The final whistle has blown on the biggest fantasy football game in insurance with a cliff-hanging last-minute penalty that decided it
After all the blood, sweat, tears, joy and heartache the football season has reached its climax and for all the QBE Fantasy Football managers the final whistle has blown.
The winner, after a final Premiership afternoon of frayed nerves is Elstree Insurance broker Matthew Hewitt’s The Ideal Toffeemen who were crowned champions by a three-point margin.
One of the many ironies of that final day was that Hewitt, a passionate Everton fan, hence the name of his team, won the league because of Didier Drogba’s fifty seventh minute strike against the Toffeemen
“It was clearly a foul in the build-up and should have been disallowed, but I am glad it wasn’t,” says Hewitt.
Hewitt and his family were tracking every kick that Sunday afternoon to work out how his fantasy football team were doing against his rivals to win the league.
Hewitt said: “My son was on the internet and we were also watching the Manchester United v West Ham game on TV and getting the latest updates. At half-time I was in second place and behind by four points.”
A nervous 45 minutes followed for Hewitt, his wife Joanne, his two teenage sons and his two daughters, aged five and four. Then came the Drogba strike that changed everything.
But even then, it wasn’t all over. The second placed team Forest Till I Die, managed by Richard Hirst from Aon Professional Risks had Steven Gerrard in his team and in the ninetieth minute Liverpool got a penalty in their game against Charlton that could have won it for Hirst.
“Liverpool got a penalty in the last minute and normally it would have been Gerrard who would have taken it, that would have knocked me off the top, but Kewell took it, and scored,” says Hewitt.
Hirst said: “I am gutted. I missed out by one goal.”
But he was gracious about just missing out on the top prize. “I am glad for Matthew, because he has been top for a long time.”
Hewitt had indeed held the top spot for the last month. His stalwart defence of two Liverpool players contributed to Matthew’s victory.
“I hated having Jamie Carragher and Steve Finnan in my team, but they did so well.”
With the £50,000 prize money, Hewitt is taking his family to Disneyland in Paris and buying an Everton season ticket.
With the rest, he was still in much discussion with Joanne about what they planned to do, as they disappeared into the afternoon drizzle hand-in-hand.
?Broker Cup winner
With the memories of Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson doing battle at the new Wembley still fresh in people’s minds, another hotly fought over cup was decided last week.
This was the QBE Broker Cup, which pitched broker against broker to find the winning team in a knock-out competition.
Moorhouse’s David Bennett won the final battle, with his team Dai Ben’s Ballooners beating Adrian Flux’s Alex Field and his team Downham Mungrels in the final.
As a United fan David’s success in the final was down to the Chelsea hitman Didier Drogba. “I have two Manchester United players in my team – Ronaldo and Heinze – who have done really well, but Drogba was the one that won the broker cup for me.”
Bennett won a Wii Nintendo gaming system and a magnum of bubbly as part of winning the brokers’ cup and aimed to enjoy the latter to celebrate a United win in the FA Cup final. “I met friends in Preston and was looking forward to celebrating a United win, but it wasn’t to be. And who was it who prevented me from doing that? That man Drogba again.”
David now has his nephews competing to get on his Wii Nintendo gaming system. “They are like, can we go and see uncle David. But me and my girlfriend have played on it and we enjoyed it.”
?Roll of honour: Managers of the Month over the season
Interestingly, the first QBE Fantasy manager of the month was a woman. Steph Murray from Milestone Insurance who was the September Manager of the Month thanks to her faith in Everton players Tim Cahill and Arteta.
October’s winner was Chubb Underwriter Tony Wright, whose AFC Dons won top spot thanks to unsung heroes Portsmouth full-back Matthew Taylor and Senagalese wingman El-Hadji Diouf.
November’s Manager of the Month was Chaucer director Mark Graham and his actuarially named Expanding Funnel of Doubt, based on his faith in Reading striker Kevin Doyle.
In December, Mathew Sims worked magic with his team Merlin’s Marvels. The magic was worked thanks to a brace from Pompey’s Linvoy Primus.
Gezza’s Giants won the January Manager of the Month with Luca Fettes account handler Paul Rostron thanks to the goals of Didier Drogba.
In February, QBE’s very own Royal – a Reading fan – Pete Graham won the award thanks to his commitment to Reading striker Kevin Doyle and Reading defender Kevin Shorey.
March saw Adam Hutchison from Motor broker Adrian Flux take the top spot spot, with both Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo propelling his team up the table.
April belonged to Gary Froggatt, an accountant with injury claims lawyers Bott & Co with his team the Cloons.As an Oldham fan he had one adage: “Don’t pick any Man City Players.”