting around getting pissed talking about football. Andy McCarthy took things to a whole other level last night though, and though he may cringe when he hears himself back, for the rest of us its comedy gold.

The affable Irishman was on fire right from the start as you'll soon hear, and though he may have had too much booze, his birdcalls were getting quite good by the end of proceedings. And yeah, he passed out about five minutes after we stopped recording, but we've all been there, haven't we?

The occasion was the LMS Cup Semi-Final Draw, the venue was TGIs in Machida (just for a change), and three of the four managers involved were present. 15 minutes of nonsense!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

LMS Fantasy Podcast Episode 10

With little else for us to do while the school holidays continue and we wait around for further aftershocks and updates on the nuclear disaster, Graham decided to pop 'round for a spot of fantasy podding yesterday.

The agenda looked a little like this:
  • Graham's season so far, and how he goes about setting his team up (valuable information as he's in the top 3,260 of over 2.4 million Fantasy Prem players);
  • A review of Gameweeks 29 & 30;
  • An update on The Monsieur's five teams to watch from the previous pod;
  • And all the latest developments in the LMS - you can find the League table here, and the Head-to-Head table here.
It's a good listen (we reckon), and runs for just under 47 minutes. As always, you can listen on the player below, click on the LMS logo to the right to download the mp3, or search "LMS Fantasy Podcast" to find us on iTunes.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

LMS Fantasy Podcast Episode 9

I'm posting this far later than I'd hoped, as we recorded last Friday the 4th, but even though we've missed Gameweek 29, this Episode has some run as we preview all the way through to Week 33. The Monsieur and Marrakesh joined me back in the living room, and we went at it for over an hour, edited down to bang on 61 minutes here.

The rundown:
  • Part 1: The two Gameweeks played since our Cup 1/4 Final pod;
  • Part 2: The five teams that have the best sets of fixtures between Weeks 29 and 33 (the week the L.M.S. Cup Semis will be played). Also some players from those teams that could help your fantasy team.
  • Part 3: (from around 40:20 in) L.M.S. stuff, as we wrap up the Cup 1/4s, the H2H and Bairn running away with the League, while Mathew winds me up for a big pop at Chairboys manager Steve King.
Listen on the player below, download the mp3 by clicking on the LMS logo, or find us on iTunes - This episode will hopefully be up on there soon - search for "LMS" and you'll find us in Podcasts.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

LMS Fantasy Podcast - Cup 1/4 Final Draw Special

With another bumper Gameweek coming up in Week 27 (starting Feb. 12th), Cup Supremo The Monsieur decided that the LMS Cup Quarter Finals would be played that week.

So, a slightly smaller gathering of myself, The Monsieur, Tim and Takeshi braved another night at TGIs to hold and record the draw, and it dished up a doozy of a tie, with Mathew's Sing When Fishing FC drawn to host my Higashi Rinkan FC in the clash of the round.

We first previewed the Gameweek, held the draw itself, and then, in the best interests of neutrality, Tim and Takeshi talked us through the four ties.

Highlights included:
  • Tim doing another James Bond impression;
  • Me saying I had no opinion on that Spanish striker's move to Chel$ki....
  • and then launching a tirade at him;
  • And my rambly reaction to being drawn to face Mathew in the Cup (tired & emotional)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

FC Tokyo fans - On the move....to On the Gas!

We started this blog for our LMS Fantasy Podcasts, but as I got stuck into writing FC Tokyo match reports and analysis pieces, more and more its become about the Gasmen.

Fantasy Premier League...and a J2 team...maybe not the most natural of combinations. Therefore, after taking some advice from my learned colleagues, I've decided its time to divide and conquer, branch out, and start a Tokyo-specific blog.

So, from now I'll be posting on all things FC Tokyo over at
http://on-the-gas.blogspot.com and I've started that blog off by importing my Nine Months of Hell series from here.

