Six-Month Diary of a Footstocker
This is an authentic account of one individual’s experience on Footstock, and isn’t intended to be a reflection of how every user’s first months on the platform will turn out. Profit is not guaranteed, please gamble responsibly.
I joined Footstock back in April 2020 after hearing lots of buzz about it on Twitter. My background is predominantly in FPL, but I’d also dipped my toes into Football Index. Footstock seemed to be a great hybrid of the two!
I signed up and deposited £30 initially, and immediately made every new-player mistake in the book! I lost cards to roulette that I shouldn’t have been losing, and I entered teams into the virtual contests without checking the stats as to whether they could score or not (James Maddison I’m looking at you!).
Despite a ropey start, I was well and truly hooked. After hitting a few of the rewards, I decided to deposit a little more to buy an Exclusive pack.
Looking back now, this was my early pivotal moment which turned Footstock from a hobby into something approaching an obsession. The first Exclusive pack I bought was an ABSOLUTE BANGER! Including Trent Alexander-Arnold and Heung-min Son as the star players, but perhaps more importantly £150 in contest credit!
My wife had no idea why I was suddenly jumping around the living room for no apparent reason. Trying to explain that it was because I’d just won a digital card that I could sell for over £100 was an interesting conversation! That one slice of luck gave me the footing I needed to really build my collection.
Trent was sold faster than you can say his full name. The £105 I got for him was spread around the various 1- and 2-star players I needed for the Beginner contests that were my bread and butter in these early days.
It was at this point that I decided to start tracking my performance in a graph in the same way I do for my FPL team. Because I’m a massive geek! The below graphs show my profit and total card numbers over the five months I’ve been keeping track (I define profit as collection value + cash balance + withdrawals – deposits).
I’ve tagged the graph with various key moments. These resulted either from a change implemented by Footstock, big market movement or something good (or bad!) that I did myself.
When I started tracking my performance I was already £200 in profit. This was largely due to the outrageous pack I bought, plus prices being on the rise. But the first peak on the graph coincides with the introduction of the virtual battles game mode.
Looking back on that day, it’s funny to think that on Slack, most people’s opinion was that virtual battles wouldn’t impact the market and that it would be just a fun new addition to the platform … long-term they were absolutely correct, but for one glorious day … the market went ballistic!
It’s the first time I’d got to see the power of what seemed like the ENTIRE userbase buying at the buy now price, again and again, across all players for nearly a whole day!
Suddenly, players you’d never thought of owning were essential to get into the next battle. But EVERYBODY wanted to be in the next battle: hundreds of people rushing to buy the same players can only end one way! A couple of stand-out memories are both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Djibril Sidibe selling for circa £20 each!
Imagine somebody called last orders at the pub but everyone in the building had an empty glass, and the drinks got more and more expensive depending on how long it took you to get to the bar … it was carnage!
Of course, after such an almighty session, came the hangover. People woke up the next day in a groggy haze, looked at their phones to find they’d paid £12 for Teemu Pukki and quickly lurched into the bathroom. A few sore heads and a small market dip followed. But overall, it was an incredible 24–48 hours to be on the platform!
I finished the period up another £100. And I hadn’t really done anything other than have some fun in the battles!
Perhaps the biggest spike on the graph is labelled roulette win. This was another of those game-changing moments which show just how many ways there are to win on Footstock.
I’d never been a huge roulette player, but I’d developed a bit of a system where I would spend a few pounds on players for the 1- and 2-star games. If they did well, I’d sell them and buy some players for the bigger leagues. And if they didn’t, I’d just call it a day.
On this particular day I just had a very, very good day. I won enough in the little leagues to enter some players into the 8-man. I then managed to pick up an Azpilicueta there, who went on to win me another 8-man and then the 16-man. From a pure gambling perspective it was such a thrill, and from a profit perspective the pots I won were huge! I ended the day £330 up, which nearly doubled my profit! Of course, as anyone who frequents the games Slack channel knows, this luck could not continue. Over the next couple of days I lost around half of this being a greedy man and trying to replicate the luck of that fateful day!
Overall though, this period on the roulette rollercoaster added a decent chunk to my bankroll and allowed me to pick up some contest players. At that point, I was ready to start making my way into the Amateurs (now known as Silver contests). By the middle of June, I’d gone from £200 profit and an 85-card collection to £900 profit and 360 cards!
