Super, another Cup

And then there were three trophies. Just after the start of season 11, I added the UEFA Supercup to my haul. I beat Paris St Germain 4-2 in the one-off match.

I’m surprised it’s not taken more seriously in real life, the Supercup. I certainly took it very seriously. I was delighted with the win.

Here’s a few clips of the action—but first comes a debut league goal from my new striker, Tomas Brolin. After that opener, to the Supercup, where Saviola nets a beauty of a laces shot from 20 yards. That goal made it 4-2 with a minute left and eased the pressure.

If I seem to be exulting in my recent success, it’s because I am.

Regular readers will know what tribulations I’ve been through to get to this point. I’m such an average player, that not even bringing in a shedload of Classic players 5 seasons ago brought me any success. I had to knuckle down and work hard to get somewhere.

All those seasons of hurt now bring a proportionate amount of glee.

That is a new Home kit my team are wearing above. For inspiration I’ve gone back to a couple of seasons ago, and the very similar striped kit that I wore in season 9.

On the right you can see it modelled by Barnes and Brolin. More on them later.

My new Away kit arrives courtesy of a helpful commenter, Paul, whose PESUltra site could well be your first port of call for random editing files by October.

Everybody, it seems, has heard of Lady Godiva, The Specials, er, and that lady who threw the cat in the bin a few years ago. Some might have heard of Philip Larkin (who was not from Hull, okay?).

Coventry City’s brown away kit from the 1970s is somewhere between Lady G and The Specials when it comes to fame/infamy.

And I’ve decided to adopt it as my new, permanent Away kit, for the duration of this entire career, however long that may be. I’ll even stick with that long-redundant Talbot logo.

It’s a shame there’s no way to extend the shirt stripes down the front of the shorts, as the original memorably had it, but I think this is as close as can be got in this day and age.

Be sure to make your own random/bizarre/disturbing requests for one-off kits and stadia and players on Paul’s special webpage. (Scroll down to the bottom to get to the web-form.)

That player wearing the Away kit is one Enzo Scifo, who is no more. I sold him, for £15m. He wasn’t doing it for me. I also sold Rivaldo (£17m), because he’s 34 now and fading.

My biggest sale, however, and one that I literally agonised about overnight, was that of Marco van Basten. I sold him to Barcelona for a whopping £58m.

Why? Because he had a pretty poor season last season. Because, at 29 and down to 93OVR, he’s not going to get much better now. Because I’ve got other shit-hot strikers—Forlan, Saviola, Mancini, and now Brolin and Ronaldo(!)—who are all better.

Van Basten was pretty much just a turn-and-shoot merchant. Such goals are valuable, but PES2012 favours strikers who are small and nippy, a bit trickier and more mobile than van Basten ever was.

All in all, it made sound sense to get rid of van Basten. But I still didn’t like it.

I thought about it overnight. I actually woke up in the morning with the thought fully formed in my head that selling van Basten now was the right thing to do. He was just in the way. I’ve moved on in PES2012. He was good for his time, but his time is past.

And so I did the deal. Van Basten is no more. I was in shock for a few matches afterward. Had I really just done that? Oh yes.

On the right you see my full squad for season 11. The players with green exclamation mark bubbles are all new. In total, 9 are Classic players. (Forlan, Saviola, Cannavaro, and Reyes are all Regens.)

It’s a lower proportion of Classics than in recent seasons, and it’s only going to get lower as they age further.

I also sold D. Bulthuis, my veteran left back who was one of my first high-value signings, way back when.

I released Camacho, who’d slipped to 76OVR and didn’t have any takers.

My new signings are all, in their own way, a bit special. Agostini is a 19-year-old left back. Brolin is, well, Brolin. He’s already come good, as today’s clip shows him scoring a striker’s header in his league debut, at home against Brighton. ( I won 3-2. I was rusty and conceded two soft goals late on.)

And yes—that is Brazilian Ronaldo. He’s 29, the same age as van Basten. But he’s 99OVR and he’s got all the tricks in the book. He’s like a super-van Basten.

So far I’ve only scored with Ronaldo in a Training Match. He’s been unfit or out of form for other matches.

I could do with a proper DMF (still looking) and maybe one less CB. I’ll see what’s happening in January. I’ve got £100m in the kitty.

With a squad like this, playing on Professional, I fancy my chances of a Treble, I really do.

Let’s see if I can pull it off.

Club ranking is up to 13th—just above my Supercup opponents.

