At the mid-season negotiation period in my first season as a young professional in PES2009’s Become A Legend mode, I moved clubs. It was a mistake. I went straight into the reserves at my new club. At my first club, Manchester City, I’d really only just started appearing on the subs’ bench. I should have waited until at least the end of the season before even thinking about moving clubs. I see that now.
At Man City I was coming on for 25-minute periods in many matches, sometimes even for entire halves. But I failed to cope well with sitting on the bench for any period. When you’re on the bench in BaL, you have to watch the CPU playing against the CPU. I didn’t like it, although the many BaL threads on the forums indicate that over time you become so identified with your team(s) that you want to watch the matches even if you’re not taking part. Maybe that will come in time. But not now.
When a couple of offers for my services came in from other clubs, well, I grasped at them. Naively, I thought it would improve my chances of starting matches, or coming on earlier. But it doesn’t work like that.
My new club is Aston Villa. As a Coventry City fan, I’m supposed to loathe Aston Villa. But it isn’t really a true, proper derby rivalry between the two clubs—Villa fans in particular would scoff at the suggestion (they look to Birmingham City for all their derby needs). The offer was on the table, and I wanted to get away from Manchester City, so I took it.
What thanks did I get? The bloody Villa put me straight into their reserves ‘B’ team. I was back at square 1, where I’d been at the start of the season. At least I won’t be so naive again.
Looking on the bright side, it was nice to play full matches again. There are lots of ways in which playing BaL makes you understand the feelings of real-life players (yes, really). You can’t beat being out on the pitch and actually playing in matches. That is the genius of BaL, and it’s keeping me playing despite the negatives. You do get very involved in the flow of the matches. When I’m helping out our defence I’ve even started tracking individual opposition players’ runs, following them into our box, etc. I’m looking forward to getting called up to the First Team again in due course, but already dreading the time I’ll have to spend on the subs’ bench.
And there is one very positive new development: I have finally scored my first goal in Become A Legend. It came in my very first training match at Villa.
I received the ball and laid it off to a winger. At this point I could do three things. I could chase after the wing man and offer support (they’re so rubbish that often ‘supporting’ them is the only way to guarantee a cross makes it into the box). Or I could remain where I was, in an advanced midfield position, hoping he would get the cross in, and maybe there’d be a knock-down for me to pick up. Or I could race into the box and look to get on the end of that hypothetical cross myself…
I did the latter. With the following result. (In the clip, I have fixed the camera on me. I’m the bald player in the centre of the screen.)
Yes, a pretty standard stooping header, but oh wow—what a moment for me. Punching the air. Whooping. All of that. I’d gone on a run, found space, checked my run to stay onside (because the winger twatted about with it for a few seconds as usual), and then applied the finish. In my excitement I forgot to save the replay to my PS3 hard drive, from where I could have filmed it in high quality later that same day with my new camera. Doh.
Yes, my new camera. One of the more dubious features of PES Chronicles over the past 18 months has been my mobile phone replays. The quality of the clips has been utterly terrible, as several indefatigable YouTube commenters have helpfully informed me.
Finally, I have purchased a proper digital camera. They’re really cheap now—the one I got was just £45. About a year ago when I last checked out the digital camera market I’m sure the equivalent model was over £100.
So the mobile phone clip above—my first goal in BaL—should be the last such clip on the blog. They’ll all be shot with a proper high-quality camera from now on. It’s about time.
Here’s the first clip filmed with the new camera. It’s from the very next training game. I was playing as an AMF and spending most of my time goal-hanging, trying to bully the opposition defence as much as my 17-year-old Youth player’s stats will allow. In the clip I steal the ball from the toe of the opposition CB, and am then clear through on goal. I’ve been in this position about 5 times in BaL by now, and fluffed my shot every time. I fluffed it this time as well, hooking the ball wide of the far post. Trying to make too certain of the goal.