I'll keep all of my 2010 Tokyo match reports and other posts here...but...
This blog will now focus entirely on the Fantasy Pods, and I hope you'll continue to enjoy them.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

LMS Fantasy Podcast - Cup First Round Draw Special

8 LMS Managers + 16 practice golf balls = 27 minutes of drunken frivolity.

TGI Fridays in Machida was again the venue, Lucky Luc was our special guest, and we had a crackin' time before, during and after the Draw for The First Round of the LMS Cup. Games will be played in Gameweek 24 of the Fantasy Premier League season.
Now we did have the odd technical problem, figuring out how near or far away to hold the recording device proved tricky at first, but the volume levels should be fine here, no need to turn down for this episode. Then, Part 3 ended up being very tricky to record, I cocked up and a great segment of The Monsieur going round the table getting reactions to the draw was lost, when he tried again the twatting bartenders at TGIs got on the P.A. and that was ruined, so once almost everyone had cleared out Graham, Takeshi and myself provided the hard-hitting analysis.
Highlights? Well, there are loads.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

FC Tokyo 2010 - Nine Months of Hell Part 3

Konno will go. Oguro's on loan so he's gone, Gonda might be off. The big Qs are Yonemoto, Hirayama, Casual & Ishikawa. #FCTokyo
5 Dec via ÜberTwitter

I'm posting this a lot later than originally intended, but a relaxing week back home in Australia, and almost two more in Japan have me well and truly calmed down, and dealing with the reality that FC Tokyo will play in J2 in 2011. So here, in Part 3 of my wrap-up of the 2010 season, we'll look at what lies ahead as we get set for our first season in the second division since 1999.

The goals are simple: win the two derbies against The Spews; and finish in the top three, which will see us return to J1 in '12. The latter looks very attainable the way our squad is shaping up, but there should be at least five teams battling for promotion, and we'll be a big scalp for the minnows, so it won't be as easy as some fans seem to think. Anyway, I'm gunna stay positive (I promise!), so lets do this in two sections:

Section One - The Squad
In the immediate aftermath of our relegation, I feared we'd lose up to eight of our best players, as might be expected with dropping down a division, and with several of our squad in the National Team frame. In particular, as you've already seen from my tweet above (follow me @benjmaxwell), I thought it was dead certain that Yasuyuki Konno would be off, as he's a permanent fixture in Japan squads, while there had to be major doubts over the futures of Shuichi Gonda, Takuji Yonemoto and Naohiro Ishikawa, as Gonda and Yonemoto are sure to be involved in the national set-up in the near future and would, I thought, want to advance their claims in the top flight, and Ishikawa, despite his poor 2010 season, would still hope to be involved in Alberto Zaccheroni's plans with a strong bounce-back season somewhere in J1 in '11.

On top of those four, I thought players like Yohei Kajiyama, Naotake Hanyu and Masato Morishige (two relegations in two seasons, nice going buddy, maybe he should go join Urawa) might feel they were "better" than J2 (and would all be on decent money that we might not now be able to afford), while it was my fervent wish that Tatsuya would finally rack off, and there are plenty of Tokyo fans who want shot of Sota Hirayama - despite his strong finish to 2010. If Gonda were to stay, that would surely mean the end of Hitoshi Shiota, as we wouldn't need two top-level keepers in J2, and lastly, relegation was always going to mean the end of hired gun Masashi Oguro's time with us.

So all that meant we were going to be in for a major overhaul. Or so I thought. But, amazingly, as news began to filter out of Kodaira in dribs and drabs, it was almost all positive, and whether the players have made a pact to atone for the horrors of '10 together or not, as it stands, here in early January, all of the big names bar Oguro will be back in the 2011 season. Not only that, we'll finally fill our allowed number of foreign players for the first time in three seasons (too little, too late on that score if you ask me).

In particular, the commitment that Konno, Gonda and Yonemoto have shown - possibly forgoing national team ambitions - is a massive boost ahead of the new season. That is not unprecendented of course in the J.League - Seiichiro Maki of Chiba and Hisato Sato of Hiroshima famously stayed on with their teams after relegation - but its great to see that loyalty from our big names.

