The last piece of communication from me was really tough to write. It was even tougher doing a spoken word version on the podcast, as you may have noticed from the jitters in my words and my voice breaking more than a 12 year old boy.
Since that piece we’ve seen a load of development in the Football Index situation. A combination of FI Action, Matt Zarb-Cousin and former FI users have shown how easy it is to create momentum in something important when you combine intelligence, passion, meticulousness and hard work - something that we never really saw from Football Index as a company unfortunately. I hope all of those responsible for what has happened are held to account and that includes regulatory bodies who have overseen what has already been described as the biggest failure in gambling history. Although I’m not a ‘direct’ member of FI Action they’ve had my unreserved support and I’ve helped wherever I can. I will continue to do so wherever I can and use FIG as a conduit of information for my followers for the foreseeable future. The podcast with LD, Matt & ASP I hope helped answer some questions but also showed you that the work that is being done by these parties is to try and help those impacted as much as possible.
FIG has been a huge part of my professional life since October 2017. Something that started out as a thing I hoped to one day point at in my resume during an interview quickly gained a life of its own. Honestly this was something that some of my friends at uni laughed at when I started, so to see it get this far is something I’m very proud of. I mean, some of my friends on twitter and in real life still laugh - but that’s beside the point. In May 2020 I decided to make FIG a focal point of my time, taking up around 60-80% of my day to day alongside other projects and some consultancy work. Therefore you can imagine how devastating both personally and professionally the last 6-8 weeks have been. Whether it be monetarily, emotionally or otherwise it's been a very difficult couple of months.
Since the unraveling of FI I’ve had a lot of people reach out in a variety of sectors to see if there’s opportunities to work together. That’s only possible because of the amazing support I’ve had from all of you over the years. I can’t really put into words how grateful I am for that...so I won’t try! Considering FIG was built primarily around my voice and (formerly) my face, I think I have a responsibility to be totally honest and transparent with what I’m doing next so that it’s not a surprise when you hear ‘wel-cum back’ somewhere else!
At the beginning of 2021 after about 7 months of renegotiating my affiliate deal with Football Index, I felt that I was not being appropriately valued or appreciated. I decided that it would be best for me to reduce the time I was spending on FIG as a result, to about 30-40% of my day to day. This was a really big decision for me, but there’s a bottom line for everything and I felt like I just couldn’t let more opportunities pass me up whilst simultaneously being undervalued by the platform I was making content about. For example, in the past - I’d rejected serious job offers from industry competitors, basically because I believed in Football Index more and felt FIG had a big future as long term companion content. Some of these opportunities have come around at the start of the year, some of them have come out since FI has gone into administration. All of them have come about due to the success of FIG which I attribute solely to the support you’ve all shown me over the years.
Firstly, I want to clear up for anyone that would have seen some tweets floating around on twitter regarding my involvement or relationship with Sorare. I recognise that in the past platform loyalty was a big thing in our world and that for some, the idea of me working unannounced with what was perceived by some as a competitor to FI may not have felt right.
I’ve actually known about Sorare since 2019. I had a speaking engagement on podcasts at a VC’s startup campus who were invested in the product, and they sent me their way to have a look at them. It was peak Crypto bear winter and it only had a few leagues incorporated so I wasn’t sure whether this project would make the leap it clearly has done today. In early 2021 however I was put in touch by the same contact and quickly built a rapport with the folks at Sorare. It really excited me - Crypto and football. I became a user in Jan 2021 and those conversations with Sorare continued. Many of you will know through mentions on the show that I formerly produced one of the biggest blockchain/crypto podcasts in the world, so it’s an area I have great passion for.
Simultaneously a few good friends of mine were loving the product. So much so that they were keen to start creating content about the platform. Parallel to this, it was clear from my initial discussions with Sorare that there was mutual enthusiasm for me to create content.
Many of you will know the friends I mentioned above - Dunwell, Chef and K Brown - all of whom you will know started the SorareHub Brand. They asked me if I wanted to be part of it and that my skill set would be a great asset to the team and to be honest with you, I said yes pretty emphatically. This was something that I wouldn’t have even thought about this time last year, but my professional situation with FI was not progressing - and it felt remiss of me to continue leaving my personal and professional development in their hands. So as much as I’ve been in the background helping with certain things, I’ll have a much more hands on approach with the project going forward. They’re a great group to work with and it’s about something very exciting, in an incredibly exciting space. This is something I wanted to be transparent and honest with my followers about several weeks back, but I didn’t feel the timing was right considering the situation we all lived through from November 2020 to present.
