Fantasy Football League
Ross King (1992-3)
Dominik Diamond (1993-4)
BBC Radio 5, 16 August 1992 to 8 May 1994
Twelve football-related personalities bid against each other to secure players for their team. They select the best players for each week's fixtures, and score (and lose) points based on how well they do on the pitch. And then a couple of the managers joined Ross King to discuss how the week's football events were affecting their team.
This lasted for about two episodes, before the producers realised that it was making for shockingly dull radio. Even the introduction of a knockout cup competition wasn't going to make an hour of "why did you bench Cantona and sell Scott?" interesing. So the competition element - scores, standings, transfers - was briskly dealt with in the opening minutes, and the rest of the show turned into a Sunday morning gab-fest between Ross King, callers, and whichever two of the rotating cast of regulars joined him that week.
King left the programme towards the end of 1993, replaced by Dominik Diamond from Gamesmaster. When Radio 5 turned into a news-and-sports station, he was allowed to see out the season and declare a winner. The mixture of football and whimsey didn't fit with the new seriousness, and the show wasn't renewed for a third season.
Sunderland manager Malcolm Crosby calling up the programme to address criticism of his side.
Shelly Webb discussing how her husband Neil Webb had been transferred from Manchester United to Nottingham Forest, and releasing him from her team a few weeks later.
Andrew Wainstein, founder of the Fantasy League company, and a regular guest on the programme.
The Fantasy League company had been set up in 1991, and this radio show was its first mainstream publicity. They ran a league competition in the Daily Telegraph in early 1994, and contests have run in most newspapers for most years since.
Two of the original Fantasy Football League competitors were David Baddiel and Frank Skinner. They took a show with no competition to television; it ran on BBC2 from 1994 to 1996, and on ITV in 1998 and 2004.