The 2018/19 season ended just weeks ago but it seems that the battles, rivalries and divisions that developed over its tumultuous 38-week course have surfaced in a way few expected. The right-wing rise of the DSoE became a familiar fixture throughout the season with founder Sean Downs – a Brexit donor and close friend of Nigel Farage – espousing his anti-establishment message to any, and all, who would hear it.
Despite a fifth title-less season, a record third bottom place finish and a second official relegation, support continues to grow for Downs’ single issue mantra. Armed with a slogan of ‘Points Don’t Matter’ he initially saw growing support in the working-class doldrums of DoDi with DTA manager, Stephen Davies jumping onboard before being unceremoniously relegated that same season—a DSoE calling card.
In his own words, Davies briefly “escaped the cult of Downs” before being wooed back a season later. Still, few paid much heed to the failing insurgency, even when St. Pauli manager, Paul Gregory infamously joining before being brutally cast out by an increasingly unpredictable and dictatorial Downs. But then came the shift when the much-respected Xtal tha Pulsewidth manager, David Twigg joined the DSoE ranks. Expectedly, under his first season of DSoE guidance, Twigg watched on as his side endured a miserable campaign ending in relegation to DoDi—the third relegation for a DSoE side. You would think Downs would be embarrassed by this unwanted record or his unguarded hatred of the growing numbers of non-league managers desperate to join the league. In fact, it’s the opposite.
“The league wants you to focus on points, obsess them. Points mean nothing, titles mean nothing,” Downs exclaims. We’re sat in the opulent surroundings of the DSoE compound. Behind him, there’s a 20ft self-portrait oil painting showing Downs, Blue WKD in hand, stood over a kneeling William Penhallurick. “I teach a style of management centred on an enlightenment that the Fantasy elite can’t fathom” he continues. “At DSoE, we pride ourselves on our inclusiveness, flair and originality. Where the league allows any vegan or boring manager to join via the FT B backdoor, we proudly look after our own. The league uses trophies and titles as a measure of success; trophies and titles are meaningless. They aren’t allowed to enter the compound because I refuse to recognise them and every DSoE member has to do the same before joining.”
It’s a sentiment increasingly shared by his DSoE followers with a blind, fervent devotion reserved for manager who was won fewer titles than this season’s shock DoBo champion, Wyn Williams. Sat next to Downs, his trusted lieutenant, David Twigg speaks. “All the critics are just a bunch of muggy si’s,” he points out. “Wait ’til the results are out: these European elections will prove that the nation want DSoE.”
Sat on the left of Downs, DSoE’s latest recruit, Michael Davies echoes Twigg’s comments as Downs nods in agreement. “It all stems from jealousy,” Davies states. “My money is on Paul as the ring leader because how long did he camp outside the gates trying to get in? The country doesn’t know what it needs, the DSoE knows what’s best for the people. David was right with Thatcher and he’s right now.”
So far, the notion that the league or nation want DSoE’s divisive brand of Fantasy remains to be seen. Recent events saw a purported group of ‘milkshakers’ launch a series of attacks on DSoE followers with Downs, Twigg and both Davies targeted.
“We can only comment that a man has been arrested who is no longer part of the franchise,” Downs tells us from the safety of the DSoE bunker. “All I can say is that a man who applied to be part of DSOE but failed to merit a place has reacted poorly and that Arjen has informed me we are not able to name that person due to ongoing legal proceedings.”
The man in question is alleged to be Paul Gregory who has since gone to ground following a less than edifying end to the season. But with four DSoE managers in varying locations on the day in question, conspiracy theorists are adamant that if it was indeed Gregory, he wasn’t working alone—a fact Stephen Davies is keen to expand on. “He’s taken being rejected by the DSoE very badly,” Davies muses from a seat in the opposite corner of the room. Although allowed back into the DSoE, under the stern gaze of Downs, he explains that he’s had to “restart the process” but stops short at explaining why or what that process entails.
Whereas the identity of the milkshaker who attacked Downs, Twigg and Davies remains up for speculation, the identity of Stephen Davies’ attacker doesn’t seem to be in doubt. Jon Jolley, a former DoDi rival relegated to FT B allegedly disappeared from the dugout before the final whistle of his club’s last league game, only to be seen stood on the stand roof with what looked to be a bootleg Batman costume. “Jon is just an angry toddler. Jon, Paul, Peter Dinklage, they’re all the same. I just hope they get the help they need” Davies offers.
At this point, Downs nods to David Twigg and Michael Davies, thanks the FT for their continued support and exits the room. We ask the remaining members whether they fear for their safety or the prospect of sustained attacks. “It’s not so much safety, but I only own one suit and it’s seen a lot of action in cup finals as it is,” Michael Davies explains. “That and I don’t really like milkshake, if they could switch to Cherry coke I’d much prefer it.”
It seems Stephen Davies is about to offer an opinion but before he can speak, David Twigg stands up and roundly slaps him, growling “know your role” before turning and smiling. “I’m sorry you had to see that.” Michael Davies, now noticeably impatient, asks us for our last question. We put it to him specifically that as the most successful manager in the game, with five titles, how he felt about renouncing those victories to join DSoE?
“I 100% support it,” he states. “I’ve got a little storage unit just outside the grounds. I let Paul sleep in it when he was sleeping rough at the gates. Titles and not just league titles have become a joke. You’ve got a fucking vegan who should have been relegated winning DoBo by default and a giant trophy for a non-league cup competition.”