BPFL Week 38: The Final Recap

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Ladies and gentlemen, Co-commissioner MGlo is here with the last roundup for the Backpost Fantasy League. Take it away, champ:

I am writing this while listening to Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions.’ It is a fitting song to a worthy champion, if I may say so myself. Yes, after 38 excruciating Gameweeks, my Old27m squad has finally conquered the Backpost Fantasy League. It was a tough go, but in the end I walked away comfortably with the trophy held aloft. At my recent press conference I was asked about my season. Below are some excerpts.

Jim White, Sky Sports: Clearly you were the class of the league. How did the season go for you? And when did you know you had the title won?

Me: Well Jim, it was a long hard haul. I ended up making 43 transfers and using both wildcards, but unlike seasons past, I pretty much knew the changes I was going to make heading into each Gameweek and refused to second guess myself. But even still, the anxiety caused each week was almost unbearable.

As far as having the title won, that didn’t really come until Week 32. Colorado Keeper was hot on my tail and I couldn’t shake him. He was two points back and then four points back. But in Gameweek 32 I won and he lost and that started a three game losing streak for him. By Gameweek 34 I was ahead by ten points and could breathe easier. I still wasn’t comfortable until I got that win in Gameweek 35 though.

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport: Mike, who would you say was your player of the season?

Me: Good question Phil, and hard to answer. Clearly Robin van Persie, Juan Mata, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Michu and Gareth Bale performed big-time for me this season, especially when they wore the captain’s armband. But I would have to say it was the supporting cast that helped me to victory and for that thanks has to go to the likes of Rickie Lambert, Christian Benteke, Ben Davies and an assortment of others who showed they belonged in the team when picked for the first string.

Barry Glendenning, the Guardian: Was there one particular player who let you down this season?

Me: Unfortunately there was, Barry. That would have to be Rafael. Either he was rested and Manchester United earned a clean sheet or he was getting cards or hitting the post, which could have cost me in the end. It was very frustrating!

Georgie Thompson, Sky Sports: As the most attractive manager in the Backpost Fantasy League, what are your plans for the future?

{For those of you following at home, judge for yourself: SRalston

Me: Thank you Georgie. Well, having led the Backpost League for the entire season, and having just come off a second Championship in the PPifa, I won’t be resting on my laurels. I am hoping to dominate these competitions for years. However, for the immediate future I would be more than happy to have a drink with you.

So there you have it. Colorado Keeper finished in second place, 10 points behind. Rise* of FC Hammer stole third place from Disgruntled Numpties as the former won and the latter lost on the last day of the campaign.

The average team embarrassingly finished fifth, which meant nine teams were below average.

That includes I Am Liverpool—who could only manage the sixth spot.

Thanks, commish. And congrats! Thanks for playing, everyone.

Your Belated, Penultimate BPFL Recap of 2013

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Co-commissioner Our Man at the Valley filed this last week, and we—per recent S.O.P.—are a little late getting to it. But the season is winding down, and Old27M was on the cusp of the title heading into this past weekend. OMATV has the details:

The BFPL is bearing a strong relationship to the EPL these days. Most clubs are simply playing out the final games of an unremarkable season. Any intrigue in the title race has been absent for what seems like half the season. A couple of clubs are fighting it out for some minor silverware. And Luis Suarez is hungry.

A victory this week against Average will hand the BFPL title to Old27M, though it seems like it’s been in his grasp since early January. He tripped up at the weekend, beaten by last year’s champion Rise*of FC Hammer, but still holds a 10-point lead over second-place Colorado Keeper.

Old27M has had a fine season, recovering well from missing out on a Top 10 finish last year. This campaign has seen him rise to the top 3,000 in the overall ranking, and the top 100 in the USA. Though he might complain a bit too much in his writeups he will be a worthy champion once he locks in one more victory. Congratulations to him.

The Backpost League Cup went to Sporting de Dijon, a 38-31 winner over my Disgruntled Numpties a few weeks back. Rickie Lambert’s assist and bonus points made the difference for the new father from East London. Now doubt he celebrated by running to the corner post, rocking an imaginary baby and eating a couple of real meat pies that he had hidden in his socks.

