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Season 2, Episode 57 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast recorded Sunday July 26, 2020, RELEGATED
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Hello and welcome to Episode 57 of the Pitch & Pint podcast, my name is Stephen and you can find me @6thGoal on Twitter.
I had to start the show with some positivity, even if it was late Troy Deeney winner from 2013 to send the Hornets to Wembley and a spot in the Championship Playoff Final.
I was asked by a friend to record a season ending podcast, something I had not really planned on doing, since cancelling my subscription to Libsyn, where I hosted the Pitch & Pint Podcast.
The last episode released was back on November 5, 2019, some 8 months ago after a tough 2-1 loss at the Vic to Chelsea.
Because of personal issues at home, the podcast and dedication to FPL was taking up way too much of my time.
I’d lose that delicate balance and could not continue spending hours a week to research, write, edit and produce my 30-minute podcast.
How James and Suj pump out the content they do, it’s amazing. Such dedication, but that’s how I view anyone who puts in time to a hobby they love.
Never did I expect much with the podcast, it was but a small fish in a very crowded pond that has seemed to get more crowded this season.
BEER REVIEW –THE SHIMPSONS (03:48)
Before I get too far into this, its time to crack open our first beer.
Since we are going BIG in our final show of the season, with the future in question, why not go big with our beer.
This brewery has been firing on all cylinders for a few years now. Out of Santa Cruz, CA, which is about 90 minutes south of me comes Humble Sea Brewing Company.
Based on my Untappd history, my first Humble Sea beer was last August, but I feel as if I had one a year, maybe two before at a dive bar in San Francisco called Toronado.
Their beers started hitting my radar when I drank Send It Like Beckham, an 8% DIPA.
Since then, I’ve started following them much more closely and look for weekly or bi-weekly releases from this brewery.
Thankfully my bottle shop gets cans and I’ve got a few friends who are in the Kooks Club and can get new releases days before they go on sale, for pick up or shipping.
The best way to describe Humble Sea can’t go without mentioned Tree House Brewing out of Charlton, Mass.
Don’t get me wrong, Humble Sea selections aren’t as good as what THBC brews, but its close. The West Coast “foggy” IPA seems to have taken hold in Santa Cruz.
Yeah, they call them foggy, not hazy because June and July usually produce quite a bit of fog to the coastline, where Santa Cruz lies.
That said, their beers are juicy and usually a vibrant opaque or murky yellowish or orange.
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Today its one of their newest releases, The Shimpsons, the name derived from the hit TV series written by Matt Groening, The Simpsons.
The can art is reminiscent of the opening scenario, as the camera pans down from the clouds in Springfield before the opening theme begins.
The Shrimpsons is a is a 10.2% hope fused DDH TIPA brewed with Riwaka and Rakau hops.’
Riwaka is one of the darling hops of New Zealand that stems from its parent hop, Saaz.
Its primary characteristics are grapefruit and kumquat.
Riwaka was previously known as AlphAroma and also developed in New Zealand.
This is more of a bittering and aroma hop, but does have a big fruit forward characteristic, described by a breeder as “the whole orchard.” Expect aromas of apricot, plum mango, pear and other stone fruits.
Let’s crack the top on this 16 oz. can.
The Shrimpsons pour a thick and foggy inviting deep orange with a slight whitish cap that dissipates leaving very little lacing.
The nose is a light citrus with a mild dank quality along with that stone fruit orchard dominated by apricot and a sweet juice.
Now this can might still be a bit green, released a week ago Sunday.
So, lets see how it goes down.
I’ll preface this by saying I was hoping the can would be a little colder than it is when I poured, as I feel there is a pronounced alcohol hotness in that first sip.
It’s not concerning, but usually the hotness increases as a beer warms and this one was starting out a big warmer than I expected.
Alcohol aside, its soft and smooth over the palate with a light carbonation with a taste that is loaded with stone fruit as well as some ripe grapefruit in a rather creamy body.
Not the biggest fan of the TIPA, but this is very tasty. Good to know I have got three remaining in the mini fridge.
Now with our first beer poured lets get into the show.
WHERE DID THE PPP GO? (05:55)
Can’t tell you how many podcasts or video streams are out there, but I can tell you how many I followed, after I stopped produced mine.
Take nothing away from those who make the big effort each week to produce content on a consistent basis
I had my favorites but realistically, there was no way in hell to listen and watch to ALL the content being created.
There were also others I avoided for various reasons, but that said, you can’t take away the fact that many put lots of time and effort into their content.
