Football Damager

I have changed the name of my myClub team to The Irregulars, because that’s the squad I now play with almost all the time. I have also changed the kit to that of Velez Sarsfield from the Argentine league.

This pre-match screen below could be a common sort of sight in PES2019, if indeed there is a PES2019:

My Irregulars on the left. Somebody’s 5-star team of stars on the right. I’m back playing on Professional Medium difficulty (I got ‘relegated’ after losing a few on Professional Stronger).

I won this one 1-0 with an opportunistic strike from Zigoni, quietly out-Irregularing my principal striker, Veldwijk.

The great positive I have discovered about the accursed myClub mode is that it continues much of the appeal of Master League. Get a semi-random bunch of no-hopers, and mould them into a team. Grow them over time. Contest against progressively harder opponents (only some of which have to be human). Watch individuals come through unexpectedly.

I have big plans for the Irregulars in PES2019. Starting from day 1, could I take them up a few Divisions online? Will I get to enjoy victories, or even good performances, with my team of developed journeymen against the galacticos online?

A lot depends on what kind of game PES2019 will be. Will it be a PES that rewards footballing strategies, or a zero-fouls sprint-’em-up that ignores hyper-aggressive play? Somewhere between the two is most likely, but where between the two? A lot depends on a lot of things that we don’t yet know.

The other day I took my 4-star A Team out for a match. They must be close to being 5-star rated now. I got Dembélé and Ramsey from successive spins. The problem with big-name players in nuPES is always the same. Few of them feel like proper individuals, particularly against the AI, which is still where I am spending most of my time.

In other news I am back playing Football Manager regularly. Over the past month I have enjoyed an entire parallel FM life that has not been mentioned here. I am playing FM2012. I already had it on Steam, and it runs perfectly on all my hardware.

Football Manager remains one of my gaming white whales. I have never achieved anything of note on any edition of the series. I have tried, many times. A couple of successful promotions from lower divisions is all I have ever achieved. My FM careers end either in the sack, or in me drifting away from the game after losing interest.

I started as Coventry City in the Championship, which is where we were in season 2011-12. I was sacked before Christmas 2011 after a spectacularly bad run of results. I can never resist tinkering with a formation to rectify a bad run, and it tends to make things worse.

The key to making Football Manager part of your life is dipping into it for a match or two every day or two and having it be part of your life in the background. Big long sessions are peculiarly draining and not a great idea for me.

I have restarted in the Blue Square North with Hinckley. I have been reading about Lower League Management on the FM forums, and started watching an astoundingly good YouTube series ‘non-league to legend’.

In real life, Hinckley United were dissolved by court order in 2013. Can I change history? In many ways it’s the ultimate Default-style experience. Can I take a club with very poor players, even by Blue Square standards, to the Champions League?

The early signs are: no. But it’s enjoyable finding out.

Updated: 20th July 2018 — 11:54


  1. Just to pick up on your comments on the last post regarding the new stamina system, not sure how hard you looked but it has been mentioned quite a bit in various places.
    I have read many comments on Twitter from people who played PES 19 and they all said the new stamina system has a massive effect on how you play the game.

    Game informer website mention it here:

    And PESUniverse played the game at E3 and said this (post on their website)

    In one attack, Argentina must have had at least 20 passes, just probing for gaps. In another, it was 3-4 quick one-twos and a shot from distance. Another snap shot volley from Messi resulted in a corner kick. I caught them on a quick counter, cracked the post and then had a shout for a penalty to which Argentina became even more aggressive. I tried to keep the ball but the pressure was relentless and not in the same way PES 2018 dealt with pressure which is thanks to the new fatigue system. Argentina just couldn’t chase me down efficiently enough because their players were gassed.

    Messi was physically exhausted and Higuain wasn’t able to chase down anything. But I also couldn’t control passes or switch wings easily due to my players depleted stamina. The frenetic pace of the first 75 minutes were taking a toll on all players. This is when PES 2019 felt special. That 1-0 win showcased just how different PES 2019 could when all the newly refined features worked in tandem.