My co-commissioner will post the final writeup in a few weeks. I hope you all enjoy the offseason. Hopefully you won’t be attacked by any teenage wizards.

Thanks OMATV, and well done Old27M.

Van Persie vs Wolyniec

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie scored three goals yesterday to lift his team to a 3-0 win over Aston Villa (and U.S. keeper Brad Guzan) that clinched the club’s 20th English championship.

His second was a beauty:

The full volley into the far corner, off of a pass from distance, kind of reminded us of MetroBull striker John Wolyniec’s overtime winner against Columbus in 2003:

Which one is better?

The MLS man was closer to goal, but the pass he had to deal with was longer. It was also an overtime winner.

Both players hit the ball absolutely on the screws, but RVP’s degree of difficulty to get it on frame was greater, and he pocketed it right in the corner.

Advantage: RVP, by a nose.

BPFL: League Cup Preview

Co-commissioner MGlo filed his Week 31 Backpost Fantasy League recap earlier in the week.

Aaaaaaand here it is:

This week’s recap is a preview of the Backpost League Cup which pits the gregarious Disgruntled Numpties against the laconic Sporting de Dijon. I characterize these two teams as such based on their recent press conference in the bowels of Brisbane Road, where the Final is to be held. The press eagerly awaited the arrival of the two managers and what follows is a brief snippet of their remarks.

Phil McNulty, BBC correspondent: Are you surprised you have made it to the Finals?

DN: I got a kind draw, avoiding the two class teams in the competition. So, no, not surprised.

Phil looked over at Sporting but the manager offered no response.

Jim White, Sky Sports Presenter: How has the season been for you, what with trying to balance the League and Cup challenges?

DN: A lot of mediocrity this season. I’m high on the overall points total (maybe 13,000 out of 2.5 million) but that hasn’t translated into too many victories in the league. I chopped and changed a little too much too early (got rid of Ivanovic in week 3) and a little too little later in the season (Cuellar and van Persie for example). Balancing league and cup hasn’t been a problem since I’ve just tried to score as many points as possible.

JW: Yes I noticed you used your wildcard in week 20 but didn’t bother to use your January wildcard. Sporting, you used your wildcard early in week 5. What kind of effect did this have on your team?

Sporting just glared at Jim.

Barry Glendenning, The Guardian correspondent: I understand there is a history between you two. Care to share any inside info on the other?

DN: The rivalry exists on two fronts: Regents Park Sunday football and video soccer tournaments held a few times a year somewhere in London or thereabouts. However, from my perspective it wasn’t much of a rivalry on either front. In Regents Park I always wanted Paul on my team; he was a no-nonsense defender who was very hard to beat. In the video world Paul always contended for the top honors in the tournaments and I was always in contention for a molded plastic cow given as a prize for last place.


(Disgruntled Numpties manager 2nd from left, Sporting manager 4th from left)

At the appearance of this picture a small smile appeared on the face of the Sporting manager, but his Shields and Yarnell act was still intact.

Rob Stone, Fox Soccer presenter: What do you expect on the day? How confident are you?

DN: My squad looks good. I don’t expect to make any changes; unless I change my mind.

The Sporting manager cleared his throat but alas we were regaled with more silence.

And finally the last question went to Simon Mail, Leyton and Leytonstone Guardian reporter:  Any comments directed at the other manager?

DN: I know Paul’s been busy with the birth of his first child. I think a Cup Final victory would be a wonderful way to welcome the newcomer into the world. I’m rooting for Sporting de Dijon.

The Sporting manager considered this, smiled, and left the room.

If nothing else, the press conference was certainly interesting. Hopefully the match will be as well. The Numpties have won six of their last seven fixtures, while Sporting have won two straight. They also split the season series, with the Numpties winning in week two, 41-29 and Sporting taking the ritorno 65-55.

As for the League table there was no change among the top four clubs as they all walked away with victories. My Old27m squad walked away with another Performance of the Week, and that was despite giving up 4 points from a second transfer. Fall River Marksmen was the Unlucky Loser, with 64 points, better than nine other clubs.

Thanks MGlo. And we have an update regarding the Sporting manager’s demeanor. Word is he recently became a father, and was so sleep-deprived he’d all but lost the power of speech.

