Tricks of the trade: Edition No.08 with FootyIndexLDN

In this week’s edition, we’re joined by the ultimate hybrid guest, FootyIndexLDN. I say that because LDN has been around as long as any of us and still has a great memory (and data set) of the good old days, but after a time away from the index he also has the experience of re-entering the realm of Football Index in 2019 meaning he is one of few people who can truly contrast the different time periods.

First, a bit of background, what’s your Football Index story so far?

LDN: I signed up to Football Index in December 2015 but, like so many, it took me a long time to take it seriously. I probably started with about £50 and increased this to about £250 by the summer, but even then, I’d forget about it for months and wouldn’t pay much attention to what was going on!

I’m not sure what triggered it, but I started to see the potential in the platform more in January 2017 and within a few months I’d increased my deposits from £250 to £4,000. I’ve been playing with that money ever since and my portfolio recently passed the £65,000 mark.

I did take a break at one point though. Around Oct/Nov 2018 I was having a tough time personally and I stopped enjoying Football Index. I realised the platform had started to negatively impact my mood so made the decision to step away. At the time I had around £30,000 in Football Index, so sold up £28,000 and left £2,000 in Rony Lopes and Toby Alderweireld (not my best trades!).

What was it that made you take a break? How did this help you and when would you recommend this to someone?

LDN: The main reason was that I stopped enjoying Football Index. I was getting too attached to the platform and social media and it was negatively impacting my mood in day-to-day life. I felt like Football Index was impacting my life too much so I took the decision to step away and go cold turkey not only on Football Index but the social media aspect that comes with it too.

I left a couple of thousand in the platform and didn’t look at it or go on social media for a few months.

When it got round to February / March the following year I’d sorted out the issues I was having personally and started getting the itch to get back involved with Football Index. Gradually over the next few weeks and months I started to drip feed my £28,000 back in and created what was supposed to be a temporary separate Twitter account! I did this because I wanted to ease myself back in and doing so in this way made me feel more at ease.

The good news is I’m enjoying Football Index now more than ever and the time away really helped me to get my head straight.

I definitely missed out on a few more thousand pounds by taking a few months off the platform, but given the chance I wouldn’t do things any other way.

Media is one thing that’s barely changed over your time on the Index, but how do you think the perception of media rankings/dividends has changed over time, do you think it’ll ever feel anywhere near as important as it once did?

LDN: Media dividends are definitely seen as a sideshow to Performance dividends to most traders (although that might be starting to shift slightly).Just this week I saw someone on Twitter list their portfolio along with the reasons for holding each player and Media Buzz was never mentioned!

It’s not a surprise though. When Football Index was media only, they struggled to onboard a significant amount of users. Lots of existing traders now say they stumbled across FI when it was Media only and found it dull. Once Performance came in, people started signing up in their droves, so it’s no surprise that people prefer Performance to Media.

One of the reasons I think this might be is because it’s more relatable and easier to understand. If you forget about the matrix for a second, essentially traders pick players based on who they think is going to perform well on the pitch. This is much more fun than picking players they feel may appear on the back (or front) pages the most!

I think people also get suckered in by the bigger payments, even though they’re much more difficult to win than the Media dividend. 

It’s also worth noting that players who are known for winning Media can be a little bit pricey compared to players less likely to win Media, so people may gravitate towards the Performance aspect of the platform because they feel like they can afford the type of player that stands a chance of winning Performance dividends.

I don’t think Media will ever feel as important as it once did just because Performance dividends are more fun and more relatable to most people, but it should be a factor in some trader’s minds more than it currently is. When you look at the biggest dividend returners every season, the majority of them have a huge base of Media dividends in their total dividend haul! I get the impression traders sometimes ignore a player’s media appeal when trying to value a player.

Do you think the current media-only period has made it more attractive to traders in the long run? Some of the returns we’ve had since football has stopped have been crazy!

LDN: The returns have been fantastic but once we’re out of this unprecedented situation I wouldn’t expect a shift in general trader behaviour.

It might change the attitude of some existing traders slightly, but as more new traders join Football Index I’d expect they will also gravitate more towards Performance dividends just like the traders before them did. For no other reason than Performance dividends just being more fun and relatable!

I also believe that with any future dividend reviews Football Index will be more generous with Performance related dividend payments, so even if trader behaviour did start to shift the attitude will eventually swing back in favour of the Performance dividend.