Life for me changed and I was struggling, long before the corona virus took our precious Premier League and made it a fucking shamble.
I honestly hoped they would null and void the season and I don’t say that as was Watford teetering on the brink of relegation when the season came to a grinding halt after GW29.
Thankfully I had a lot of support and love from the lads in the FPL Beer Club, as they all became my MVPs for this season.
There are many components to this game we play and are dedicated to, from August to May. Taking an overused analogy, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
However, the marathon I was running took a different turn when I realized this game and I emphasize game took over my life.
While I enjoyed writing for Fantasy Football Geek, 90MAAT and Planet FPL, the time I was spent was spiraling out of control as this game consumed my life.
The same thing happened after spending some 36 years participating in fantasy NFL football, as a pundit for a, now defunct site. The effort made did not justify the means, even if it was something I really enjoyed doing and was good at.
By no means was I having a banger of a season, when the game stopped at GW29, with an OR of 338k.
While I didn’t lose interest, I had to focus my time an attention on those things in life that are important to me. People and relationships.
Now I won’t bore you with details, because I am not here to have a pity party.
I mentioned people. The FPL Beer Club has been going strong and honestly, getting stronger after nearly 3 years.
Not sure any us thought this group would grow like we have with the world in upheaval, but we have.
FPL still plays a part with most of us involved, but its become so much more.
Again, it’s the people who make this game enjoyable and this group is amazing!
A diverse group from the US, England, Scotland, Ireland and Germany make up a close-knit group I now call friends.
We discuss life, celebrate success, mourn losses, support each other, along with drink beer, share reviews and trade beer.
Not to draw attention to myself, but I was able to saddle an FPL Beer Mule to deliver beer to the UK and Ireland, drop some pre-package boxes in the post and some of these guys were drinking some of the best beer in American from TreeHouse Brewing Company.
I’ve been very fortunate these lads were able to reciprocate, and the mule hauled beers (and glassware) back to the US.
Most recently with the coronavirus fucking life up, we’ve taken to hosting quizzes on Zoom.
It was a way not only to stay connected with no football but to put names and aliases to faces and voices.
Fuck me if I still can’t understand I Paul Am or The Dude Abides with their “thick” Scottish and Irish accents. It’s like I need subtitles.
This group continues to share the ups and downs of life. We rallied around Paul when he was struck down with COVID-19 and on a ventilator for weeks.
We’ve celebrated engagements and marriages, the birth of children. It’s really become more than just a group of guys playing the FPL game.
Depending on how life goes we are possibly planning a Leeds trip in 2021 to meet, hang around and drink beer.
Now with the lovefest out of the way, let’s move on.
I will try and make this segment quick and painless, but no matter how I view it, it’s a season to forget when it comes to Watford football.
As a supporter, I was excited to see Javi Gracia get signed to a long-term contact. His 2018/19 season was sensational, guiding the club to an 11th place finish in the Premier League and an FA Cup Final appearance, the first since 1984 when legend, Graham Taylor was our manager.
However, just 4 weeks into this season, the board fired Gracia. This after last season’s success and more importantly, bringing stability and a likeability to the club.
He was longest tenured manager since Gianfranco Zola between July 2012 and December 2013, spanning 51 games with points in 29 of them including 18 wins and 11 draws.
But with just a single point through 4 weeks the Hornets brought back Quique Sanchez Flores for just 10 games, which didn’t go well and only deepened a depressing season that saw Watford sink to 20th in the league
Sanchez Flores guided the Orns to just a single win, our only in the first 14 weeks of the season.
Honestly, do I really need to continue? After last season’s success, we were languishing in last place, like a ship without a rudder and I expected ownership to start a fire sale to ready the squad for the Championship come January.
While I refuse to call Nigel Pearson a “savior” for the club. He had a run of 8 games that included 4 wins and 3 draws to start his short-lived tenue at Vicarage Road.
But his crowning achievement for this season was the 3-0 home win over league leaders, Liverpool, who had run off 18 league games in a row that spanned 422 days!
For me, Pearson “strangled” the life out of Watford football and was as bad as Marco Silva when it came to field a starting XI.
Can’t tell you how many games that Silva refused to play two central forwards, but Pearson followed suite.
Looking back on Watford in recent years, some of their success had been based on two forwards. Look at what Deeney and Ighalo did or how well Deeney and Deulofeu played in that same roll last season.
Yet, our attack struggled ALL SEASON LONG!
34 goals, 3rd worst
405 attempts, 8th worst
115 shots on target, 3rd worst
28.4% on target percentage, worst in the league
8.3% goal conversion, 3rd worst
Some of this can be attributed to the ruptured cruciate ligament Deulofeu suffered after posting 4 goals and 4 assists through 28 games.