Here is some pretty convincing evidence to back up this claim:



BPFL Week 30 Wrap: Father-Son Rubbermatch

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Co-commissioner MGlo has the Week 30 BPFL recap, much to the chagrin of his son, I Am Liverpool:

When your kids are little and learning to play games, from Monopoly to checkers to basketball or soccer, you find little ways to make sure they win. You build their confidence and let them learn to love and understand the game they are playing.

But as they get older and become better and more experienced, you no longer need to coddle them. I thought of this in light of my battles with I Am Liverpool this season. In week 7 the kid beat my Old27m squad, 53-37. For the next 13 weeks all I heard was “I’m the best!”, “You’re going down old man!”, and my personal favorite “I’m gonna do the treble over you! HA HA!”

Well, we met again in Gameweek 20 and I handily defeated him, 50-30. Unfortunately, this did not shut him up. It only slowed him down. So last week, when we faced each other for the final time this season, there was a lot at stake. Mr. Cocky believed he could beat me without making changes. How did that turn out for you, Buuuddy? Well, I’ll tell you, along with the rest of the readership: It resulted in a VERY satisfying 49-36 victory for Old27m! And THAT shut him up!

So with that victory I am still top of the table, four points ahead of second placed Colorado Keeper. I can’t seem to shake him, and with eight games left, it looks as if it will go to the wire. Eight points further back, in the third spot, is Disgruntled Numpties, who saw their five-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Keeper, falling 49-34.

Rise* of FC Hammer are in fourth place, having ended a two-game losing streak. This week, the Hammer faces fifth-placed Average, who’ve won three of their last four, and sit just two points further back. Oh, and in case I Am Liverpool was wondering, he is in sixth place—and that would be BELOW average!

Performance of the Week went to Prison Mike, whose incarceration clearly prevents him from making changes. However, despite the five dead guys on his roster he earned 54 points from 4 clean sheets, 7 Bonus Points, 3 assists and 2 goals. He has also won three in a row and four of his last five. I assume that earns him at least 2 packs of smokes at the Canteen.

Clever and Witty took home the Unlucky Loser honor, with 39 points that would have had them go 6-1-5 against the rest of the league.

The Backpost League Cup is now in the Semifinal stage with the first legs having taken place last week. Below are the Classified Results of the 1st legs (2nd legs to be played in Gameweek 31):

Clever and Witty 39 Disgruntled Numpties 34

Colorado Keeper 49 Sporting de Dijon 53

No matches this weekend as World Cup Qualifying comes to the fore. The Premier League will return on March 30.

Thanks MGlo, and better luck next year, I Am Liverpool!

BPFL Weeks 28 and 29 Wrap: FA Cup Wrinkles, Negligent Owners

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Your recap for Gameweeks 28 and 29 is finally here (our bad). Without further Freddy Adu, here is BPFL Co-Commissioner Our Man at the Valley:

Oooh, that pesky fixtures list.  Just when you think it’s safe to put your team on cruise control, perhaps helped by a January wildcard and faith in Newcastle’s latest signings, the FA Cup quarterfinals cause your best laid plans to go awry.

(Two brief asides:  I know Sir Walter Scott was a Hearts fan but what about Robert Burns?  Hibs?  Celtic?   Dunfermline Athletic?  Also, if Backpost ever organizes a Scottish Football Fantasy League I’m naming my squad Gang Aft Agley.)

A quirk in the EPL fixture list, namely the FA Cup quarterfinals, wreaked havoc with many of our lineups.  With Tottenham the only one of the top six teams with an EPL match during Gameweek 29, those of us who were still paying attention were left with a quandary: Do we make significant changes now, in the hope of a decent Gameweek 29, or do we hold pat and figure everything will come good when the games are made up sometime in the near future?

Some, like Colorado Keeper, took the former approach.  He made four changes to his squad and paid an eight point penalty. His proactive approach resulted in victories in both the BFPL and the League Cup.

Some, like Fall River Marksmen, sat back and hoped for the best without making any changes. His passive approach didn’t work so well; the Marksmen lost in the BFPL and were knocked out of the League Cup.

Another entrant who did nothing when faced with a difficult Gameweek was Nearpost.  His lack of interest led to a first in the history of the BFPL, 0 points in a Gameweek.

