Fantasy Premier League

FPL champion: I still haven't fully realised what I've achieved

20 May 2024
Ben White celebrates

Jonas Sand Labakk describes what it feels like to be top of the world in Fantasy

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The 2023/24 Fantasy Premier League champion Jonas Sand Labakk says his achievement still hasn’t fully sunk in after he finished as the world No 1 aged just 20.

The Norwegian student watched from a pub on Sunday as his title was confirmed, with his team Onkel Blaa stretching its already comfortable lead over his nearest rival.

“I'm not even sure if it has sunk in on me yet, that I actually understand what I've done and how big of an achievement it actually is - winning by 51 points as well!” said Liverpool fan Labakk. “I don't know what the biggest win ever is, but it can't be far off.

“It means a lot. For me it’s quite hard to put many words on it. I'm now 20 years old and I've played ever since I was about nine years old, and all of a sudden now I'm the champion. It feels a bit surreal. I never dreamed I would win it. Never ever.

“It was both really fun and stressful. Over the last few weeks, a lot of mental capacity has gone to FPL, and at some point I actually felt a bit mentally drained as I've had a busy period both with illness and exams during that time.

“But I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I had to spend time on it.”

History for Norway

Labakk is the first Norwegian to be crowned FPL champion - a notable piece of history for a country that had the third-most Fantasy managers in Europe this season, and the 10th-most in the world.

“In the past we’ve had a few people in the top - most commonly known maybe is our chess world champion Magnus [Carlsen],” said Labakk.

“From everything I can see and read, Norway is regarded as a country that's quite good at Fantasy Football, maybe especially FPL. But we didn't have a winner, so it feels really special.

“People in Norway love football and with this game [FPL], it makes an already interesting product that is the Premier League even more interesting.”

Emotional rollercoaster

Labakk first started eyeing the No 1 spot in Gameweek 25, when he jumped from 63rd place to 27th in the world.

“That was the first time the thought really struck my mind, but even then I didn't believe it,” he said. “When Phil Foden scored a hat-trick when I didn’t own him, I thought it was all over. But the day after, [Alejandro] Garnacho scored a brace and my hopes were back up.

“But it wasn't really until Gameweek 33 when I climbed to third place that I realised I actually had a pretty good chance of winning.

“In Gameweek 34, when Arsenal played Chelsea and [Martin] Odegaard assisted Ben White - which for me from White looked like a cross - that was a fantastic moment because the guy behind me didn't have either of them.

“I think he had [Bukayo] Saka, Gabriel and [William] Saliba or something, so that was at least a nine-point swing. I nearly couldn't hold myself when they scored that goal. I was so happy.

“On the final day, I went to a pub with a few mates, and before going there I tried to not think much about FPL until about two hours before deadline maybe.

“You never know with football, so I didn't want to celebrate early. But when I saw [my rival’s] team, I was quite confident because there were only two different players. It was [Alexander] Isak and Garnacho versus [Kai] Havertz and [Brennan] Johnson. And 46 points, if he was going to win it, a gigantic miracle was needed.

“I’ve had many people - friends, family and people I haven't talked to in years - sending me messages now. It’s really fun.”

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