Not great, but he was the speed we needed in a central role to complement the power of Deeney to hold up play and act as enforcer.
We got a boost in the midfield signing Ismaila Sarr to contract, as he had that much needed pace in the midfield. With a healthy Deulofeu on the left, Sarr on the right and the partnership of Doucoure and Capoue in the middle, this was the strength of our team.
Let’s not forget Will Hughes, probably our MVP of this season, playing his consistent game with his creativity and control of the ball.
Ben Foster struggled, but I put much of that on an aging defense Janmaat (30), Dawson (30), Mariappa (33), Cathcart (31), Holebas (36) with Kabasele and Femenia both 29 years old.
Foster put some of his best numbers up last season and in June signed a contact extension for 2 more years, which should help us transition to Pontus Dahlberg.
Foster was excellent between the posts, but at times got very little help from a slow defense that was repeatedly caught out of position.
With Troy Deeney on or off the pitch, Foster I feel, is the leader of that team. He has a commanding presence on the pitch leading from the back, even though the Hornets have struggled to stop teams this season.
Just don’t bring up the 18 goals City have scored on us the last 3 times we’ve played.
Deeney, regardless of your love or hate for the man, continues to be the emotional leader. None of the younger talent seems to have his drive, dedication or determination. Not even budding stars, Doucoure or Sarr have that on pitch presence of Deeney to get in, muck it up and control a game.
Sarr however, was a one-man wrecking crew against Liverpool, scoring two on a very good Reds team that looked a step slow playing at Vicarage Road in GW28.
Looking ahead we do have some young talent that we look to finally get into our starting XI.
One of the most exciting is Joao Pedro coming over from Fluminense in January. Just google some of his highlights, where he scored 10 goals in Brazil’s top division.
Another attack minded player I am looking forward to is Juan Camilo aka Cucho Hernanadez out of Colombia.
At 21 he’s yet to feature for Watford being on loan since 2017 to Huesca and Mallorca, where he has scored 24 goals in 82 appearances.
As for the final game of the season, I last a bit over 2 minutes, as Mike Dean went to VAR and a bullshit penalty call on Dawson to put Aubameyang at the spot.
I didn’t waste time watching any more Watford football. As I sit here producing the pod, we’ve now dropped to 19th in the league, as Bournemouth defeated Everton, 3-1 while West Ham and Aston Villa drew 1-1.
So, it’s been a soild run Watford as we tuck tail and head back to the Championship League, where we haven’t been since 2015.
What do I expect? I don’t think we have the team chemistry to return to the Premier League after just one year. The club and ownership need to get together and figure out how to manage a club as a club and not a fucking business.
I continue to back the Pozzo Family, but this carousel of managers this year was our downfall.
I suspect we will see players like Doucoure and Sarr sold, top talent that will surely fetch good prices. Not sure Welbeck gets his contract renewed, then again does he want to play in the Championship?
This will give the club an opportunity to rebuild and bring in some new and upcoming talent the club has continually had on loan.
But for me, the most important aspect, get the manager right and back him for the job. Still feel Javi Gracia got the wrong end of the stick when the season started after just four games. That was the turning point of the season.
Let’s crack another beer as we get the second half started here on the Pitch & Pint Podcast
BEER NEWS – Cashmello (17:18)
While there hasn’t been much in the way of positive vibes this year, our first brewery opened in Brentwood, Calfornia, which is the city just next door to Oakley.
It’s called Imperiale Beer Project and the owners, Brandon and Jessica were the proprietors who opened up Imperiale Beer Café, which is now called Hop Asylum, my local pub and bottle shop owned by Brian.
Imperiale opened up under many restrictions, here in California. Like my bottle shop, he was only taking internet orders for pick up.
Early April saw the first fruits of their labor as I picked up four different styles of beer; a sweet stout, sour, pale ale and an IPA.
Since April, they have released 19 different beers, of which I’ve had 18. The 19th is in my mini fridge, but I haven’t Petey, which is a Kolsch style beer.
Honestly and I know my bottle shop guy won’t like this, but I’ve spent more money at the brewery, buying and drinking excellent, local beer.
There has not been a disappointing beer in the lot to date. I don’t think I was fair when I first reviewed their Sweet Stout, as the style was spot on but I expected a bigger, bolder stout, as the guys in the FPL Beer Club are accustomed to.
