Holly Shand | Fantasy Premier League Content Creator
Hi Holly, thank you for taking the time to speak to us today. Can you tell our readers about yourself, what you currently do and how did you end up where you are right now?
I’m a Fantasy Premier League Content Creator and have been working in the space for five years. I initially started out on Twitter interacting with others in the FPL community, before starting my own website and pursuing freelance work in the sector.
When did you know you wanted to work in fantasy football?
I never set out for fantasy football to be my job, it was always a passion which became something far bigger. I knew after a couple of years playing and interacting that I would enjoy making content around FPL but it took me a while to find my niche, which was aggregating content. When I came up with the idea I knew that I’d be able to make it successful and potentially take it further. The rest is history!
You write all about FPL for The Athletic and also a pundit for Sky Sports, can you tell us a bit more about those roles and how they came about?
The Athletic is a great forward-thinking company to work for: I attended a female Talent ID day in February 2020 where my potential was recognised. The global pandemic meant that I didn’t start providing content for them until June 2021 but it was worth the wait! I currently write articles around FPL and international tournaments on a weekly basis and I’m excited to see how my work with them evolves in the future.
I’ve recently started work as a FPL pundit for Sky Sports and it hasn’t really sunk in yet! It was always a dream but one that I believed had zero chance of becoming reality as I couldn’t see Sky actively endorsing the Premier League fantasy product when they already have their in-house game. I received an email from the producer leading the show over the summer and filmed for the first time in their studios just last week. One key thing to note from this opportunity is to ensure that you have your email address visible on your social media profiles!
FPL seems to be covered by more media outlets in recent times. Is it a case of more and more play or is there something else behind the growth?
FPL is going mainstream: the player base is growing all of the time and as more mainstream content becomes successful it’s inevitable that other brands jump on the bandwagon and actively create their own content in the space. We’ve seen phenomenal growth for personalities working in this space, including across social media, which only backs up the growth of FPL and more broader investment.
Tell us about your YouTube channel — Holly Shand FPL. I see you recently reached 15k subscribers, so congratulations! How did the channel come about, how much work behind the scenes and what are your plans for it?
Thank you! YouTube has been a slow burner for me since starting the channel back in 2019. It’s only through working with Wolves in the last 18 months that I’ve really tried to work on the production side, before then the content was very basic. Refining content has obviously led to me spending more time on it: I’d say I dedicate around 10 hours a week to it at the moment. Shorts are becoming highly popular on the platform and so that’s an area I’m looking to experiment in.
With the FIFA World Cup taking place mid-season and therefore more games played closer together, has this season been the most challenging to play and work in FPL?
As a freelancer, yes (although I am looking forward to some quieter work weeks in late November!). FPL has been a nightmare to play since the pandemic, with multiple seasons disrupted due to last minute postponements: 2022/23 is another one to mark with an asterisk. The juggle has certainly kept things interesting though: I’m very consistent with my content despite the challenges at play which can set me apart from others working in the space.
What’s the highest number of points you’ve generated on a single matchday?!
184 on Bench Boost in Double Gameweek 34 of 2015/16 — this was the first year FPL introduced the chips in the game and it’s fair to say I nailed it. It’s definitely my favourite moment during my time playing the game.
What do you do to switch off outside of work?
I have two young children so switching off from work is pretty easy: I don’t get a moment to think about work when on Mum duties. I’m very much a statistics driven FPL manager and so I don’t watch much football on a weekend: I’ll catch up with Match of the Day on a Monday. That means I generally try to work a 9–5 in the week and take the weekend off.
And finally Holly, where can people find you on social media to connect?
You’ll find me on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube: @hollyshand. I’m also active on LinkedIn and TikTok (@holly_shand).
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