John Barnes won the UEFA Footballer of the Year. I’ll be interested to see who collects the World Footballer of the Year. If Andy Carroll can win it, as he did a few seasons ago, anything’s possible.



  1. A very strong squad this season although it’s better when you show the ratings and formation 🙂 I picked up Agostini when he regend in season 8 already at 81ovr and he became one of my all time best left backs. He was in the 90’s by season 10 when I put that league on hold. His under study is a regen Roberto Carlos just thinking about those to players makes me want to kick start that ML league again! This time on superstar…

  2. Max—I’ll post ratings and formation next week. My Agostini is currently exactly 81OVR, like yours was. What I notice about the PES2012 defenders is that so very few of them have any skill cards whatsoever. Their abilities are entirely determined by their stats. Maybe that’s a good thing…

  3. Man that away kit brings back some very unpleasant memories, not the kit itself but that bloody logo.

    In the late 70`s my dad (for some ungodly reason) became the proud owner of a Talbot Alpine.

    A vehicle that included amongst its many hidden extras, the automatic opening of the passenger side door and the boot if you closed the drivers door with a bit to much gusto.

    Oh and the fun we had playing the “guess how many attempts it takes dad to get it into first when the lights turn green” game.

    I actually feigned detention once purely to stop my dad turning up outside school in the bloody thing, but the final straw was my poor mother having to push start the thing on Southport sands. After that incident my dad finally relented and agreed to buy a new car.

    Image our joy when when he turned up in a Talbot Alpine GLS…

    I’m sure in this day and age there would be grounds to get child services involved.

  4. The sky blue Talbot kit was one of my favourite subbuteo teams – no idea why I had Coventry, born and brought up in Durham I’ve still never been to the city umpteen years later. Some toy shop near home must have got the wrong delivery (would also explain why I had Southampton c.’Ivan Golac era’ and Luton Town).

    Brolin though??? – is he not a little short and hefty or is his PES version the nippy little bugger who did for England?

  5. Decc66—as a small boy in the 70s I had a brother-in-law who worked for Talbot, and he used to give me headed notepaper to scribble on. Not a classic anecdote, that one, but it’ll have to do 🙁

  6. uncle turf—it’s the 25-year-old Brolin in his prime, yes. He’s pretty good, albeit a clone of Saviola and Forlan. The smaller, nippier strikers are the best in PES2012 for me.

    I’ll always associate Brolin with two things. One thing, of course, is how comically chubby he got in his later years. But the most important thing is that performance against England in Euro 92, and more particularly that commentary: “Brolin… Dahlin… Brolin!” I remember it as being Brian Moore and just went to YouTube convinced it’d pop up, but no joy. Was it Moore-o? Could have been Barry Davies, actually. Davies-o, I should say.

  7. that’s the brolin of nippy buggerdom I was meaning – each vowel getting longer as the commentary went on…Broleen, Dahleeen, Broleeeeen! Without viewing the clip memory suggests it was Barry Davies, when his was the ‘man in the stands’ all-knowing approach as oppose to Motson’s ‘man on the terrace’ randomised noise. Rather versatile when you consider Bazzer used to pop up on the tennis, ice skating and just about everything else that needed the slightly posher voice.

  8. uncle turf—I’m sure it was Barry D now that I’ve thought about it. My memory’s not what it was (cf. the Morrissey thing).

  9. Like the play on words for the post title!! And congrats on adding the super cup to the trophy cabinet.

    That looks a very strong squad. What OVR and age is the legendary Ronaldo?
    Also thanks for the commendation on the kit and website.

  10. Forget my question above. Just seen that you’d answers it in the post. Am out and about and not got a great signal so the iPhone hadn’t loaded the page completely.

  11. Paul—I’m using an option file with some weird elements in it, and Ronaldo is one of them. The face and body model is the generic one (” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>as seen here—my Ronaldo is the man in the middle!).

    The weird thing is, in Edit mode there’s a proper full-on Ronaldo, a superb likeness, his body shape and everything, who isn’t in the ML world. (They are the same player, I checked).

    So the Ronaldo in my ML world is Ronaldo in every respect except visually. Is there a way to copy the ‘real’ Ronaldo’s face and body type over to the one who’s in my ML world? I had a look, and even tried to fiddle with the editor myself, but there’s a reason I’m a words man and not a design man. My efforts at a homebrew Ronaldo look OK from a distance when I’m playing, but close up, he looks more like David Rocastle.