With all that in mind I will also be starting a Sorare Guide brand. This brand will be the 4th quarter of Sorare Hub and I’m really excited to be getting my teeth stuck into creating content again. I’ll try my best to use the expertise I have in crypto to help people on their journeys and hopefully produce some great content on Sorare Guide and Sorare Hub. I want to make it clear that these are existing/new brands, and that FIG will remain as it is. I’m a relatively new user on Sorare so I will not proclaim to be an expert, but I’m hoping the skills I’ve developed in explaining complex things in a simple manner will help as many users as possible.
I’m not the only one who’s been severely impacted professionally by this however. Since the administration phase of Football Index I’ve had several conversations with those who have had businesses that were dedicated to the product. We were incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing ecosystem around us. IndexGain, Edge, FIT, Insights to name just a few - and that’s not even going into the twittersphere with the likes of Slasher McGurk, K Brown, Fresh Milk and so many more. I’ve been lucky enough to know many of those behind these as people and they’re all great folks. Dan and DCA from Index Gain are the two people I’ve built a long lasting professional relationship with that has definitely transcended FI in the past and will continue to do so. They have recently agreed to work with us at Sorare Hub to specialise in creating data tools for Sorare users. Working with them is something I’m amazingly excited about.
Many of you will have seen a recent announcement on my personal twitter about joining the Fresh Arsenal team. As you all well know I’m unfortunately a gooner. A passionate one at that and it pains me to see the way Arsenal are going right now. That being said, through Football Index I had the pleasure of meeting the founder of Fresh Arsenal. Once again without FIG this would not have been possible, so it’s something I’m very grateful for. I’ll be helping them grow their podcast as a contributor, as well as helping them with reactive live stream content via twitter. It’s something I’m very excited about and something I’m already loving. For those of you who are gooners and would like to follow my journey there, please do so but know that I have an irrational hatred for Hector Bellerin.
Great British MiniFootball
Another opportunity that I’m very grateful to have come forth recently comes in the form of the Great British MiniFootball Union. This is basically the national team for 6 aside football. It’s pretty crazy that this is actually a thing, but look how seriously it’s taken in some countries.
I’ll be joining the union as ‘Director of Football’ or something like that, which sounds quite fancy but the reality of my role will be to market and commercialise the entity which we hope is going to be a resounding success in the UK. They have world cups, euros, u23s, etc. all for 6-aside with stadiums that fit thousands, which is pretty cool.
In my previous update on this subject I wrote:
“Over the past year, it’s been my absolute pleasure, honour and privilege to share the airwaves with Panda. It soon became my favourite thing to do on a weekly basis. In 2021 however, we really did struggle to put something out every Thursday as the chat became more about cats than it did about Football Index. On Sunday we did our last phone in show with ASP, and the reception to that was unbelievable. That will officially be the last FigCastExtra, even though it was published technically as a FigCast.
Panda and I have been touched by the amount of messages we’ve received regarding how the show has helped people over lockdown. I know more than anyone how intimate podcasts are. We are in your ears every week, and we’ve built a relationship with our listeners that transcends audio. For that alone, we are exploring the idea of creating a spin-off sports/talkshow/comedy(?) podcast that would be a similar format to what we’ve had with the FigCastExtra.
One of the tough things for me however is that it will be extremely difficult for us to do this without a sponsor, or without this being behind a paywall. I’ll be working hard to find something that works, but I want to set expectations and be honest - this may be a paid for weekly podcast down the line if there is enough demand._
If you folks have any feedback for us on how we can make this work, we’d love that. Any support is welcome and I’d personally love to continue sharing the airwaves with Panda if it’s feasible.
From the bottom of my heart, reading some of your messages regarding this show in particular have really got to me emotionally. I’ve tried to be strong in times of trouble, but hearing how much this show has helped people compartmentalise difficulties they’re having with real life has really touched me. I’m not a big crier, but writing this now and thinking about the messages I’ve received does make me feel like doing so. I understand that it’s an escape from real life, for some jovial nonsense (especially from Panda). For that alone I will do everything I humanly can to make this work in the near/distant future.”
All of the above is still true, especially the gratitude that we both have for your support over the last year. This is something we both would love to do but it’s not something that will happen immediately. The honest truth is that we both want to take some time out to concentrate on other things. Whether that be other projects, family, the pub - we hope that a break will mean we can come back stronger when we eventually hit the airwaves together once more. So watch this space.
On top of all this, I’ll likely be doing some consultancy and advisory work for companies in the near future so keep your eyes out.
I just want to reiterate my gratitude to everyone who has been part of this journey with me. It’s been an absolute pleasure being in your ears every week and helping many with video content. Here’s hoping that there is some semblance of a good ending due to all the great work that FI Action are doing and I hope that we get to speak again soon.
If you’d like to follow my personal account on twitter, it is @petberisha - I mostly tweet about football, Arsenal, Crypto and sometimes memes. FIG will most definitely still be there to react to and discuss important ongoings regarding Football Index, but I will be spending less time there.