Football Index: Cash Builder Series


If you haven’t done so already, and have not yet tried Football Index (“FI”), I’d suggest that you read our Football Index beginner’s guide as it explains most of the key concepts (including dividends, buying and selling players and commission). If you’d like to follow along, you can join Football Index here.

This is the first of a new series for the 2019/20 season. Each month I will deposit £100 into Football Index and invest that money in 4 or 5 players. The aim of this series will be to grow that investment as much as possible. My focus will be on the percentage return of investment from my players (or expected returns post-commission for players I still have in my portfolio). For this cash builder series, I’m going to set myself the following rules:

  • I will invest £100 in the first week of each month,
  • I will buy no more than 5 players,
  • I will look to short-term trades (i.e. 30 day/monthly cycles) rather than longer term,
  • Every trade I do, whether profitable or not, will be discussed in this series of articles.

For the first month of this series (October 2019), my goal is to use the skills I’ve gained through playing FPL for many years to identify 4 players are “in-play dividend magnets”. That is, players who are expected to score or assist a number of times throughout the month. In order to maximise my expected return on investment, and given I have a small portfolio at present, I will be looking at players who are priced at £2 or less.

Forward look – October 2019

This month there will be an international break from 07 to 17 October in which there will be Euro 2020 qualifiers which are eligible for dividends. In the English Premier League, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga, there are three rounds of domestic fixtures. There are four rounds of domestic fixtures in La Liga and Serie A. From 22 to 24 October, there will also be a round of UEFA Champions League and Europa League matches.

My aim is to buy shares in players who fit much of the following profile:

  • Is priced at less than £2 per share,
  • Plays for a European international side,
  • Has an attractive set of fixtures domestically and internationally,
  • Plays for a team that is in the UEFA Champions League or Europa League, and
  • Has strong underlying stats for in-play dividend hunting (i.e. has a lot of touches in the box, takes plenty of shots in the box or has a high number of key passes).

My Football Index picks for October

In this section of the series, all stats are taken from and for shots in the box and key passes I will be focusing on domestic leagues. The total goals and assists returned so far this season will include European and international football. I will be investing 25% of my portfolio in each of these players this month:

Robert Lewandowski (£1.89) – Bayern Munich and Poland

  • Shots in box (per game): 3.5
  • Key passes (per game): 0.2
  • Goals and Assists so far: 15

Lewandowski is perhaps towards the upper end of the sub-£2 bracket and so he’ll need to return at least 4 times in the next month to recover the commission that will be paid on him. However, he is a goals and assists machine, demonstrated by his high return rate so far this season. He plays for a dominant Munich side, in the Champions League and has some decent fixtures for Poland.

Ciro Immobile (£1.30) – Lazio and Italy

  • Shots in box (per game): 2.7
  • Key passes (per game): 2.3
  • Goals and Assists so far: 9

I’m a big fan of Immobile and I think he is one of the most under-valued players on the Index. He is equally able to get goals or assists. Italy rotates its strikers and so it is not guaranteed that he’ll start both games over the international break, however if he gets significant game time across both then I think he’ll add to the handsome total of goals and assists that he’s accrued so far this season. Lazio play in the Europa League and Immobile has already managed to return in those matches this season.

Wout Weghorst (£1.24) – Wolfsburg

  • Shots in box (per game): 3
  • Key passes (per game): 2
  • Goals and Assists so far: 7

The main downside to Weghorst is that he is not regularly in the Netherlands squad and so owning him will mean that there is a two week gap in fixtures where he is able to gain dividends (this article is written on 04 October prior to the international break). However, domestically and in European football Weghorst represents good value and he as a history of hauling but hasn’t done so this season so far. I think that an explosion may be imminent as his underlying numbers are excellent. Should he explode, I think his price will rise and give an opportunity to exit the trade on capital appreciation. Wolfsburg are playing in the Europa League and so Weghorst will have 4 matches this month.

Edin Dzeko (£1.05) – Roma and Bosnia

  • Shots in box (per game): 2.2
  • Key passes (per game): 0.7
  • Goals and Assists so far: 10

Dzeko is the captain of Bosnia and so it is safe to assume that he will play in both of their matches. Roma are playing in the Europa League and so Dzeko will have 7 matches in which to return this month. The bulk of his returns will come from goals as he is a poacher and playing well for Roma. Given he is the cheapest player in this article, he would only need to return three times to cover the commission to be spent bringing him into my portfolio. He is very capable of doing just that as in September 2019, Dzeko returned 7 times leading to a post-commission return on investment through in-play dividends alone of 4.7%. He also rose in price by 10.5% over the course of the month.

Exit strategy

It is normally a good idea to go into a trade with a rough idea of how, and when, you will exit that trade. As you gain more experience on Football Index, you will develop more of a sense about when is the right time to exit a trade. However, when starting out, it is good to have a target return of investment at which you will look to exit a trade. It is also vital, to protect your portfolio, to have an idea of when you would cut your losses and exit an unprofitable trade.

As a general rule, if a player I hold increases by 25% during the first 30 days I hold that player or is no longer eligible for in-play dividends because I’ve owned those shares for more than 30 days, I’ll look to exit the trade by selling my shares to the market. If a player drops by 15% in value or is unable to play for the rest of the month due to injury or suspension, I’ll look to exit the trade by selling to the market if possible.

Cash Builder Summary

October 2019
Amount invested£100
Return on investmentN/A

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FPL obsessive | Scottish | Top 200 of all-time.

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