Preview: DoBo

Last season, FC Des managed to evoke the spirit of 2014/15 to pull off another closely fought title win. Going into the final Gameweek, it was FC Des’ to lose as Exeter Gently’s Mehdi Daoudi crumbled under the pressure, making some last-second changes to his team that would have sensationally swung the DoBo title in their favour. But with Vardy and Mahrez bounced from Daoudi’s matchday squad, it was left to FC Des to cap their steady rise to greatness with the most coveted title of them all.

Michael Davies’ quietly consistent revolution established FC Des as the team to beat from the outset. Under Davies’ leadership, the club have risen to become the most successful in the league, squeaking ahead of the legendary Cacos—and with Younis’ side standing as the only team to win back-to-back DoBos, Davies will be motivated to complete the job and truly knock Cacos “off their fucking perch”.

That isn’t to say Davies’ team are unbeatable. They had to fight the hard way to win their maiden DoBo, and many critics maintain that it was just as much a combination of Mehdi Daoudi buckling in the face of FC Des’ unwavering consistency as it was Davies’ impressive managerial discipline. A shock defeat to William Penhallurick’s The Jager Bombers in the SaKo final also proved that FC Des can be beaten on their day, and questions remain over Davies’ ability to switch up his tactics when consistency doesn’t quite cut it. Until now, however, he hasn’t had to, and the onus on the other teams in the division is to put Davies’ side into the uncomfortable position of taking a risk—fail to do so, and his tried and trusted Mourinho-esque style will always grind out the glory the club is quickly becoming accustomed to.

One side that could threaten FC Des’ supremacy is Rory McCarthy’s The Pain Train. The outstanding side of last season, McCarthy’s ability to stick or twist at key parts of the campaign saw his side wrap the DoWo title up by Christmas. After a poor first season that saw ‘The Train’ lazily move up into DoWo in DTA’s slipstream, there were no such concerns this time out as McCarthy’s stylish side blazed a trail into a top division many expect them to be competitive in.

DoBo, however, remains a deliciously different prospect to the other divisions in the league. Higher stakes mean more pressure and loaded decisions can easily backfire—no other division is as ferociously tactical as DoBo has become over the years. It’s no coincidence that after the high-risk title-winning strategies of previous years, conservatism and consistency have become the order of the day and it’s an environment that has enabled sides like FC Des, and formerly, Farts of Midlothian to thrive with their low risk, high reward approach to the game paying dividends.

Once the king of understated consistency, Martin Arthur has found his side in the wilderness in recent seasons. After competing in the shadow of Cacos for years, Farts of Midlothian find themselves up against FC Des—a kind of Farts 2.0 in style and substance. Once a top division powerhouse, the Farts’ descent into mid-table mediocrity would ring alarm bells in other clubs but Arthur’s ability to bounce back from adversity has been proven—after all, the Farts followed a dismal relegation to DoWo with an imperious promotion that put FC Des in the shade that season. In what could be one of the next great rivalries, Arthur will know he’s comprehensively had the measure of Michael Davies and FC Des once before, but Davies currently has the edge. The question remains: can he do it again at the top level?

One manager whose presence at the league’s top table continues to confound and deny logic is Sean Downs and Super Ted FC. After Cacos’ demotion to non-league for financial irregularities, Downs’ saw his side avoid relegation on a technicality for the second time in his career. No other manager has had that good fortune and no other manager has squandered it quite as carelessly as Downs with both Downsy’s 11 and Super Ted FC. Entering his fifth season without any silverware, the absence of the awful Downsy’s 11, and the return of the much-loved Super Ted FC could see Downs end his era of failure with a trophy. For a few glorious weeks in the 2016/2017, Downs could lay claim to being amongst the world’s best, but in a style reminiscent of every title race he’s competed in, collapsed under the pressure and watched Mehdi Daoudi romp to the DoWo title and rewrite history in the process. Many Downsy’s 11 fans felt that should have been their team but with yet another reprieve, Cacos out of the way, and a chance to go for the game’s biggest prize, the hope is that the only battle Super Ted FC will be involved in is at the top—and Downs’ Trump-esque self-belief bears out for the first time in five years.

Whatever happens this season, Borussia Teeth’s presence in DoBo is amongst the biggest shocks in the league’s history. Forget FC Des’ improbable DoDi title comeback in 2015; forget Cacos upsetting the Farts in the 2017 YoBo final; forget Will Penhallurick’s Jager Bombers destroying FC Des’ hopes of the treble in the 2018 SaKo final, because Wyn Williams’ masterminding his perennial mid-table side’s rise to DoBo is arguably the greatest story of them all. Rewind to 2015 and Borussia Teeth were within an Esteban Cambiasso goal of being relegated to DoDi, a division they’d probably still be in. Instead, that beautiful bald Argentine relegated DTA and preserved Borussia Teeth’s status as the ultimate mid-table team…until now.

An unremarkable season suddenly became the best in the club’s history as the Teeth improbably rose to a dizzying second place and, for once, held it. Williams’ team had flirted with promotion in the past, only to ease back into the familiar comfort of third place, and while many Teeth fans would take that mid-table familiarity in their debut DoBo season, could their promotion be the catalyst for a change in mindset or a club dizzyingly, briefly punching above its weight?

THE PUNDITS’ PREDICTIONS

Reef
1 – The Pain Train
2 – Farts of Midlothian
3 – FC Des
4 – Super Ted
5 – Borussia Teeth

Mehdi
1 – FC Des
2 – Farts of Midlothian
3 – The Pain Train
4 – Borussia Teeth
5 – Super Ted FC