How did this happen to Nearpost?  Let’s chalk it up to a combination of bad luck and not paying attention.  10 of his 15 players had matches postponed due to the FA Cup; Brad Friedel stayed on Tottenham’s bench; Ryan Taylor hasn’t played since August; Nathan Dyer played 30 minutes but picked up a yellow card; Ryan Shawcross played 90 minutes but gave up two goals; and finally, Grant Holt played 90 minutes, missed a penalty and picked up a yellow card. For those keeping score at home or trying to teach their kids some basic math that’s Zero Plus One Minus One Equals Zero.

Additionally, a quirk in the BFPL fixture list left all of us with the same matchups we had only two Gameweeks ago, as Gameweek 28 mirrored Gameweek 26. Among those chanting “Can We Play You Every Week” were Disgruntled Numpties, I Am Liverpool, Clever & Witty, Colorado Keeper and Prison Mike.  The two time losers who will be happy that they don’t have any more league matches against the above are, respectively, Rise* of FC Hammer, Fall River Marksmen, Nearpost, Abes Army and The Losers.

The Performance of Week award in Gameweek 28 went to Colorado Keeper with 88 points.  The Unlucky Loser was his Gameweek opponent, Abes Army, with 72 points.  That was enough to get a result against every other team in our league. Ouch.

In Gameweek 29 I Am Liverpool won Performance of the Week honors with 60 points.  In my opinion no one deserved the Unlucky Loser award.

The Backpost League Cup quarterfinals were held over Gameweeks 28 and 29.  The luck of the draw pitted the top two teams in our league against each other. Colorado Keeper surged to an early lead against Old27M in Gameweek 28, at one point leading 64-19. He held on and won on aggregate 144-106 (88-52; 56-54)

The Keeper is joined in the semifinals by Clever & Witty, a 89-83 come from behind winner over Average (52-56; 37-27); Sporting de Dijon, a 75-64 winner over Fall River Marksmen (42-38; 33-26); and Disgruntled Numpties, a 122-92 winner over Prison Mike (51-72; 41-50).

Edgar Davids pulled the remaining four teams out of a hat sometime this afternoon and the semifinal draw is as follows:

Clever & Witty v. Disgruntled Numpties

Colorado Keeper v. Sporting de Dijon

Matches will be played over Gameweeks 30 and 31.

Thanks OMATV. Good luck to all.

BPFL Week 27 Wrap: Order Restored at the Top, League Cup Quarterfinal Draw Released

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BPFL Co-commissioner MGlo is here with what—if he were channeling the late, great New York Mets announcer Bob Murphy—he might call the happy recap.

Take it away MGlo:

Oh, the ups and downs of a fantasy manager: In last week’s column, I was “out of the pool,” such was my distress at the latest results. But this week normal service has resumed as my Old27m squad now have a four-point lead at the top of the Backpost Table, and I walked away with the Performance of the Week!

Knowing my opponent, The losers, hadn’t made a change since the Thatcher administration, and that his team also included six guys who weren’t even going to play, I was confident that I could afford to sacrifice four points and make an extra change. That transfer, Sissoko of Newcastle (10 points), set me on my way to an 81-point haul. It didn’t hurt that my other transfer was Gareth Bale, who pulled down 30 points as captain. Throw in 15 points from Rafael and 11 from Rickie Lambert and my margin of victory was 68 points.

I have to offer props to seventh-place Sporting de Dijon, whose Joey O’Brien of West Ham earned an assist on Monday, lifting Sporting into a draw with my closest rivals, Colorado Keeper. (The two teams shared the Unlucky Loser award.)

The Keeper is now just four points ahead of third-place Rise* of FC Hammer, who sent I Am Liverpool crashing out of the top five. Liverpool have only themselves to blame, as once again the young lad forgot to make changes. Six players from two teams that didn’t play (including both captain and vice captain) are just not going to cut it, son!

The Average squad replaced IAL in the fifth spot, which means that nine of you are below average (ba-duh-dum)! Fourth place is still held by Disgruntled Numpties, who squeaked by 12th-place Prison Mike. Numpties face a big challenge this week as they square off against Hammer, with one point separating the two clubs.