  2. Sacked before Christmas? In season one in the championship?? I didn’t think that was possible. Even if you were rock bottom I would have thought you’d get till the end of the season. I’ve played every release up till 2014 and started every scenario from premier league to non-league and its only when starting at a big club and lashing the cash around in spectacular failure that I’ve lost my job in year one. You’re not kidding about it being your Moby. Sorry if that sounds harsh, I’m not trying to have a pop at your gaming prowess but I’m so surprised at the outcome.

    I’ve not played in anger for a good few years and it’s almost certainly due to the arse on of an old laptop. I’m so used to instant gaming that even the ps4 can feel outrageously sluggish going from button press to game actually starting. God knows what I’d make of firing up the spectrum for a game of Kevin toms. I’d love to think I might indulge over the summer but I think it’s a forlorn hope. Good luck with non league, the biggest issue I have always found is knowing the players that will improve you simply won’t sign on the wages your budget allows. It’s a nonsense as they never go elsewhere, effectively retiring themselves when they could be back in the shop window.

  3. Paul– I’ve mainly just read the odd bit of forum feedback from testers, and not looked in-depth at any of the articles at all. I’m assuming that whatever hopeful noises they make about fouls, injuries, stamina etc., will not trasnlate into on-pitch outcomes that everyone will be able to see and feel. Many players of PES2015-16-17-18 say ‘but I get loads of fouls’, with some even claiming an average of 5 or 6 fouls per 10-minute match, but as we all know, this is not the case. (I wonder if the ‘average 5 or 6 fouls’ players literally mean it as a literal mathematical average. I’ve always suspected they mean it in the sense of ‘every so often I get one match with 5 or 6 fouls, and that satisfies me’).

    So it’s good to hear there are mentions of the new stamina system in all the pre-release dispatches, but let’s see if it’s real. Even if we’re all wowed on Day 1 by Messi limping around after an hour of sprinting, there is no way the online players will like or approve of it. I suspect the dreaded first patch that follows will remove or tone down everything the online players don’t like.

    I was expelled from the Cynics Society for being too cynical about it. I would love to be wrong about all this.

  4. Uncle Turf – sacked well before Christmas – first week of December – in season 1 in the Championship. It came on the back of 8 straight defeats that plunged us into the bottom 6. The budget was £0, the wage budget was -£11,000, and nobody wanted to buy my high-value, high-earning players. I touted the £1.5m-valued Bigirimana around for as low as £300,000 – no takers. No prospect of any loanees coming in. Before the board stopped me signing any more free transfers and straining the wage budget some more, I managed to get one player pre-season, Steve Howard from Leicester, who was immense in friendlies but stopped scoring when things got real.

    Morale plunged. A Team Meeting early on briefly revived morale, but when it went down again, I organised another. I asked the Captain to speak to the team in dressing room – and I am not kidding, this is how the game represented the moment when he did:

    Sammy Clingan (looking directly at you): Some people around here need to buck their ideas up. Fast.

    Having thus lost the dressing room, I lost the next match at home, 1-4, and got the bullet the next day. No warning. No board meeting. No rumours in the press. Just the equivalent of ‘your sacked lol’.

    The game is definitely my white whale. I see and read about other FM players’ epic multi-season journeys from low to high, and just have no idea how they do it.

  5. Football Manager… I have the 2013 version, and while I love the idea, I think it is too much for me. You need to know a lot of things and have a lot of time to properly enjoy the game, and I don’t have the patience. But now that you talked about it, I might fire it up and try to save my hometown team, that disappeared in Summer 2014 due to debt.

    I won’t believe anything about PES 2019 until we can get our hands on the demo. Even with that, they will change the gameplay with patches if online people are not happy about it.

  6. I have FM2018 on the mac, played 3 pre-season friendlies, havent even started the season proper yet and that was about 6 months ago.
    Just too time consuming if you play it as intended.