  12. Goalies;
    Now I’ve built up a fair chunk of cash I decided to approach one of the bigger teams to see if they’d sell a top goalkeeper (NG – your advice was noted – Hart and Cech are really tough to beat in my game and I reckon it would help my Champ Lge progress). There isn’t a single one in my world above 89Ovr. The majority of those in the high 80s are 30+, flatlining or worse and given how players can retire at some bizarre ages in this game I’m not risking £20+m on one of them. The best option is De Gea (still at Man U) but he’s no better than 86 and they’re not selling. Given my 26yr old is 82Ovr, my 21 is 80Ovr and 19 is 71Ovr I’m not sure it’s worth it is it? Does anyone know if you have to buy them mid 80s and train higher or if I’m still too early (season 6) to get the best regens? My 26yr old is supposedly at his peak so doubt I’ll see anything there.

  13. uncle turf—you really notice the difference with a 90+ keeper, but that’s darn weird about there being none in your ML world. If I were you I’d stick the one with the best age/OVR ratio on your Favourites and keep trying for them.

    Failing that, your 26-yr-old sounds like the next best thing. And you could always focus on the ‘magic triangle’ of the two CBs and the DMF instead, making sure you’ve got quality there to stop goal-scoring chances before they happen.

    I was a goalkeeper when I played football, so I’m a touch biased. I edited myself into the game in PES4 as a 6ft 5in super-keeper. This year, Dordo’s my Captain.

  14. a good read and a very good squad you have their sir have u thought about bumping the difficulty level up?

  15. NG – cheers, yes I made it a priority transfer after reading your posts about the added bonus it gave but even Hart, who for my money is the best I have come up against, is a 29 year old 87Ovr who is ‘very much the finished article’ and has flatlined for last 3 seasons. Neuer,30 at Bayern Munich is the best at 89Ovr. Out of 690 keepers only 20 are 85Ovr or over.

    Do you think there is any value in who captains or is it for your trophy lifting?

  16. Ronaldo looks a beast to be honest. I have my heart set on Farinos mate, the best dmf in pes imo. He sweeps everything up. Waiting for him to regen as I did last year. Superstar is absolutely hammering me, I do not recommened it. If I wasn’t doing a youtube series of superstar ML, I would be back to professional, but still, better be too hard than too eay. Last year had no challenge

  17. hi NG – ive got the real (proper face) Ronaldo in my ML and he is fucking amazing…starts off at 92 ovr at 16.

    you need to base copy him from corinthians and he’ll appear in your ML under non contracted.
    i did this with Robbie carlos and he’s the nuts too.

    hope this helps cos ronaldo ends up (along with reinstated Henry) being one of the best strikers in the game by a mile.

  18. Ali—it’s still probably only the 5th or 6th-best squad I’ve ever had in PES. PES2008(PSP/PS2) was probably my most ridiculously stars-packed squad. I’m (un)fortunate enough to be such an average player that the big name players are no guarantor of success. Running with the Classics does annoy/irritate many PES players, I know, but we’re all different, and I’m not doing anything I haven’t done in many PES years before.

    I have already considered Top Player, but really I’ve only been in ‘the zone’ on PES2012 for about 2/3rds of one solitary season so far, out of 10 seasons of mostly struggle. If I breeze through this current season, I’d consider Top Player strongly then.

  19. uncle turf—yes, very much so—a Captain with a high Mentality rating provides your team with a bonus at certain times. So the lore of PES has it anyway, and so I have always believed.

  20. Barry—Farinos in my ML world is a mouth-watering 20 years old. As you can see I don’t have a proper DMF at all. I’m rolling in money and he wants to play for me, but I just get the same message over and over: hard to get a player who’s a First Team regular. What do I do?!

  21. Farinos is a great dfm (i had him at 106ovr) in a 442 but playing him in front of the back four will mean losing losing every header from goal kicks and such. I just started a new ML league with Pes united,s original players and Heycory just regend in my youths 86ovr, 92 body balance 92 stamina 92 shot power 84 defence, a beast of Dmf.
    N-G Did you ever look him up?

  22. Max—my current DMF/CMF in that role, Neeskens, is only average height. He never wins headers, so Farinos wouldn’t be not doing anything that my current player isn’t already not doing.

    Re. Heycory, yes, he’s currently a 73OVR player in his mid-30s in Villa’s reserves.