Over in the Backpost League Cup, we are into the Quarterfinals, which will be played over two legs in Gameweeks 28 and 29. Here is a check of the Classified Results as well as the draw for the next round:

Sporting de Dijon 57 I Am Liverpool 33 (Sporting win 150-127 on aggregate)

Abes Army 40 Average 41 (Average win 106-101 on aggregate)

Disgruntled Numpties 40 Markansas 40 (Numpties win 130-109 on aggregate)

Clever & Witty 58 Rise* of FC Hammer 38 (C&W win 133-102 on aggregate)

Fall River Marksmen 65 Nearpost 31 (Marksmen win 138-61 on aggregate)

Prison Mike 35 The losers 13 (Mike wins 103-74 on aggregate)

Quarterfinal Draw (1st leg to be played in Gameweek 28):

Clever & Witty v Average

Sporting De Dijon v Fall River Marksmen

Prison Mike v Disgruntled Numpties

Old27m v Colorado Keeper

The plum tie of the round is obviously Old27m v Colorado Keeper, No. 1 vs No. 2. Striker v Goalie. We split our two regular season matches (50-47 and 80-71) and since we do not meet in the League again, this tie should be a doozy!

Thanks, MGlo. Don’t forget to set your teams, everyone, and good luck.

BPFL Week 26 Recap: Cruel and Unusual Punishment

BPFL Subbuteo


It was a torturously up-and-down week for Co-commissioner MGlo, who tied his Week 26 fortunes to his favorite club, Liverpool.

He’s got the grisly details here:

This game is pure torture. Seriously, why do we do it? I find myself cursing, screaming at the TV (as well as loved ones), and missing out on sleep because I’m worried about my players. The game can ruin weekends, which turn in to ruined weeks, which turn into ruined months, and … well you get the point.

I can’t count how many times I have texted my co-commissioner to say, “I am out of the pool!”

And I’m in first place!!

This week was especially hard because my beloved Liverpool were the main cause of my pain. And even worse, it was the beloved captain of my beloved Liverpool who was the main culprit. Usually I don’t like having Liverpool players in my squad at all, because it doubles the emotions of cheering for them—both the negative and positive ones, but especially the negative ones.

But since Liverpool had two home games this week I brought in Steven Gerrard and made him Captain. When he stepped up to take a (dubiously given) penalty on Monday against West Brom, I saw 14 points coming my way.

When he missed I saw 0!

This left me in a hole going into the final match of the week, down 18 points. But Swansea fielded a weakened lineup in that one, and Gerrard stepped to the spot for another penalty, which he buried. I was greatly encouraged. Anything else from Stevie G would carry me to victory. When Routledge handled in the area late on I knew it was all over.

But it turned out it was all over for me, because Daniel Sturridge took the penalty!

End result? Liverpool 5 Swansea 1, Markansas 69 Old27m 68. Like I said, pure torture!

I am still top after the loss but my lead is now cut to just two points over second placed Colorado Keeper, who was our Performer of the Week with an amazing 120 points. Nineteen from Enrique, 10 from Azpilicueta, 15 from Bale, 18 from Michu (in one game) and 30 from Captain Suarez led the way as the Keeper makes a run for top spot.

Six points further back is Rise* of FC Hammer, who suffered defeat at the hands of fourth-place Disgruntled Numpties. Just one point separates the two teams. Moving into the fifth spot is I Am Liverpool, who made an amazing comeback to not only defeat Unlucky Loser Fall River Marksmen, but also to win their League Cup match against Sporting de Dijon after trailing by 42 points.

Speaking of the League Cup, here are the Classified Results:

1st Leg (2nd leg to be played this Gameweek 27)

I Am Liverpool 94 Sporting de Dijon 93

Average 65 Abes Army 61

Markansas 69 Disgruntled Numpties 90

*Rise of FC Hammer 64 Clever and Witty 75

Nearpost 30 Fall River Marksmen 73

The losers 61 Prison Mike 68

Thanks MGlo! Good luck this week everyone.

BPFL Weeks 24 and 25: Two Cups, No Girls

BPFL Subbuteo

The one and only Our Man at the Valley is gearing up for the crucial U.S. World Cup qualifier taking place in his hometown next month, but in the meantime he’s cooked up a recap of the past two weeks of the Backpost Fantasy League.