Return of real football
It’s been well documented that having a huge influx of users over a period where player PPG was static and the only way to bet was virtuals created a bubble for certain player prices. This bubble could only last so long, and as soon as virtuals-only season was over, it popped.
Earlier, I described the day after virtual battles were introduced as being like waking up with a hangover. The end of the virtual season was like waking up on a plane back from an all-inclusive holiday to Magaluf and wondering a) How did I get here?, b) Why do I only have one sock on?, and c) Why am I now wearing a wedding ring and who is this woman (or man) next to me?!
You look on your phone for answers and to your horror you see you spent £15 a pop on Mbwana Samatta and £10 on Joelinton and you now own 10 of each. Why did I pay that when Vardy is only £4? Why do I need 10 Samatta when he doesn’t even start for Villa anymore?!
And so the sell-off began. It needed to happen, for the obvious reasons stated above. More rational pricing took over and people started to value players based on, well, how good they were at playing football!
This dip took out about £250 of profit over the space of around ten days. But at least I didn’t have to live in a world where Samatta was three times the price of Jamie Vardy anymore!
Throughout this whole time – April to the end of June – I’d won £147 in contests. Not too shabby from what was now £400 deposits, but not pulling up any trees either. A very Burnley-like performance: not going to get me relegated, but I’m never qualifying for Europe with numbers like that.
However, July was a different story! I took home around £820 in contest winnings with three big wins (over £100) interspersed with a few small cashes. For one such win, I was around 2–3 points ahead of a myriad of teams who still had a player in play, whilst my team was all out. Other than supporting my own club, I can’t remember ever being invested in a game in my life, and in particular the performance of Sadio Mane. Thank heavens he didn’t score, or assist, or get an extra contest won … phew!
Stat roulette removed and “Heatongate”
July was a busy month for more than just contests. One announcement sent my collection value soaring, whilst another brought it down like a stone!
The removal of stat roulette was a bittersweet moment. It had to go for the good of the platform, but it did provide a really fun daily game which was quite often very profitable (shoutout to Dale Stephens – eternal hero for winning me a Kevin De Bruyne and Sadio Mane!). But it was this profitability which meant it had to go. If everyone could just buy 10 Dale Stephens and pick up a KDB, then why pay to buy KDB from someone else? The market reacted positively to this news, with a variety of cards soaring in value now that their scarcity was protected.
Then came Heatongate … which I have tagged on my graph as Heatongate, but I feel like it should really be called swapgate. Kind of like how the Spanish Flu should really be called H1N1 Influenza, but everyone blames the Spanish anyway! I wont dwell on it here, but I don’t think anyone on the platform at that time had a collection which came out of Heatongate (Swapgate) entirely unscathed.
By far the biggest self-inflicted wound I’ve suffered was my eagerness to dive into the new-player packs. Wiser heads on the platform were preaching patience. They put forward a very logical argument as to why you should wait until the end of the transfer period to jump in head-first … but I didn’t listen!
I saved up a little cash balance and even committed the cardinal sin of selling some of my collection to go fishing for a Timo Werner. I cast my rod out hoping to land a big one and came away with … most of the Leeds and West Brom squads. A harsh reminder that packs are, and always have been, a gamble!
My own exuberance coupled with others also selling some established players to chase the new ones cost me around £300 profit. I’m not going to lie, I wish I’d listened to the guys on Slack. The new-player packs are filled with all sorts of James Rodriguez-shaped goodies now!
Packs stopped, buybacks and the no-lose contests
There was a little lull throughout August with not a great deal happening for me in terms of wins or losses. But in the background, Footstock were quietly cooking up what I personally think might be their greatest innovation yet. Pack market buybacks.
In one fell swoop, they resolved what was for many the Achilles heel of the platform. Stemming the supply of cards and putting controls around card circulation, without removing the fun and buzz of a pack opening. Magnificent. And the market agreed!
Whilst we were still reeling from one announcement, they hit us with another! A 16.5% net spend period coupled with a weekend when up to £200 tournament losses would be refunded … I mean, just madness! And yet, maybe not. As again, the market reacted very positively. That took my profit figure very close to an all-time high. In the process, I almost recovered my losses from my new-player pack binge!
This takes me almost perfectly to the six-month milestone. It’s actually incredible the changes that have been made to the platform in that time!
So… six months in:
Starting position – £30 deposit and bonus cards
Finishing position – £600 net deposits, £1,234 profit and 517 cards.
I wonder where I’ll be in another six months’ time?! Bring on the auctions!