The table below shows Football Index’s dividend payouts since they launched up until the day before Double Dividends. I’ve used that date as a cut off as I wanted to present the data in a ‘business as usual state’ to present where Football Index were going with their payouts up until the unique situation we find ourselves in.

You can see that Football Index are much more generous with Performance payouts and the rate at which they’re increasing season on season is higher than that of the Media payouts. Media will never be irrelevant due to the predictable nature of it, but the more Performance Payouts increase, the more traders will gravitate towards a more Performance led strategy.

For what it’s worth, Football Index have paid out £7.11** in Media Dividends since 10th March 2020 which is absolutely astonishing when you look at their payouts in previous seasons.

Season

Media Payouts

Performance Payouts

2015/16

£3.81

N/A

2016/17

£4.68

N/A

2017/18

£7.50

£17.28

2018/19

£8.03

£21.74

2019/20*

£8.02

£26.67


*Up until 9th March 2020 (pre-Double Dividends)

**Up until 30th April 2020

One area of media that has seen some focus recently is the recognition of articles for players’ full names only. This has been the case for as long as football index has been around but as @FBITrader recently pointed out, it has a real impact on some players’ ability to score well on Media.

Do you think this is something that should be changed or is it simply part of the rules?

LDN: It’s definitely something that should be fixed but I don’t think it’s as easy as it’s being made out to be.

The recent transfer of Bruno Fernandes helps me to make my point.

Scenario headline: Fernandes scores stunning winner in Europa League quarter final

How do Football Index know which Fernandes to credit it to? Sure, we know it’s Bruno Fernandes (or is it? lol), but their automated algorithm needs to figure out whether or not the headline is referring to:

Bruno Fernandes

Gedson Fernandes

Matheus Fernandes

Edimilson Fernandes

Manuel Fernandes

Mario Fernandes

Gelson Fernandes

That’s a lot of Fernandes’!

It’s easy with the majority of players, but I’d imagine scenarios like this are a big headache for them and you know for a fact the FI community will be howling from the rooftops if the top seven media places are occupied by Fernandes’!

However, it does seem like they’re on the case based on recent surveys with this particular issue, so hopefully they’ve got some smart guys in their dev team who can figure out this problem!

Another area people have become very opinionated about is the sources used, how do you think they should be or will be changed in as part of a media revamp?

LDN: I think Football Index needs to be careful with the sources they include. I think this change could have the biggest effect on existing player values so they should take things slowly.

I’d like to see a few foreign media outlets introduced gradually. Maybe one from each of the top five leagues and see how that affects the media scoring. Well known sources like Bild from Germany, for example.

However, we have to remember this is still a very UK-centric product and, while I agree it’s a bit wrong that future superstars like Mbappe and Haaland have struggled to win media when they’ve been two of the hottest topics in football, we also don’t want media stories that may seem irrelevant to the UK punter dwarfing a big news story in the UK. I think having to keep up with all the big news stories across other leagues in Europe could be a bit off-putting to the average punter.

The other issue that doesn’t get discussed often is translation. You’d imagine Football Index will only be able to include foreign media outlets if they have an English RSS feed.

The scoring algorithm used up to now is an outsourced one (which you can see here: ) that is not football-specific, meaning words like “man of the match” or “hattrick” attract no positive sentiment. How much do you think a football-focused media algorithm will improve media?

LDN: Once it’s fully fleshed out it’ll be great, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there are some teething problems when it initially launches. I’d expect lots of words to be missing to begin with, so hopefully Football Index will be happy to work with the community and have a process in place where it’s easy for them to add / remove words from the algorithm.

One thing that I think complicates the existing system is the weightings of each word. For example, ‘Love’ scores higher than ‘Good’ (I think). In this case, it’s probably right that the word ‘Love’ gets a higher score, but on others the increased sentiment may be subjective and open to criticism.

Perhaps it’ll be better to have a system where, rather than weighting positive and negative words differently, words are just marked as positive or negative.

This suggestion will probably be divisive, and I’m not even sure I completely agree with it as a concept, but I’d be interested to see how the scoring differs if we just have positive and negative words as opposed to ‘this word is really positive, but this one is only a little bit positive’.

As I said, the ranking of the words is subjective and could change from article to article based on context, so having a simpler scoring system might yield better results.

With the above potential changes in mind then, how much do you think the overall landscape of media will change? Will those who currently dominate still be able to do so? Do you see any obvious winners and losers?

LDN: I’m not going to speculate on specific winners or losers from the changes because it’d be purely speculative considering we don’t actually know what they’re going to change and how much will be changing.

