Thank God it’s Friday yet again

It seems I cannot quit signing this player. This is now the 5th time I have signed F FRIDAY in PES2017. He’s not that great anymore – in fact, he is positively average. But that’s exactly why I want him now.

Playing with lesser players for a lesser team has revitalised PES2017 in a way I never could have imagined without experiencing it for myself. PES2017 feels like a classic PS2-era PES much of the time. It really is astounding how House Rules – something I’ve always resisted – make the gameplay better. PES2017 must be played with average players to be experienced as a great game.

Friday’s not the only player who’s followed me to my new abode.

Like Friday, J RICE is in his 30s and in serious decline. He barely played for me in my last few seasons at Coventry.

Here are my current House Rules in total – very simple:

  • No player in the squad rated above 80 OPR.
  • Any player whose OPR hits 81 or above can still be picked but must be sold or released on Day 1 of the next transfer window.
  • New signings must be either Youths or Veterans in decline (i.e. a Friday or a Rice).

These House Rules have produced a very interesting opening overture to my first Season in the French league.

I did not score a single goal in any of my opening matches. Not. One. Goal.

I went 3-0 down in my opening Champions League match – versus a rampant Manchester City. Then I did finally score a goal (my first as Saint Etienne) to make it 3-1 and give me faint hopes of a comeback. But I got a player sent off and ended up being properly pummelled 5-1.

The AI plays much better when you have lesser players yourself. As the table at the end of the post will show, the AI scores an average of 2 goals against me per match and is always dangerous. A lot better than the feeble showings it was putting in by the time I got my Coventry side up to Harlem Globetrotter-levels.

Players are slow and heavy and cumbersome in the turn. This means I get more fouls too (well, about 3 or 4 per match, which is lots by PES2017 standards).

This is how PES should be played, I think. Every match is a puzzle. How am I even going to create a chance?

I had a few players rated in the low 80s. They all had to go. The way I did it was very simple. I identified the players I wanted, and traded my high-rated players for those low-rated ones. Each trade was rated at 100% likelihood.

Which left me with this squad to take on a Ligue 1 and Champions League campaign this season:

I don’t really know many of the existing players yet, but I am getting there. Kyle Walker also followed me from Coventry. The way things are, he’ll be at or near 81 OPR by season’s end (maybe even by mid-season). He will be moved on when that time comes.

Look at the Team Spirit rating – 54. Shocking. But the matches are amongst the best I have played on PES2017, or on any PES in recent years. It strongly reminds me of the best of PES2014. The struggle and grind. It also reminds me of the golden seasons in the early stages of my Coventry City seasons in PES2017.

The league table after 4 matches:

I believe the shape of my summer has swum into focus.

Updated: 6th June 2017 — 10:50


  1. See? Told ya 3-5 fouls… My team is still crap, hence.

    You are somewhat of a sado-masochist, though.

  2. I just couldn’t do this, it would feel like 2013 with the player development turned off. Removing the controller assistance just feels right – like I’m taking away an artificial aid rather than hobbling myself. I suspect even if I get the team up to the usual insane levels quite early I’ll still have the ability to lump the ball out for a throw rather than knowing it will home in on a player.

    Friday is clearly going down in Chronicles history but he felt like one of the most over rated ever for me. A Berbatov-like indulgence.

  3. This all has the feel of when Brian Clough joined Derby and signed Dave Mackay (well into his 30s) and Willie Carlin (mouthy and slow).

    It’s that or you’re the next Mike Bassett. Friday and Rice are your Benson & Hedges.

  4. n-G – As someone who has long played with house rules, that’s some harsh house rules right there. I’ve a few 80plus rated players I’d hate to lose but will if they trigger my own eject mechanism: no player can earn over £2m in wages and three-strikes and you’re out on contract renewals.

    I did have a wage cap of £2.5m but lowered it meaning Dele Alli and Dirk Kuyt are now rotting in my reserves waiting for the next transfer window. I’m not even playing them when I’m short of players. I may yet lower the wage limit further but either way I risk losing one of my favourite players at the end of the season – my terrier of a DMF Matt Fry – who’s £1.9m a year contract is up for renegotiation.

