Fantasy Premier League

Joanne Hales-Owen makes FPL history with third-place finish

7 Jun 2023
Joanne Hales-Owen

Highest UK finisher in 2022/23 says football and Fantasy are for everyone and encourages more women to start playing

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In a Fantasy Premier League season that saw records tumble, Joanne Hales-Owen carved her own place in FPL history.

On a thrilling final day, Joanne's team Twist Tigers finished on 2,770 points, only six points behind champion Ali Jahangirov.

See: How the FPL title was won

In doing so, she became the highest-placed UK manager in 2022/23, and achieved the best-ever finish by a woman.

Having started Gameweek 22 placed at 299th in the world, 11 green arrows helped Joanne climb to joint-third by the end of the Gameweek 38 matches.

Indeed, Traci Wong's sixth-placed finish on 2,758 points ensured that two female managers claimed a top 10 spot for the first time. Prior to 2022/23, Veronika Solymosi, who was seventh in 2013/14, and Tess Oklin, 10th in 2021/22, were the only previous women to break into the top 10.

"I saw a woman hadn't won it before, but I had no idea how high a woman had finished before,"  Joanne explains. "I'm really chuffed. It's amazing.

“My rank seemed to keep going up and I thought it was going to go wrong at some point, and somehow I managed to hang in there.

“I probably just made the right decisions at the right times. But also I was just quite careful with my transfers, especially when I started to realise that I was doing well.

"I was really careful about not taking lots of hits and played quite safely, but then choosing those differentials that got me those extra points each week."

'Football and FPL are for everyone'

Joanne is also mum to three young girls, including twins, who were born just ahead of the start of 2022/23. She is actively encouraging her daughters to be involved in football from an early age.

“It's so important to get everybody involved," she says. "I went to an all-girls school and we didn't play football. It wasn't offered as one of our sports, only as an after-school thing that you could sign up to.

"It doesn't need to be that way. It's definitely for everybody. My little girl has been to football practice and I think it's nice to to do it. You know the girls are included in everything.”

Getting into FPL

Like many FPL managers, Joanne starting playing the game with friends and family, and it has since become a passion. 

“It was my partner and his brother that got me into it and then their mates had a league and they encouraged some of the girls to come into it," says Joanne.

"I didn't really know what I was doing that first season, I was picking people at random - that's how it started really. We've all had a league together ever since. I’ve also ended up in work leagues and kept playing.

'Embrace the rollercoaster'

“It's just really fun. I like the competition, the rivalry, and in the mini-leagues you've got to embrace the rollercoaster of it - the disastrous Gameweeks and the brilliant Gameweeks!

"Playing just gives you an interest in all of the Premier League matches and you end up watching games that you wouldn't otherwise have because you've got your players playing.

"It also helps with general football knowledge. It's a talking point and if there's a work league, it's nice to get involved and have a talking point with colleagues. Just give it a go!”

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