Here's the information we have to hand about who's in and who's out so far, with thanks to dokool from the original English FC Tokyo blog http://www.aishiteru-tokyo.com/ (posted on the forums of Big Soccer and edited after further comings and goings from the original posting date of December 30):

End of Loan
-FW Masashi Oguro
-FW Ricardinho
-FW Shunsuke Maeda (thank the Lord)
-MF Seo Yong-Duk
Full Transfer - Out
-FW Shingo Akamine (to Sendai)
-DF Kim Young-Kwon (to Omiya)
-GK Nobuyuki Abe (to Shonan)
-MF Tatsuya Suzuki (to FC Shitebucket) wishful thinking, why doesn't he just piss off?!
Loan - Out
-MF Toshihiro Matsushita (to Sendai)
-FW Kentaro Shigematsu (to Fukuoka)
-DF Ryo Hiraide (to Toyama)
plus some other youngsters not in the first team frame

Full Transfer - In
-FW Roberto César Zardim Rodrigues (from Avai FC, Brazil) [registration name: ロベルト]
-MF Roberto Julio De Figueiredo (from Yokohama FC) [registration name: ホベルト]
-MF Tatsuya Yazawa (from Chiba) oh shit, another guy named Tatsuya!
-DF Tomokazu Nagira (from Fukuoka)
-GK Satoshi Tokizawa (from Kusatsu)
Loan - In
-FW Pedro Junior (from Gamba Osaka)
-FW Daiki Takamatsu (from Oita)
-MF Kazumasa Uesato (from Sapporo)

Taking all that in, starting with the "Outs:" its a shame to see Kim leave, but he has South Korean National Team ambitions so fair play to him; Aka had run his race with us and we wish him well in his first full season in Sendai; and it was inevitable that Oguro would go. As for Shigematsu, well, he's a fan favourite and there'll be plenty who would've liked to have seen him stay, but it'll probably be better for his development if he has a full season with a team he will feature for more prominently, and then return with his tail up. Ditto for Hiraide. Of the others, I'm certainly not sad to see Rica, Matsushita or Maeda shown the door. Rica made Emerson look like Garrincha, Matsushita never settled with us, and Maeda....Maeda....well, we're all still wondering why we brought him in in the first place.

Of course there's still time for guys like Hanyu and Shiota to leave, I would've thought some J1 clubs could use their experience, but as it stands both will be with us at the start of the season (and both probably won't play much at all). The signing of Tokizawa makes Shiota, in particular, expendable, and perhaps the club are just waiting for a bid on him.

On top of the eight confirmed "Ins" you can add players like Sotan Tanabe and Daishi Hiramatsu, who played next-to-no part last season, but the first thing about the list above that jumps out at you is our improved depth in midfield. The problems we had in 2010 after Yonemoto's knee injury, and Kajiyama's injury-hit and sub-par season are well documented, with converted full back Yuhei Tokunaga playing practically the whole season in central midfield, central defender Morishige joining him on (too many) occasions, Hanyu failing to gel with Tokunaga in the first month and Matsushita failing to fit in anywhere. So the additions of the ホベルト Roberto and Uesato give us two more central options, and mean the defenders can return to defending. This covers the loss of Kim, and means we go back to having three specialist full backs (Toku, Kenta Mukuhara and Hokuto Nakamura) on top of our solid group of centre halves.

On the wings I'll admit to not knowing much about Yazawa, but he scored 15 goals the past three seasons with Chiba, and joins Ishikawa, Yohei Otake, Tanabe and Hanyu (plus possibly Hokuto if Tokunaga and Mukuhara establish themselves as our starting full backs) as our "wide-boys".

The two Brazilian strikers will hopefully make us forget Rica (and Cabore...and Emerson) quickly, and both come with decent scoring records - a big difference from Rica - with ロベルト Roberto scoring 22 times in the past two seasons in Brazil, and Pedro Junior netting 15 J.League goals in spells with Omiya, Niigata and (his parent club) Gamba. Also upfront, Takamatsu is an interesting signing, he's joined us after ten years and 58 goals with Oita, but he never really kicked-on to elite status after playing in the Athens Olympics in '04 and winning two full Japan caps under Ivica Osim.

