The Daily Telegraph Fantasy League began in 1994 and was an immediate talking point amongst football fans and in 1996 Nobby decided to invite a few people from the London UK Market community to begin a league based on the same format. That League was called The Aon Fantasy Football League.
It was a little bit of fun and a little bit of publicity for a growing global insurance brokerage called Aon, that frankly back then no one had heard off.
There were 8 members in that original league, mostly grouped together as teams. They were Aon, Avon, Gerling, AIG, General Accident, Zurich, Commercial Union and Chubb…. talk about a trip down memory lane!
Avon’s team of Peter Godfrey and Danny Rose with John Florence acting as Ron Manager won the first two Aon Fantasy Football Leagues.
The summer of 1997 saw the bringing together of Insurance Brokers Aon, Alexander & Alexander, Bain Hogg and Minet. The insurance world’s landscape had changed, at least it did for a lot of us, and so did The Aon Fantasy Football League.
I was in two minds then whether to put to bed The Aon Fantasy League as I had other pressing issues such as keeping my job, but the word had got out that it was a bit of fun and I enjoyed running it.
More importantly it was a new alliance that I had made with someone who was once a competitor, and was to become a colleague that kept up my interest and encouraged me to make the League bigger and better. That person has ended up as one of my best mates.
I remember like it was yesterday meeting Ready properly for the first time over a few sherberts and we hit it off straight away. Those early days once we all came together after the merger of the four different broking teams were at times fraught and testy, but they were also actually quite a lot of fun.
Doyley, Sweaty, Rutts, Muddy, Snevs, Bristo, Smithy, Nobby & Ready and many others were all big characters suddenly thrown together. There were some difficult times, but mostly my memories from those days were of it being a bloody good laugh.
Ready has this ridiculous ability to cool any snarly moment with a perfect put-down line and he and I became very close and I still count as mates many others from those days almost 20 years ago.
At that time The Aon Fantasy League had morphed into Nobby’s Fantasy League and it grew larger as I encouraged people to play individually.
Ready had a team and as he was helping me to do the scores and get the newsletters out to markets, it made obvious sense that we join forces, particularly as we knew a lot of different people and in 1999 we renamed the pre-eminent global insurance fantasy football competition Nobby & Ready’s Fantasy League as it is today.
The N&R FL has gone from strength to strength and continues to grow to the point where we have 87 managers signed up for this season and it has been a wonderful way to keep in touch with people and to also meet many new characters from the market.
We have gone from doing the scoring ourselves on a back of a fag packet to in 1999 outsourcing it to our good friend Mark Simmons, utilising his excellent software.
The newsletter typed on A4 and hand delivered weekly is now the N&R Blog with nearly 10,000 ‘page visits’ and we take great pride in having participants from all corners of the world. From Auckland to Atlanta and Singapore to Santiago.
In the meantime Keith and I have remained great friends even after I moved to Chicago in 2003, the same year Ready moved to Thailand. In fact for quite a time we ran the predominately City of London based N&R FL from Chicago and Thailand 8,300 miles apart!
Keith still spends a lot of time in Thailand where he has a house and I moved to Bermuda in 2008, but our friendship and the N&R FL has never known any boundaries.
If you are interested in reading more about what I am up to, then you can read my Chicago Addick Blog and for the price of a pint, Ready will happily give you his opinion of anything at a hostelry of your choice!
Thanks for playing N&R FL.
Nobby & Ready