Here he is:

Unless the editor of this site chooses a WAG of the week to accompany this article, I’ll just focus on the cups in this recap of Gameweeks 24 and 25 of the BPFL [Check back later for the WAG—Ed.].

We’ll start with the end of our participation in the website-wide Fantasy Cup. The last remaining contestants from the BPFL were eliminated in Gameweek 24, which by my calculations was the round of 32,000. The eighth hurdle proved too high for both Rise* of FC Hammer (a 69-64 loser) and Disgruntled Numpties (crushed 56-32). So, not a bad performance from those two teams, though given their overall ranking (each around 10,000th out of nearly 2.6 million entries) they might have hoped for better.

And, so, one more cup to tell you about:  The BPFL Cup begins this coming Gameweek. In a modification from last year’s format, we’ll have each of the first three rounds contested over a two Gameweek aggregate basis (tiebreaks, if necessary, will follow the rules for the Fantasy Cup).

Our two leaders, Old27M and Colorado Keeper, receive byes into the second round.

Below are the matchups for the first round, to be contested over Gameweeks 26 and 27:

I Am Liverpool v Sporting de Dijon

Average v Abes Army

Marskansas v Disgruntled Numpties

Rise* of FC Hammer v Clever & Witty

Nearpost v Fall River Marksmen

The Losers v Prison Mike

In the Premier League, the big news to digest during Gameweeks 24 and 25 was the closing of the transfer window and the concurrent addition of many players I hadn’t heard of before. While fewer big names moved at the end of the January compared to some recent years, there was still plenty of action. My advice: Take Mario Balotelli out of your side.

QPR and Newcastle seemed like the big buyers of the month and both seemed to follow their own themes.  QPR bought from Spurs (Andros Townsend and Jermaine Jenas) and Newcastle bought from France (too many to mention; really).

In the BPFL, there were multiple victories for Old27M, Colorado Keeper, Rise* of FC Hammer and a resurgent Average. Not surprisingly, this quartet occupies four of the top five spots in the table, with Old27M continuing to lead Colorado Keeper by five points.

There were a pair of losses for Sporting de Dijon, a freefalling Abes Army (four straight losses after touching the lofty heights of second place), Prison Mike and The Losers.

Old27M won Performance of the Week honors in Gameweek 24, with 67 points. Fall River Marksmen took the same gong in Gameweek 25, with 70 points.

In my opinion, no one deserved the Unlucky Loser award in either Gameweek.

After a quick midweek international break we’re back on Saturday for Gameweek 26.

There you have it, people. Set your teams tonight, and if you’re on the Atlantic seaboard of the U.S., batten down the hatches for Snowmaggedon. Cheers.

Brek Shea Completes Move to Stoke City, Capping Busy Week for MLS Exports

MLS: FC Dallas at San Jose EarthquakesFC Dallas and U.S. winger Brek Shea has completed his on-again, off-again transfer to Premier League side Stoke City (pending his work permit, which he’s expected to receive), and the lanky Texan who just doesn’t “like regular haircuts” is the third MLS product to land with a top-flight European side this week.

Shea follows ex-DC United star Andy Najar, who signed with Belgian champions Anderlecht, and Sporting Kansas City attacker Kei Kamara, who went on loan to Norwich City of the EPL.

This is all good for MLS, as it fills the league’s coffers while proving that the U.S. circuit produces quality players—and increasinlgy so: Earlier in the month, Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza, a U.S. citizen who plays internationally for Honduras, signed with Premier League side Wigan, and this past August, U.S. defender Geoff Cameron joined Stoke, where he’ll help Shea get acquainted.

A couple of other notable facts about these moves:

• Najar, a DC United Academy product, is the first MLS Homegrown Player ever to sign a contract in Europe.

• Kamara’s deal with Norwich includes an option to buy at the end of the Premier League season in May. If Norwich declines, KC will get the big Sierra Leone international back long-term: they extended his contract as part of the loan agreement.

• Shea, who was dogged by injuries last season—an off year for him—had surgery on his right foot in November. He’s reportedly a month away from being able to play.