These additions appear to have strengthened us where we needed it most, and mean we'll easily have the biggest, most expensive and most experienced squad in J2 in 2011 (perhaps ever in the history of the second division).

Section Two - The Division
Ah, yes, the second division. J2 has doubled in size since our last (and only) season there, 1999, with Tottori joining as the 20th J2 club, and the expansion has been rapid, with six other teams joining in the three previous years. All that has meant the end of the triple (and earlier quadruple) round-robin format, and means in 2011 we'll play 38 league games (as recently as '09 each team played 51 games!) on all four main islands of Japan, with four teams in Kyushu, two in Shikoku, and Sapporo in Hokkaido.

What does this all mean for us? Well, some new away trips for our fans to far and distant corners of the country, and plenty of empty seats in the away end of Aji Sta. On the pitch though, expansion has seen the overall level of the league slide, and means our squad's "name" players and experience will make us prohibitive favourites to win the league. The other obvious teams I expect to be in the hunt for promotion are: Chiba, who finished fourth in 2010; The Spews (5th); Shonan, who will hopefully play the same open, attacking football that they stuck to despite finishing bottom of J1 last season; and Kyoto, who sent us down in the last game of 2010, long after their own relegation was sealed. Of the other teams, Tokushima will need to tighten up their defence to be in the mix but should be good to watch as they were fairly free-scoring last season, enjoying their highest league finish (8th) in their six-year J2 tenure, while Sapporo (despite losing Uesato to us) are always well supported and were in J1 as recently as 2008 (and The Fat Man plays for them!).

Speaking of the way clubs are supported, that will be a huge change for our fans, especially away from Ajinomoto Stadium. Attendance figures between the divisions are naturally skewed because of the smaller cities in J2, but the difference in 2010 was startling:
  • Average J1 crowd in 2010: 18,426 (our average: 25,112, fourth in the league)
  • Average J2 crowd in 2010: 6,696 
Promoted Kofu had the highest average of the J2 clubs with 12,406 per game, and only Chiba, Sapporo and Oita were also over 10,000, while there were eight teams with an average of under 5,000.

Our average hasn't been under 24,000 since 2002, but that is certain to change due to the much lower number of away fans to Aji Sta, as well as an expected decrease in fans in the ホーム自由席 seats based on A) apathy towards J2 and B) the lack of games against our J1 rivals (Kawasaki, Urawa, Kashima, Yokohama).

On rivalries though, the big one against Kawasaki Tokyo Verdy 1969 (A.K.A. The Spews) is back, and the two derbies will see the biggest crowds of the season at Aji Sta. Two derby wins and top three. That'll do for me (although 30 goals from ロベルト Roberto would be nice too!).

So there you have it. Nine Months of Hell is over and done with. If you managed to get all the way down here, thanks for sticking with me. I got a lot of things off my chest in Parts 1 & 2, and now that its over I feel ready and excited to renew my SOCIO membership. Mission accomplished.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Special LMS Podcast - Founding Fathers of the LMS

It was an absolute pleasure to catch up with my co-founding father of the LMS, two-time Champion Gareth Balston, in Melbourne last week, and luckily I'd taken the recording device with me on my trip ... so we blabbed away for over an hour (edited down to 52 minutes here).

In this, the 10th season of the league, we began by talking about Gareth's strong league record, reminisced about the managers still with us and others who have come and gone, and had a lot of other ground to cover obviously, but unfortunately the Stellas kicked-in after a while so you may notice a difference in the quality of the analysis!

Highlights included:
  • Gareth serving it up to old sparring partner Steve King...
  • and then massacring the pronunciation of Marouane Chamakh's name...
  • on more than one occasion.
  • His old man walking in to get the bottle opener.
  • Me? I wasn't up to much