  7. Paul – that’s always been my issue with the FM series too. Eventually, the granularity of it gets me down. But I have found a way to play it that seems to work. One match per session, with all the menu-based fluff leading up to it, messing around with Training and Transfers etc. Two matches if I feel ‘into’ it on any particular occasion. Immediately after my 1 match, I save and quit. An FM session lasts about 30 mins at most. In this way you get through the weeks and months of the season. (I played FM2010 for four seasons this way.)

    Pre-season is the biggest grind. Getting to know your players, arranging transfers, contracts etc.

    JS Hutt – as I discuss above, there is a way to play the FM genre that doesn’t take up so much time. I find it very restful. And having never achieved anything of note in the whole series, I have a score to settle.

  8. Wow, that’s obviously a very tough start, I didn’t think they’d hit you with the real life dog mess that has been Coventry over the last few years. I don’t think tinkering ever helps, I’ve always felt that any formation in fm needs games to find familiarity – teamwork, spirit, etc counting more than whether you play wing backs rather than full backs. Early years it always seemed more about finding and signing the wonder kids – the likes of serge makofo and Fabio paim scoring silly numbers regardless of the system. Now I think it is a bit more nuanced but being saddled with high earners and little budget is a tough deal. Newcastle 2013-4 is similar, you have to virtually give players like coloccini away just to get the weekly spend down.

  9. Uncle Turf – re. tinkering in FM, the bloke who does the YouTube series I linked to above always plays 4-4-2 (or 4-4-fucking-2) with every team he manages. They’re all non-league. Thing is if it goes bad in-match, he will change formation. But never beforehand: 4-4-2 always the start.

    That series is very good, by the by. It’s very close to being a Football Manager Chronicles. He’s an older fellow than the most common sitting-in-the-corner-of-the-screen YouTube types. Most episodes features two or three matches with him commenting over them. I’m quite addicted. FM2018 looks very good in the vids, and the match engine really is as subtle and ‘footbally’ as FM’s diehards claim it to be. E.g. a highlight can show when a player has high Pace and Technique but poor Composure and Awareness (Darren Huckerby in other words).

  10. NG – not sure if that sound project I posted had this link up then but

    I’d imagine it’s hour after hour of weeping and anguish.

  11. Uncle Turf – many thanks, very eager to listen to them… Just listening now

  12. Turf – you don’t half get some shite on the Internet these days.

  13. I take it you have soaked up the recently released PES 19 MyClub trailers and info bits NG ?

  14. Paul – no, it’s been a busy working weekend for me, and even though I’ve now buckled and pre-ordered PES2019, I currently feel curiously detached from it all. I think mainly because I’m still fascinated by how much the Irregulars are occupying my attention. Just had a look at EvoWeb and there’s nothing there – ? Feel free to post the links.

  15. MyClub Trailer:

    PES 19 Demo Trailer (8th August):

  16. Paul – I’d seen the demo trailer (utterly generic and didn’t think it worth noting, or even remembering) – the myClub trailer is new to me though. Very encouraging considering what I want to do with it. On the one hand it looks like myClub has been given the old ‘move the menus around, change the font and colours, and call it a revamp’ treatment. But there is a massive innovation in there: Special Trainer, able to teach players new positions and skills. A huge ML-like feature, that.

  17. NG – the demo trailer was a very nice looking well put together video, but yeah, it just shows us carefully selected game play then gives a demo date, nothing they couldn’t have done with a press release.

    The MyClub video I thought would interest you most specifically for that exact thing – the training of player skills and positions, reminded me of PES 11, invest 36 weeks in training Villalba to be able to perform long range drives etc.
    And we know that player leveling is in too, so that PES19 pre-order should turn out a worthy purchase.

  18. Paul – my appetite is very whetted for PES2019 now. It definitely is the case that I’m getting PES2019 for myClub. I’ll be able to do with The Irregulars idea what I want to do: start from Day 1 and see where it ends up over the course of a whole PES-year. Master League is so far in second place as a reason for getting PES2019, that it barely even registers. I bet I end up playing as much or more ML than myClub though…

    PES is very much in the summer doldrums now. Same every year, but this year is more doldrummy than most. I don’t know if it’s the hot summer or what. PES is very low on the list of priorities. Things won’t pick up again until after the demo hits, probably. I’m still playing just enough to post twice a week about it. I’ve got tomorrow’s done already, but Friday’s might be the first of the summer that I’ll really struggle to make. The long-awaited NEXT update for No Man’s Sky is here and I am finally going to give the game the good go it deserves. I’ve only played it spottily since launch 2 years ago. Each update so far has been good, but none of them quite enough. All my sci-fi nerd instincts are telling me this is the one now.