  23. Lol, my dad had a talbot alpine, followed by a talbot solara, and I lost count of the number of times he put his foot through the gate in rage trying to get the buggers to start. No idea why he kept gettin talbots.

    Brolin (or Burnolen with his unedited name) was my fav player in my fav version of PES, tried snapping him up in this years ML, but no luck yet. I’ve generally had difficulty signing any player who’s over 90 OVR. Your recent upturn in fortunes has given me hope NG, but I’m unfortunately still at the stage where I’m struggling and too frequently getting frustrated. Won the Europa league twice, and the FA cup once, but just can’t manage to get in the champions league, getting desparate now! With better players I think I could, I just can’t sign them! My crop of regen youth players should start to come good soon, so hopefully it will be all change!

  24. NG – captain comment – cheers for that, I’ve never heard that one and certainly didn’t bother who got the armband – I’ve had debutants pick it up after making substitutions, but I’ll pick one and stick with them.

  25. Filbert—You’ll do as well to keep an eye on your Youths and wait for a Forlan or a Saviola to show up. If you get either of them you won’t need Brolin, really. They’re both ace strikers in PES2012. Put all the cash you can spare into your Youth team development, that’s where the future lies in ML 2012.

  26. uncle turf—the stat name has changed/merged in PES2012. Mentality is no more and I believe a combination of the Tenacity and Teamwork stats is the key. But, yes, regardless of the stats you always want an ageing veteran with the armband, not a 17-year-old Youth promotee.

  27. I think I have finally found a PES game to sink my teeth into (or rather, a Master League campaign to sink my teeth into).

    I’ve now played the first season of a Master League on PES6 (360) and am more than halfway through the first end of season negogiation period.

    Before starting the ML I’d only played one game on Regular difficulty in Exhibition mode, where I beat Scotland 5-1 with England. Anyway, I decided to get straight into a ML and set one up as PES United, with a second division consisting of the poorer English clubs, as well as Celtic, Rangers and FC Kopenhagen. The top division is all English clubs. I started on Top Player difficulty.

    (Before I forget I’ll mention that I’m reading through the blog in chronological order – I’m currently up to January 2009 – which is why I’m not commenting on what’s going on currently in the blog, hopefully I’ll catch up eventually!)

    Anyway I am absolutely loving it. I went for a 4-5-1 formation for the entire first season and it was a rare game where I had more than a couple of chances to score.

    Predictably, I finished bottom of the table with a record of 1 win, 6 draws, and 7 losses. I scored a pitiful 4 goals but made up for that with the joint-best defensive record in the league, having only conceded 11. I brought in two youngsters in the mid-season negogiations. A Korean goalkeeper (I forget his name) who looks like becoming a world-beater, and to a certain extent already is, and a CMF called Cellieri, or similar. He isn’t the best, but he’s better than the defaults and has a low salary!

    I scheduled 8 pre-season friendlies to try and get some much needed funds in. Before hand, I switched my formation to a 4-1-3-2, and it showed. Suddenly I was creating 5-10 chances per game, and thought I might be in with a shout of promotion this season. The results so far are 0-0, 2-2, 1-1, 0-0. All three of the goals I’ve conceded have been within 5 game minutes of me scoring. Hmmmm.

    I’ve brought in a few more players who have helped massively – Catermole, Mido and a DMF with the middle shooting ability whose name I have completely forgotten. I’m hoping to bring in another striker before the season starts, although if I do I’ll have to release one or two players to get my budget under control.

    I am also playing PES 2009 on the PSP, although I have yet to start a ML campaign on that.

  28. Stevenage-Chris—first of all, apologies for all the old embedded videos a few years ago now being such poor quality. I was using a Motorola Razr phone at the time(!).

    And quite soon, you’ll get to a point where all the vids are blocked. YouTube gave me some trouble back then (can’t remember what), and I started using a different service called Sevenload for a year or so without trouble. Then Sevenload mysteriously stopped providing its service to the UK without any warning. I’ve never been able to find out why.

    The vids are all still on Sevenload, we just can’t get to them from the UK.

    If you want to go to the trouble (some of the videos are intrinsic to the posts), the videos are all watchable via proxy or VPN or that kind of malarkey.

    I did consider re-downloading my own vids from Sevenload via VPN and re-uploading them to YouTube and re-embedding them… but I don’t think I’ll have time. If you come across a vid on an old post that you desperately want to see and can’t, let me know the name of the post and I’ll get hold of that vid and re-post it via YouTube as a special request.