    I’ve not had much time to play over the last week but I did squeeze in a couple of matches last night. Another draw in the league (currently 7 points behind leaders Man Utd with eight to play) and a 0-0 in the Europa against some niggly made up team which was enough to take me through to the last 8. I’m also in the FA Cup semis.

    Anyway, glad your settled over there in France n-G. Looks a real challenge although I’m sure that lowly Team Spirit has more to do with your poor results than player ratings.

  5. MrNoodles – 3-5 fouls on a ‘good’ day. I still get matches completely devoid of AI fouls. Even 3-5 is not enough, nowhere near enough in a PES game. An ongoing scandal, this issue. No 10-minute football match on the highest difficulty should ever end with zero AI-committed fouls, but PES2017 (and 16, and 15) far too frequently do.

    Uncle Turf – Friday was only great in my promotion year in the early seasons with Coventry. After that, it’s been all sentiment and playfulness driving the Friday obsession. I’ve recruited him now at Saint Etienne specifically because he’s an old knacker in serious decline.

    Good luck with the all-Unassisted route. It was either that way or this way for me, and I chose this way as I always find the appeal of Unassisted fades after a time.

    Tommy – Friday and Rice and Jarvis too. Only Jarvis has any real future in this team though.

    Shed – I picked the 80 OPR figure out of the air, really, based on the makeup of the squad I found. I can just as easily raise (or lower) it depending on how things pan out.

    I might have to inflict a full match replay on you all to show just what kinds of matches I’m having. I’ve never gone in for full-match replays as I find it deathly dull watching other people play football games – 60 seconds of Gamescom floor footage and I’m done, usually – but the change with sub-80 OPR players in a new team from my previous experience, is that startling. You might have had this sort of rewarding classic-PES-feeling gameplay, with your House Rules, all along, but this is a new departure for me.

  6. great stuff not-Greg, that is exactly why I loved PES2017 so much when playing with just the defaults for an extended period. So are you now fully committed to St Etienne? Thought you were reconsidering the choice of team selection

  7. nG, I did take a page out of your book, though. No superstars (El Sharaawy was my only indulgence; Milan never should have sold him!). Only youths, and now a grizzly veteran in a declining Honda, to show the younguns the ropes.

    I hear you on the fouls. Bigger issue for me is an inability to keep consecutive cleansheets, and scripting. I’m okay with the AI going God mode. What irritates me beyond what it should, is my players seemingly going from godlike themselves, to useless, where a 60 rated cb outsprints Lobato.

  8. And Friday ain’t showing up in my ML!

  9. abbeyhill – I was reconsidering the team, with an eye to going into some nation’s D2 and scrapping from there. But I don’t want any of the faffing about needed to get to the point where I’m playing matches – and this is a real challenge right here. Bottom of Ligue 1. Cannot buy a goal. It’s great stuff.

    MrNoodles – as far as I know, Friday is a real player in the Dutch league currently, so he should be around.

  10. He is (Friday), plays at AZ. I believe he was included in a Live update thingy so if you haven’t downloaded that (or after you started your ml) he’s not in your ml.
    He’s nothing special though… *runs *

  11. First game of ml with none of yer fancy transfer restrictions was a great battling 1-0 loss to Brighton. They had 18 shots on target. That’s not usual in my book.

    2015 has some odd transfer valuations though, even allowing for ‘stars’ being early in their careers – Harry Kane transfer listed and available for 3m, same for coquelin, kasper schmeichel could have been mine for 500k. Fortunately the budget is small when starting so only bought a couple of decent prospects. I know by next season it will be daft, I think I may then have to consider the ‘would they really sign for us’ sort of rule. Absolutely no fakes allowed though, I hate seeing that same face.

  12. Turf – Kerzhakov is THE man of 2015.

    Back from corfu on Saturday, while I was there I snapped the tendon in my little finger. I believe the medical term is mallet finger. Bloody good private healthcare out there. Xrays, surgery and back in hotel in under 3 hours. Boom!!

  13. Come on then….what caused the snap? Excessive use of the pinky when drinking your earl grey? Insertion in a foreign body?