Today, it’s Cashmello, a 6.8% NEIPA brweed with Cashmere, Idaho 7 and Amarillo hops.
Cashmere is a good duo purpose hop that showcases lemon, lime and melon falvors with a smooth bitterness.
Haven’t been big on Idaho 7, but in this combination works well contributing a juicy tropical and stone fruit with a sticky pine and earth black tea note.
Amarilllo hops provide an orange citrus flavor and together with the Idaho 7 and Cashmere make this a smooth and very mild NEIPA that is enjoyable.
So let’s crack the top and pour this from a 32 oz crowler, which is how many of their beers are packaged reveals a nice, murky pour with a small, white head.
The smell is dominated by stone fruit and pineapple with a hint of citrus zest.
Let’s see how this goes down.
As with many NEIPA beers, this is very soft and smooth over the palate accompanied by a ripe pineapple and tropical fruit.
There is a late hint of pine dankness, but that’s not what this beer is about.
It’s a great choice as it’s easy to drink and quite refreshing. My new favorite from their recent releases.
Nothing like fresh beer canned the day you pick it up and it shows.
So, I raise a pint to all those in the FPL community and especially those in the FPL Beer Club on another season in the books. Cheers.
MY SEASON (20:20)
It’s time to get into just how my FPL season went, one that I honestly thought I wouldn’t do.
After a little heckling, I decided I had the time to write and edit the pod while at work.
Before the end of the show, I will drop some hints at what might becoming later this year or as next season starts but before I do that.
As with each new FPL season, we all have high expectations on a fast start to generate a high OR early in order to maintain and keep pace as the season goes on.
GW1 produced a 65-point average to start the season, exceeded only by the restart in GW31+ with 66 points, followed by a 62-point average in GW32+.
Looking at my game week history, it wasn’t until GW12 that my squad settled down or I made some good decisions and I started to string together consistent green arrows.
I languished near the million mark for most of the first third of the season.
As I did in the previous season, I activated the first wild card for GW3 based off just 2 weeks of games, which proved to be a good move jumping over 600k but giving back 300k the following week.
One area that exceeded expectations this season was my TV or team value.
According to Fantasy Football Fix my value of 105.3 is just 0.2 off that of the top 1000 managers at 105.5, never once coming up that 0.1 million short of picking up any player I was looking at transferring in.
While I didn’t play the season with TV in mind, I’ve made some great strides based off players I’ve held on to all season or those I picked up before their value increased.
KDB is the only player remaining from my GW1 squad, who’s value jumped from 9.5 to 10.7! One of the biggest price risers of this season.
As for the game since the restart it was nothing impressive. GW30, 31 and 32 saw me run off my Bench Boost, Free Hit and Wild Card, which saw just 1 green arrow, that being in GW30 scoring 121 points.
So reviewing the chips they were mostly failures, but at this point, I don’t care. GW38 appears I’ve scored 72 points, which should be a green as I finish at 206k, on 2222, which is 100 points off last season and a 31k finish.
But since money reigns supreme, it was really no surprise to see the Premier League restart. Just thought it really ruined the FPL game. Thankfully, it’s JUST A GAME!
FPL BEER CLUB PODCAST (23:15)
As I eluded to earlier, the FPL Beer Club isn’t an “exclusive club” it’s a group of guys who came together with the love for craft beer and football.
We’ve been talking about some collaborated effort on the part of the members to produce some sort of content.
To date we haven’t really nailed down what we want to do, but it’s no surprise that beer and football will probably be at the heart of the effort.
It is not the Pitch & Pint Podcast, which if you ask me right now will probably not return next season.
We are not sure how we will present, if it will be a stream, recorded video or just audio.
As mentioned, its interesting group of individuals who have really come together to represent a good cross section of the FPL community, from different walks of life at least that’s how I look at it.
We’ve got the some who don’t contribute much on Twitter to those with mass fanboy followings.
We have some who’s teams have just come to the Premier League or will be arriving next season.
We represent the top four and the bottom three and just about everything in between.
Again, no thought at this point on the sort content, but we have the numbers to rotate some of the regulars through on a weekly basis providing whatever we want to discuss.
If this comes together, we will post on Twitter and get the word out. Most of all, we want to continue having fun with or without FPL.
Beer has always been a great conversation center piece that brings people together.
I’ve said this before on the podcast. It doesn’t matter what you drink, from mass produced, big beer piss water to local craft beer and anything in between.
Beer is a hobby and you make it what you want it to be. I know not everyone in the club takes my hard ass stance, because some of the lads in the UK can only get some of the US crafty beer that I don’t want to drink.