    And re. PES6(360)—if you keep reading through 2009 you’ll soon get to the point in August 2009 where I got hold of that game (in this post) and rapidly fell in love with it. A tantalising glimpse of what could have been on next-gen.

  29. Thanks for the offer of re-posting videos – I’ll let you know if there’s any ones I come across. I actually downloaded a handy app on my iPod Touch to let me download webpages to view when offline which is how I am mainly reading through them. The only unfortunate thing with the app is that it doesn’t download any videos embedded in the post – so generally I have to wait until I get home before viewing any videos.

    I agree with you about PES6(360) – why did it go wrong after that? That’s not to say the games since aren’t good, but PES6(360) would seem to have been the perfect platform on which to build. The pace for me feels just right, and so far I haven’t come across any way to score which is better than any other (then again I haven’t scored many at all!).

    The only minor quibble I have with it is the shooting – something just doesn’t seem right for me. Then again when I first played PES2008 (PSP) I hated the shooting but soon grew to love it.

  30. Stevenage-Chris—would that app be Instapaper (or similar)? I shudder to think of the hundreds of saved articles in my own Instapaper app that I’ll never get to now. I should just nuke it and start over…

    When talking about PES6(360) on the blog, I always refer to it as such and have taken the liberty of editing the (360) into your comment. This is just in case anybody is prompted to comment on your comment about PES6 on another platform. There’s a lot of confusion about versions and platforms when it comes to the crossover period between console generations. There’s an unfortunate tendency to talk about PES6(360) as if it’s the same game as PES6(PS2/PC), which it certainly isn’t. (I’m also anally retentive about the original Xbox being the Xbox, and the Xbox360 the Xbox360. And I always hate it in films and on TV when they refer generically to the PlayStation3 (or 2) as a ‘PlayStation’. I really do not get out much.)

    As for PES6(360)’s shooting, it’s just something you get used to. Although you might struggle to settle for a longer time if you’re playing across different versions of PES, with different shooting values in each.

  31. I was trying to work out why I had less of a memory of ‘great ML’s’ as some of you guys have, and whilst I did play them to death at the time I think it’s because last year I almost exclusively played BAL. I do remember taking Liverpool to the ML title (Carlton Cole up front…) but soon got bored and switched to BAL as I’d been keen on the Fifa incarnation and really liked the PES effort (despite needing to switch camera angles multiple times to find out why I kept getting booked and how to get a shot on target – the immersive activity is great visually but almost impossible to play). So far I haven’t touched this year’s BAL – probably because of this site giving my ML a new lease of life but if they were ever going to change anything I would like to see them incorporate the opportunity to swap clubs. Much as I like tinkering with stadiums and strips and trying to create a legacy I wouldn’t half like the chance to play as Barca or Milan as they have become in my world.

  32. uncle turf—I love the idea of BaL, in theory. But I’ll never return to it in PES until they provide the option to skip CPU vs CPU gameplay after you’ve been subbed in a match. I appreciate the argument that watching the matches your club play, even if you’re not on the pitch, all helps contribute to immersion. But there’s not much duller in all of gaming than watching a football game play against itself.

  33. The app is a free download called ‘Offline Reader !’ It doesn’t do anything flashy, you load the app up with it’s built-in web browser, go to the page you want and then click an icon to download. The only problem I’ve really come across is that you can’t store saved pages in folders – there’s just one massive list. This is a problem as sometimes when you have finished reading one page and go back to the list you then have to go all the way to the bottom to find the next page.

    I have just started Season 2 of my ML on PES6(360), and astonishingly I have won all 3 of my games, each by a score of 1-0! I signed Borja and Mido in the off-season and they have scored all 3 between them, but more importantly my defence (which does not yet have a non-default player) has held firm and I have come away with 3 clean sheets. Maybe I am in with a shout of promotion this season.

    I was just wondering whether you knew how much prize money you get roughly for winning the league? If I receive no prize money (i.e. finish bottom) then I will have to release more than a few players in order to avoid a game over.

  34. Stevenage-Chris—you could get the free version of Read It Later for your phone. The free version still won’t let you look at vids, but there’s some sense and organisation to the saved articles it’ll keep for you. I do recommend the paid version of Instapaper very highly, although over time it just becomes something of a guilt bucket.

    I don’t have many specific, top-of-my-head memories of many Master League campaigns before the current one, sorry. Something as specific as how much money (points in the old currency) you get for winning the league in PES6(360) is definitely not something I’m going to recall.