  14. I have had my wobbles about gaming of late but this morning brought it home as to what gaming means to me and the escapism it provides. My mood was low when I awoke this morning as it was pissing it down and I reflected on the prospect of another 5 years of Tory rule. I put on Minecraft and it was also piddling down on there as well. As I was building my little township that is going to be built around a good mine and source of Iron the mood lifted. It dawned upon me that I am going to be creating my own little mining industry. The plan after that will be to create a rail link under my own public ownership, which I will invest in. This will connect my own village (with villagers) and thriving farm to the mining town. So in the space of a couple of hours I have revitalised two industries and brought back the rail network under control and have plans for it’s improvement. Which politician can claim that?

    So my conclusion was the politicians can go fuck themselves as I am happy in my own little world. Power to the people!

  15. Made me smile Darryl, on what feels like a day of impending despair. I’m afraid I’ve built a megalomaniac dictator’s stone and glass tower that reaches into the clouds – the top floor goes grey every time one passes through.

    Playing more 2015 on zero assist and it feels very different from usual experiences, like the brake has been taken off. Without assistance goalkeepers launch the ball well down the field, defenders can bomb it out for a goal kick from their own penalty box, much more precision on through balls (except I’m still awful at pulling them off). I’ve even altered my usual formation to fit and have dispensed with wingers as crossing is a real challenge.

  16. #1 – Friday was only special in my ML progress in the first few seasons I had him in D2. After that, he’s been ordinary and actually very poor in his later years. I keep getting him as a kind of joke with myself, and also now because I deliberately want average/poor players.

    Lloyd – most importantly, can you still hold a controller?

  17. Darryl – Minecraft and related worlds have as much right to be considered real worlds as the alleged real world (a notional construct that has nothing but numerical ‘votes’ to support it), so there is no conflict there.

    Uncle Turf – you’ve persisted with unassisted settings longer than I thought you would. I won’t recommend players but you might recall a certain beanpole striker from my PES2015 days. Irresistible in PES2015, he is.

    My principal Minecraft construction (other than the standard underground lair spread across most of the landmass) was also a giant glass tower – a spindle-thin tower than I made a massive, wide, physics-defying platform on top of, complete with a big house and stores area. I remember deliberately underlighting the roof and battling zombies and creepers up there.

  18. NG – the striker you refer to was a legend in my 2015 campaign and the best example of individuality from that year.

  19. And precisely the reason I won’t be buying creter pouch…this is different, crosses will be minimal, the 352 a distant memory.

  20. Uncle Turf — scoring from crosses is such an enjoyable part of PES for you that it seems a shame to limit yourself in that way. Surely crossing with no assistance will come to you with practice and be even more satisfying? He Who For Some Reason Must Not Be Named would be an asset in the learning process, as he’d get on the end of deliveries other strikers wouldn’t.

  21. That might be the case NG but it hasn’t really paid off in recent years – ive not got beyond four seasons since 2013. Avoiding the usual settings, routes to goal and players is pretty much my final throw of the dice. I’ve spent all the money on gabbiadini anyway (the one who went to Southampton and not Marco – who once served me a vegetarian version of the classic English breakfast at his hotel in York).

  22. Turf – bloody volleyball of all things.

    NG – yep, feels a bit strange though.

  23. Uncle Turf — I might have mentioned this before, but my closest encounter with a famous footballer was circa 2002 or so, when I was on a work training course at Coventry City’s then-famous Connexion training/conference centre. It hosted all manner of business-type events, one of which I was attending, as well as a variety of FA coaching badge courses. I was eating my lunch and looked up to see Tony Adams sitting about five yards away eating his lunch. When I got up to leave, he did too, and I held the door open for him at the exit. He was freakishly tall and lanky, I remember, and very studious-looking.

  24. Ugh. I had forgotten that having a weaker team also makes you more susceptible to the type of scripting i hate so much. With a team of supercharged players you can break the cpu momentum. Now, not so much. Forgotten how much that makes me want to punch something when it happens. Serious issue for me.. Not sure I’m going to endure this again… Probably not.