The few that comes to mind, Sierra Nevada and offerings from Stone Brewing just to name two.
Over the last year, it’s been amazing to see US craft beer dropping in UK bottle shops.
Take nothing away from craft brewers in the UK like North, Deya, Wander Beyond, Verdant, Cloudwater and Pressure Drop.
Finback, Equilibrium, Other Half and Barrier seemingly have become commonplace, all out of New York and all making headways into the UK.
Don’t want to jump too deep into this, but there is ALWAYS something to discuss when it comes to beer, so you might pull up a stool at the bar, as there is always room at the FPL Beer Club.
Stay tuned for more information.
CHAT WITH FPL BEER CLUB (26:00)
Before I get out of here for good, thought I would bring in a few of the FPL Beer Club regulars. Based on the #FPL Beer Club League, we’ve got 33 people, but I would venture that 18-20 are regularly involved in the DM chat and maybe half of those when we quiz.
Let’s talk to one of the newest members, Jordan Day, on Twitter as @FPL_Jord, one of two Leeds United supporters, as The Whites return to the Premier League.
Welcome to the show Jord, how’s it going? How much beer have you had already? Still celebrating Leeds promotion?
So how long since Leeds was last in the Premier League Jord?
What are your expectations next season for Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds on their return?
How was your FPL season?
Before we talk beer, tell us a bit about the baking endeavor you and Becca are involved in?
You are relatively a newcomer to the craft beer scene. Living in Leeds has been like living in some of the big craft beer cities in the US; San Diego, the Bay Area, Portland, Denver, pockets of the Northeast just to name a few.
Give me your thoughts and experiences on craft beer in Leeds?
Jord, appreciate you taking a few minutes to talk baked good, FPL and beer. Cheers mate!
Our final guest I heard the first-time last year, when I stumbled upon his podcast. Liked his style and takes on FPL.
Let’ me welcome Chris Klein, @fpl_sauce on Twitter to The Pitch & Pint Podcast.
What’s up Chris?
FPL Sauce. This is how I knew you, when you co-hosted The Punt with Sloth.
Always thought you guys had fun putting those together, but like other pods, it fell by the wayside. What did you take away from your podcasting experience?
You are one of a few members who live in Virginia. Traditionally not known as a “top” area for craft beer, you’ve sent me some excellent beer from The Veil and Aslin Beer Company. Give me your thoughts on the area and growth of craft beer?
How did this FPL season go for you with the three-month stoppage in play gave you enough time to have a kid, didn’t it?
Cheers brother, thanks for stopping by, appreciate your time.
My next guest is probably our, speaking for the entire group, our favorite member. He’s a survivor with a heart of gold or is that haggis?
From Scotland I am so excited to talk to Paul, on Twitter as @The_PaulAitken.
Welcome mate, glad to spend some time with you.
How you feeling? And I ask this because you were struck down with COVID-19 after visiting London, in the ICU and on a ventilator when you returned home for weeks.
I know you recently got married and one of the best aspects of the FPL Beer Club is the individuals come together as a collective. They supplied you and Lou some gifts, didn’t they?
So, the beer club is lucky, as we have our own FPL Beer Mule who loves to travel abroad to Dublin, Edenborough and London on, well what used to a regular basis. Since this pandemic, the mule’s travels haven’t crossed the Pond.
What do you recall about meeting the mule for a pint and trading some pints?
Now it came to me, as well as others that you were a City fan, how the fuck did you keep that secret for so long? Here I expected you a die-hard Rangers fan but you fancy the sky blue.
Paul, thanks a million mate for your time, appreciate you coming on.
<queue Spanish Flea>
Thats it for Episode 57, thanks for listening.
This is probably the last episode for this venture, it’s been a lot of effort and time dedicated to keeping up with the pace at which FPL travels.
While not the biggest or the best pod out there, it provided me an outlet. The bottom line for me, when something is no longer fun, why do it?
All episodes of Pitch & Pint are no longer available but for posterity sake I will probably post them at 6thgoal.com.
With all the other quality podcasts out there, hopefully you will look to the upcoming FPL Beer Club endeavor.
If you like what you heard, tell your friends, if you don’t, tell me.
Follow me on Twitter @6thGoal providing FPL opinions, as well as craft beer content, posted using the hashtag 30SecondBeerReview.
You can also link to 30SecondBeerReview on Instagram for all things beer related.
For all my weekly FPL content head over to 6thgoal.com, as I always have something to say.
Thanks for all the support over the last two years, listening to The Pitch & Pint Podcast, FPL from inside the six.