    I don’t think I ever won the league in PES6(360) anyway. When I got promoted from D2 I believe it was in 2nd place. As you move forward through the blog-years, you’ll find that I keep coming back to PES6(360) several times during the summers of 2009, 2010, and 2011. I still have unfinished business with the game even now. In my informal list of best-ever PES games of all time, it’d be a shock contender up near the top, ahead of the likes of PES1, PES2, PES4 and even PES6(PS2).

  35. NG – yes, CPU vs CPU is ridiculous, even if you can speed it up x2. Moving to a higher team and having to wait 65 mins to play is deeply frustrating, as is the feeling that no matter how well you play you stand a good chance of not seeing out the 90mins. It’s the idea of changing clubs mid ML that appeals though. Rather than starting again with Gateshead I could leave my baggage behind and try and restore someone who has lost their way or attempt to win the big 3 league titles perhaps. It’s why Champ Mgr always appealed over those Footy Mgr games that made you stick with one club.

  36. Thanks for the tip of Read It Later. Looks pretty good – I’ll take a look at it once I’ve looked through all the pages I’ve got saved on the current app (which is from February 2009 to January 2010).

    I doubt I’ll get in the top two unfortunately, having said that if I carry on my current form I definitely will! I have about 2500 points and will need about 12500 points to pay everybody’s salary. Bearing in mind there’s only 11 more games in the league season, I could do with a good cup run. Despite that, I plan to play my first XI in all the league matches and give them a break in the cup games. Hopefully the prize money at the end will be enough to pay the wage bill.

  37. uncle turf—my ‘favourite’ moments of substitute benchwarming in my brief BaL dalliances, was when I’d wait patiently for the 65-ish minute mark, then come onto the pitch, maybe touch the ball once—and then be subbed myself due to the other team scoring. Just awful, awful design.

    Re. the Football Manager games, you’ve always been able to change clubs, take up offers from elsewhere etc., as far as I know—? Or did you mean that the other way round, i.e. it’s the Champ Man games that kept you at one club.

  38. Stevenage-Chris—if you’re at all online-oriented, or just willing to have a look, could you tell me if the online side of PES6(360) is still going strong? I’m just curious. In 2009, and I think still in 2010, the servers were packed, as you’d expect really given Konami’s mystifying failures to get online play right in the later PESes of those times.

  39. I go through phases – at some points I will be always on ML/Career Mode and at some points I will always be online. On FIFA 12 Head to Head Seasons I managed to work myself up from Division 10 all the way up to Division 1 without being relegated once – I’ve found the online on FIFA 12 surprisingly easy. Prior to then, I had never been anything more than a slightly below average online player.

    I’ll give it a try at some point – as you say strange how the next couple of PES’s failed to get the online right.

    I’ve played two more games in my PES6(360) ML. And lost them both, to Sheffield United and Watford. I’m down to 3rd in the league, 3 points off the team in 2nd and 3 points ahead of the team in 4th. Will be interesting to see if I can push on into the promotion spots or will have to settle for another season in D2.

  40. NG – yes, i meant ‘football management’ games in general (should have made ‘footy mgr’ clearer). CM/FM have always had that career option but I was thinking back to games like Kevin Toms FM and The Boss, Football Director, etc. It was a revelation to me when one game along that allowed you to move on to another club. I’d really like that in ML but then again when isn’t there an annual wish list of ‘what we’d like to see’

    BTW I remember inserting a couple of lines of code into the Toms game to randomly choose a scorer whenever a goal went in for my team, I could then keep a tally of my top player. As I was 11 it should have been the start of a life in software development, instead I now find mobile phones too complicated and 5p’s a bit fiddly.

  41. Stevenage-Chris—a while back I played one solitary match of FIFA12 online* just to see what it was like. It’s amazing how everything finds its level. The default method of online football gaming is the exertion of maximum pressure and direct play, all the time. Even with Tactical Defending the online FIFA12 players find a way to do old-style sprint-pressuring. Online football gaming has harmed and is still harming football gaming, I genuinely believe that.

    [*I never play online and did this just for research purposes. I respect the enjoyment that others get out of online footy gaming, but I don’t share it. Even the best online football game is a less enjoyable experience than a poor single-player game, for me.]