  25. NG – no, the Tony Adams is a new one for me. Micky the cup final winning postman I knew but not the guy who seems intent on recording the worst managerial career ever. I’m not sure I’ve ever met or been in the presence of any hugely known footballers – even in the car park at st James I tended to get the likes of John berresford and Keith Gillespie signing my programme. Andy Cole is probably the closest but at the ground is a bit of a cop out, you want the encounter to be unexpected like yours, something like rounding the corner of an aisle in b and q to find kenny dalglish weighing up the pros and cons of the flymo. I’ve told an anecdote on the Danny baker show though, that was a bit odd.

  26. #1 – I’m loving life with lesser players, absolutely loving it, and am enjoying trying to resist the tide. Possession is absolutely vital. Squandering it with risky passes is a big no-no. Stick with it!

    Uncle Turf – once in the mid-90s (it must have been 1994 – I just checked), I was on a train from Birmingham to Coventry. It was the north-south London train, with Brum and Coventry just two of the stops. At the far end of the carriage was sitting an astoundingly beautiful woman. Dark hair extravagantly coiffured, formal dress, exquisite make-up, jewellery etc. A proper supermodel type.

    Next to her sat a bloke who was holding up a magazine in an unnatural position in front of his face, as if he didn’t want anybody to see him.

    He lowered the magazine after a while. It was Dean Saunders, then of Liverpool FC, on his way to his court case against Paul Elliott. Slumming it in Second Class for some reason. The wife was a stunner. I wonder what she saw in the millionaire footballer Dean Saunders.

  27. Dino Zoff is the only famous player I have spoken to, he was manager of Lazio when they did an IPO in the late 90s

    General Election looking rather more promising than feared…..

  28. abbeyhill – I vividly recall 1992 when the 10pm exit poll trumpeted a hung parliament, and I woke up next morning to a 10-seat John Major majority. The bookmakers are currently offering quite generous odds on a hung parliament (13/8 on Ladbrokes, i.e. a tenner would win £26), which is not indicative of that outcome…

    I didn’t say I’d spoken to either Tony Adams or Dean Saunders, so you’ve moved the goalposts there with ‘famous players I have spoken to’. None, in my case. Pretty good with Dino Zoff, though. One of the Immortals. 1982, a fantastic World Cup.

  29. Yes, I take these things with buckets of salt now. The Nate silver website was interesting a few weeks back, saying how historically awful British polling is with some huge errors in previous forecasts. Look at brexit, they had four or five different outcomes during the night. Pleased Newcastle got another win over Sunderland.

    Zoff is a huge name. I was in front of Marcelo lippi in a queue for a flight – I always like to board last simply to let all the nuggets do their overhead locker and ridiculous volumes of stuff routine. Except lippi and his wife clearly do the same, I couldn’t out manoeuvre his clever line tactics. It was Paris-Rome and he looked exceedingly well turned out.

    What’s an ipo though? International postal order??

  30. initial public offering Turf – there was a brief trend for football clubs to seek investors and get quoted on equity markets. Until they realised that super rich sugar daddies from dubious regimes could provide much more money and ask fewer questions

  31. NG, love the Mrs Merton reference there with Saunders!

    I used to work in the Trafford Centre near Manchester and once saw Posh Spice with her huge entourage of minders, friends and family, and Brooklyn. Lad was only about 2/3 and he was carrying on and I swear she beat the SHITE out of him, slapped his legs 3 or 4 times.

    Northwest based celebrities were common, United and City players, Coronation Street stars etc. Lads mag bimbo Jennifer Ellison once came in without make up, I never found her attractive anyway but she was hideous, terrible skin.

    And Justin Timberlake came in once with 2 huge black bodyguards. Each one was bigger than my house.

  32. Mike – we’ve had ‘celebrities we’ve met’ before, this is strictly footballers! (Wives don’t count, although Mrs Dean Saunders circa 1994 would make Posh Spice look like Hilda Ogden.)

  33. Oooohhhhh apologies!

    Well Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came in the week after Ugo Ehiogu (rip) smashed him with his elbow. Half his face was black, he looked like phantom of the opera!

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