Although, the two biggest changes I see contributing will be name recognition but more so international media sources. I don’t believe sentiment scoring will have much of an impact as generally it's weight/number of articles that wins the day as opposed to what’s in the headlines.

Generally, I’d like to think the media rankings will benefit players with a global appeal across the top five leagues. Without naming players, there are some players that get spoken about across all five countries, I believe these will end up being the main beneficiaries.

I still believe there will be a Premier League bias and I think this is the right thing to strive for considering this is a UK-centric product. I know Germany is allegedly on the roadmap but I’m not convinced there’ll be a big uplift in users from our European neighbours soon after launch, so the product should be more focused at the UK user base.

Quickfire questions:

Largest hold? Jadon Sancho

A player you think the market is sleeping on? Odegaard (there’s actually another player below £2 but I’m not going to mention him because I don’t want any pump money in him!)

The best player (under 30) who’s real-life ability is the furthest away from their football index value?  Roberto Firmino (£1.73). This isn’t a recommendation to buy! Considering he’s key in making Liverpool tick, in a world where ability alone would make you an expensive player on FI, this chap would be up there.

The player who’s football index value exceeds their actual ability/ potential ability the most in your eyes?  Jack Grealish (£5.42). He’s decent for Villa, I just think the bloke is over-hyped.

One thing you wish was included in the performance scoring matrix that isn’t? Points for winning a penalty for your team

What’s the thing you’re most excited about on Football Index in the next twelve months?Order Books!

Who’s the next £10 player?  Mbappe

When will we see a £15 player? Before next season. Maybe even May! 


Finally, In all your time on the Index, you’ve obviously seen and experienced a lot. How has your confidence in the platform changed over time in the product and how do you feel about it going forward? Has this current period during a global pandemic added to or changed these views all?

LDN: After learning more and more about Football Index over the course of the last four years, I’m more confident than ever.

I understand their business model now more than ever but what gives me the most confidence is that I understand how to value players on Football Index more than I ever have done.

It’s been an ongoing process but over the last four years I’ve picked up this knowledge by listening to fellow traders on the FIG Cast and on Twitter. I don’t agree with everything I hear or read, but it’s important to understand how other traders value players to ensure you’re going about things the right way too. Having an open mind is one of the most important traits to help maximise your profitability on Football Index. Don’t just listen to traders who reinforce your opinion!

However, no matter how long you’ve been on the Index, it’s not always plain sailing!

As recently as Nov-Dec 2019 I had a moment of realisation that the market was shifting in how players were valued and I did not see it coming at all. I had a couple of tough months but juggled a few things around and as a result ended up having some of my most profitable months ever on Football Index from February through to April this year.

So, when it comes to confidence, the main confidence that I have is not that I’m some kind of genius trader that is constantly repositioning my portfolio ahead of new trends due to my experience on the platform, but that I’m able to read the market well enough to ensure I’m continuing to profit to a level that I’m happy with. I’m trying my best to not sound pretentious, I don’t know how well I’m doing!

On the subject of the pandemic, for the last 12 months I’ve put more focus on buying players with genuine underlying value. I didn’t do this knowing a pandemic was on the way, I just became tired of trying to find players with little to no value who other people might buy for a quick flip.

Luckily, this strategy protected me with the current situation we find us in as money flowed into the players who have genuine intrinsic value.

Any additional stuff you want to add in:

Any closing remarks: 

Thank you all for taking the time to read this blog post and thanks to Liam for asking me to contribute. If you’d like to speak to me about any points I’ve raised you can find me on Twitter @FootyIndexLDN.

Stay safe everyone!

If you missed last weeks edition with KBrown around PB and "Crossing" index, check it out ​here!

Some data in this article was taken from Football Index Edge or compiled using their downloadable data section. You can get a 14 day free trial to check it out yourself here!

If you're new to Football Index and want to continue to learn the ropes, check out my free guide here!

Check out last seasons Tricks of the trade editions below:

Edition No.1 with Big Don who owns over 1500 players   
Edition No.2 with
Stamford who's a renowned buzz man                                                            Edition No.3 with Pierre who buys on Sunday and sells on Friday                                                  Edition No.4 with  Ryan Pearce talking transfer trading                                                                 Edition No.5 with Buzzing Paul with great data insight                                                                 Edition No.6 with Andrew Allen​​​​​​ Discussing IPO trading​​​​​

Got some thoughts on this article? Why not tweet them to us at @footballindexLM or @Footballana

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