  42. uncle turf—I remember with great fondness the days of PEEKs and POKEs. You can still play the Kevin Toms FM game online in a browser window right now. It’s now terrible, of course, but at the time I played season after season and exulted in every poorly animated highlight. (But how did randomly choosing a scorer help you keep a tally of best players?!)

    Strange, but I’ve never craved the ability to move clubs in ML. I’m an ML fundamentalist and would never want to start over in the same world, although now that I think about it, it would be intriguing to start all over at another club in 2025, say, with all the world’s Regens and so forth coming into maturity, and another generation of Regens just about to crop up. Yes, I’ve persuaded myself now. Bring it in!

  43. I generally play FIFA 12 online with Stevenage (we were 1* before the January updated, now 1.5*) unless the game can’t find a team of a similar star level. Mostly, you come across decent players who don’t feel the need to pressure you for the entire game and in fact many of the people who I played against are now on my friends list.

    However if online didn’t exist … I’m sure that Master League and Career Mode would be a lot better than they are currently. Having said that, I do wonder how much effort they actually put into online. I mean, very little changes from year to year – the only real major change this year was Head to Head Seasons which surely didn’t take much to implement.

    I also reckon the vast majority of people still play good old offline most of the time. In fact out of all my friends who play FIFA regularly, none of them play online at all.

  44. Stevenage-Chris—I fear that the influence of online on offline isn’t so much about resources and modes etc. It’s much more through moulding expectation of what a football game should play like and the things you should be able to do. E.g. I believe that thanks to online play there is now a fundamental perception that you ought to be able to close an opposition player down simply by squeezing one or two buttons. This is ‘normal’ and anything else is an aberration—that’s the baleful, harmful effects of online, right there.

    I was delighted when EA appeared to nerf it with FIFA12, and dismayed to find that the online crew had found a way to circumvent it.

    Everything I hear about PES online, and my own limited experience, tells me that double-sprint-pressure is the universal response to losing the ball, When Seabass or any game designer sits down to make a football game, their thinking is dictated by making assumptions about what a human player will be doing when the AI has the ball. And the human will be double-sprint-pressuring.

  45. NG – wasn’t very scientific I’m afraid, I just did a ‘if … then …at’ and it printed a random name from my team on the screen after the goal went in. I then had a piece of paper which I wrote down the scorers, thereby convincing myself of their worth to my team because of the bizarre rituals and superstitions I used to associate with all footy management games as a kid (I was convinced that looking at the screen on ‘The Boss’ caused me to lose and could only reveal the result by covering one eye and viewing my side first, then the opposition. Another one involved sticking my fingers in my ears and chanting as the sound waves could disrupt the scoring pattern of the program in my favour…) I’d like to think I wasn’t the only junior lunatic doing this. None of this possible of course with PES which is just as well as I’m not sure I could chant all the way through a 10min Champions League game.

    Halfway stage in season 6 – Ribeiro top scorer in league with 17, 25 in all competitions! Lying 3rd. In Cup semis, finished top of champs lge group. It can’t last…just missed out on Gerrard regen ‘Chelsea sign wonderkid!!’

  46. uncle turf—funny and disturbing at the same time, I like it. And is that true, did Football Manager(Spectrum) really never show you a scorer’s name after one of those stick-man goal went in, or have anything by way of stats in the back screens? If so, wow. We really did get a lot out of very little in those days.

    In my ML world Gerrard is still playing, just. I’ll be checking the 17-year-olds very closely after every new intake for the next few seasons.

  47. NG – yes, FM Toms used to cut to the action with 3 white/black players advancing on goal, and you could usually tell if you stood a chance of scoring from the angle the shooter hit the ball. If it went it you got ‘Goal’ and the result. Choosing players was really just a question of assembling as many of the best you could get – one appeared weekly for purchase, take it or leave it. Hence me wanting to inject a bit of the stats that I used to love in my subbuteo/football dice games.

    To be fair to Toms though I played his game for weeks of my life and that and Matchday were the reason I sit here now with PES on and an FM game saved for when I have to go away with work, etc. Someone I sat next to at my pit village state school during that time is now the CEO of a national banking group and another got the MBE at Christmas. They didn’t play football games…

  48. uncle turf—oh yes, I do remember always knowing if the highlight was going to be a goal or a miss.

    My best mate from secondary school (the boy called ‘Rick’ in the taster of my forthcoming pseudo-memoir) is now so successful that I can hardly stand to think about it without starting to tremble with self-nausea. I’ll save the surprise of what he’s doing now for the book.

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