  19. NG – I have been keeping an eye on the NMS update but am enjoying Witcher 3 that much I don’t want to break the spell. We go on holiday for a week on Friday and have some concerns that this could interrupt matters.

  20. Darryl – I’ve reached the stages with Fallout4 where I want to slow things down a touch. I gave myself an all-day next-day headache playing it until 4am one night last week. I love sci-fi and Fallout4 is sci-fi-ish, but NMS… give me some of those soothing synths playing over the garish 1970s sci-fi book cover visuals… I’ll be there tomorrow afternoon when things kick off.

  21. I’ve stopped playing PES 18 now, want that month long break between playing the new game, am on the last chapter of the last ever Uncharted (uncharted 4) so will finish that, the I have Detroit:Become Human to start, which if as good as cage’s previous title, Heavy Rain, should be enjoyable and enough to keep me going until PES 19.

    With the nights as hot and sticky as they are, gaming takes a back seat, even the mild heat the PS4Pro gives off is an unwelcome addition to the room.

  22. Paul – I’ve got Fallout4, NMS, and a cheeky side-game of Civilization V that I started last week. PES will continue in fits and starts probably for another week or so. The Irregulars in PES2018 would’ve been a story for the ages – if I’d started them last September…

    Just catching up on the latest vids and impressions of PES2019 and yes, it’s confirmed as another ‘no-stoppage arcade-fest’ relative to previous PES editions, but we know this is what PES is now, and have known it for a few years. The annual surprise in the community that it’s another ‘no-stoppage arcade-fest’ is helping to sustain the delusion that PES is ever again going to be anything else.

  23. NG, having not played PES 19 myself I can’t tell how it feels, but alot of reports from the play test days were saying that due to the new ball physics and added player weight etc, that the game felt a better pace and more ‘considered’.

    I guess it depends what you class as ‘an arcade fest’, as different people will have different opinions on that, but PES 5, 6 were much much faster games than the PES we have today, depends what your benchmark is for simulation over arcade.

  24. Paul – speed alone isn’t the determining factor. PES5, 6 etc. were dizzyingly fast relative to today’s more considered (and user-controlled) pace. But the game over the past few years has become arcadey in the sense that the action almost never stops, even if it is slower. Lack of fouls, lack of penalties, no injuries, etc., all combine to make for a no-consequences environment that encourages a style of play that we can only call arcade-oriented. Add in the watered-down player individuality for extra arcade flavouring. Backheels, etc. All of this would have left us horrified 10 years ago and vehement that there was no way the ‘community’ would ever accept such a PES. But here we are. Market forces have set to work on PES in a way that would have Karl Marx nodding and saying ‘I told you so’, and here we are.

  25. Of course, I know speed isn’t the only factor involved, which you can manually change anyway, but I think a lot of the other factors that go towards determining an arcade-fest-like game are arguable.

    Yes, fouls aren’t at the levels they were in PES 5, but you could argue that PES 5 was a foul-heavy game, as no game since, has had the same amount of fouls as PES 5.
    Even going back to PES 2011 and 12 and onwards, the fouls count per match isn’t much different to what it is these days, again arguable that peoples needs from a football simulation have changed, more than the game itself has changed.

    Player Individuality is another one, the Player ID is there, you have seen it yourself in MyClub, is it watered down somewhat in ML? who knows, during my 10 season long PES 18 ML, I had several players whom played totally different to any other player, and felt different on the ball, they felt unique, so has Player ID been watered down or is it just less apparent in today’s games because there are so many more leagues, and teams and players in the game than there used to be?
    It’s all very subjective.

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