Even for the most experienced Football Index players, constructing a selling strategy can be a daunting task.
But it is a crucial part of the experience, which is why we spoke to a trader with some advice on how to get your very own portfolio up and running.
So to help newcomers who might be struggling to make decisions, we asked Craig for some tips on how to choose who and – crucially – when to sell.
Everyone’s a winner
“Knowing when to sell a player on Football Index is probably the toughest question you could ask any trader. As of yet, there is no real right or wrong answer,” Craig told Squawka.
“The truth is, it’s impossible to predict the future progress of a player and I have personally sold plenty of players who have gone on to rise further.”
But Craig believes a positive mindset is crucial and advises Football Index players not to be downbeat if a footballer they sell goes on to bigger and better things.
He added: “I feel it’s important not to beat yourself up about it. Usually when you sell a player, you reinvest that value elsewhere and as long as that player goes on to make profit, then everyone’s a winner.”
The importance of strategy
Craig also emphasised the importance of having a strategy in place, such as ‘long-term holds’ – whereby you retain a footballer even at a time when their value drops.
This method proved to be particularly successful when Neymar injured his metatarsal prior to the 2018 World Cup, which initially put his entire tournament at risk.
“I always emphasise the importance of having a strategy when you first start out on Football Index and, as well as having a buying strategy, make sure you have a clear selling strategy too,” Craig insisted.
“Most of my purchases are based on long-term holds, so selling isn’t really an everyday problem to me. If one of my players gets a bad injury and his value nosedives, I see this as a good time to buy, not sell.
“This happened to me when Neymar broke his metatarsal before the World Cup  and I sat and watched the majority of people ‘panic sell’ as his value took a big hit.
“But I sat tight. I won loads of dividends for the hype and media connected with him potentially missing the World Cup and as soon as he was back from injury he surpassed his previous value.”
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“However, sometimes even on ‘long-term holds’ you will get the feeling a player has reached his peak price and at times I have sold up on this basis,” Craig conceded.
Indeed, he thinks making the correct judgement call on when to sell can occasionally depend on when other Football Index players are buying.
“In fact, I sold off a few of my big holds during the recent news on the dividend structure as player prices went through the roof and I felt some of my players had reached their potential. Sometimes it’s a good time to sell when other people are buying.
“One of the best quotes I’ve heard since being involved in Football Index is ‘buy the story, sell the truth’.
“This is fundamental during transfer windows. Player values increase from rumours and potential transfers but as soon as the transfer has gone through people tend to sell up and their values decrease just as quickly.
“Recent examples of this were Alexis Sanchez, Philippe Coutinho and Gonzalo Higuain. Pre-season is a volatile time to be a trader. It can be great for quick flips, but I’d imagine a lot of newcomers could get stung by this.”
Have a ‘sell-off point’
Like the football transfer market itself, things can change fast. And Craig has encouraged fledgling Football Index players to utilise a ‘sell-off point’ based on percentage increase in order to help meet their individual targets.
“I believe a good strategy for newcomers is to have a ‘sell-off point’ when you buy players,” he insisted. “For example, when a player reaches a certain percentage increase, sell them off and do the same with the next purchase.
“This method means you have set yourself targets and it’s easier to stick to. Yes, the player may go on to achieve more, but you have made a successful trade, sold up and are on your way to making more successful trades. Be disciplined and you will reap the rewards.”
You have to be 18+ to gamble. For more information, go to BeGambleAware.org. Player prices accurate at the time of writing (15:00, 23/10/2019).