The Europa League Song Context

Real life has intervened since my last post, to the extent that I have only managed one (1) solitary session on the game. Last night, very late. I’m talking a 1:30am start kind of late.

It was a decent session of 6 or so matches that advanced progress in the Europa League. I overcame Basel in the second leg of the Round of 32, and then faced Everton in the Round of 16.

In PES as in real life, all-English encounters in European competition tend to be peculiar, stale matches, and so these two proved. But I came through the tie quite easily, 3-1 on aggregate. I finished the second match at 3am this morning and switched the console straight off without checking who’s next in the Quarter Final.

Whoever it is, I will be fielding my A Team and devoting maximum focus and commitment to the cause. The Europa League is a chance not just of my first proper trophy on PES2019 after 14 seasons, but probably my only way back into Europe next season. (I’m assuming PES2019 will mirror real life on that front.)

It’s highly unlikely I’ll get back into Europe via the league. The table after 32 matches reflects the squad-rebuilding approach I’ve taken this season:My form has been patchy. Last night I kept taking strong leads only to be pegged back for defeats and draws. I’ve lost 14 (FOURTEEN) matches, but still sit in 12th, only 7 points off the top 6, with 6 matches left to play. A top 6 finish might be doable, if I win literally all remaining matches. But the top 4 is, I think, out of reach.

I’ll keep going until the end, trying for maximum points, but the priority has to be the Europa League.

In general terms PES2019 is holding up – more than holding up. It feels rich and full-bodied like a fine wine. My feeling and attitude to the game is in stark contrast to much of the rest of the PES-playing and football-gaming community that still exists out there.

I feel ready to declare this the best PES since PES2012 for sure, and perhaps the best since the PS2 era as a whole. A massive claim to make, and a nonsensical one on the face of it, considering everything that we have lost or never had to begin with. For the first time in the post-PS2 era my end of year review in August might follow on from active involvement in the current year’s game.

One strand of the many that have gone into weaving a greater whole this year – player individuality and development. For example this man:I picked him up as a Youth about 8 seasons ago, and he is now a regular starter in the left-sided AMF slot. I only play with one advanced AMF these days, so there’s a huge amount on him. I call him the new Shimizu.

The reason I’m still here playing PES2019 when there’s so much else I might be doing, is just this. I want to see what happens with Buonanotte, and with so many others too. Forlan,Vardy, Modric, Xavi. I want to see if Castledine can hold aloft an actual trophy, invisible or not, before retirement (and then come back as a Regen). I want to see if my new Jarvis can fulfil his potential better than last time. I’ve just picked up a strapping Youth CB, Naldo, who shows great potential. Etc.

Keeping my players would be a good start. I’ll have another financial headache at the start of Season 15, in the form of another wages deficit. I won’t allow that situation to drag on for many seasons again. So I’m looking at which of my ageing high-earners might have played their last for me, and might have to move on. I’m looking at Gomez, once my star man but now in decline, and wondering if I can do it…

I will definitely have finished Season 14 by Friday’s post. Europa League final highlights if I get there.

Updated: 14th May 2019 — 11:34


  1. I don’t think I’ve ever been as far out of step with your pes-ness as I am right now. For me this year has been more like thinking you’re getting a decent house red but after a few sips you realise its just yesterday’s vimto.

  2. Uncle Turf — the metaphor stock when it comes to football gaming is a bottomless pit isn’t it? I’m not sure any other genre has such a ready-to-hand bundle of girlfriend/wife/food metaphors.

    And it’s probably just your time to sniff the carton (here’s another one) and make the sour milk face.

  3. There could be a Roger’s profanisaurus of pesims. Currently, you’ve found the fries at the bottom of the bag whereas I threw mine away half uneaten.

    I do find myself allied with the Darryls of this world (how I hate the modern pundits way of saying things like that – ‘you need your Kanes and sterlings in there’ as if there are multiple players of that name) in that having seen the hours and detail of non-football games nowadays, flaws and all, I can’t help feeling short changed by both konami and ea.

  4. wow, a long PES session starting at 1.30am not-Greg, a very long time since I’ve done that! Personally feeling the same about the game at the moment, squeezed in one match at midnight last night despite a 3.45am alarm. Even with all the obvious faults there is something about the player individuality and development which makes it so compelling. My young DMF Hutchinson has suddenly found a booming shot and scored a couple from outside the area to clinch a late 2-1 win

  5. Uncle Turf — the proper game games have an advantage being on a multi-year development and release schedule. I.e. somebody, somewhere will have started this year on the RDR2 of 2025. EA and Konami have to pump another one out every July-ish, in time for their new season. It’s no wonder they both recycle old code and why problems persist for years before being addressed.

    abbeyhill — very much shades of PES2012 with this one and how it has had the same kind of long-term maturation. I remember bailing from PES2012 a bit too quick after claiming Treble glory. The Treble may be a very long time coming for me in this one. I’d love a few more long-rangers though, and a few more fouls. Otherwise I stand by my words above, this may be the best PES since the PS2 era. PES2012, though, and the great enigma that was PES2014, might have a word to say about that. Time will tell.

  6. Turf – I wouldn’t say I was short changed by EA at all this year. I got through 10 seasons of FIFA this year and had countless hours of fun. To top this all I won the Premership with Fleetwood on Top Player difficulty. What can rival this in entertainment, when you look at value for money. As gamers we seem to want it all these days. Give me a nice plate of Beans and Toast and I am happy.

  7. Were you on FIFA 19 Darryl? I’m still on 18 and I find it almost exactly the same game as 14.

  8. Darryl – its fine liking beans and toast, buyt when you are sold and as a result expect a 28 day matured wagyu ribeye steak and truffle cooked chips, its then a big disappointment.

  9. as a vegetarian I would actually be quite pleased with such an outcome

  10. As a vegetarian Abbeyhill you wouldn’t buy something touted as a steak in the first place.

  11. Turf – yes I completed 10 seasons on FIFA 19 and for me it was the biggest leap in the series in terms of player and team individuality.

    Paul – I really would turn my nose up at truffle cooked chips.

  12. Darryl – As you well know, FIFA 19 is a totally different game from FIFA 18, to even compare the 2 is pointless.
    Don’t knock them til’ you’ve tried them, chips, sprinkled with grated parmesan that’s melted, and drizzled in truffle oil – delicious.

  13. Turf – A quick look at FUTHead shows there is a right back at Hull called Todd Kane, and a right wing back at Coventry called Dujon Sterling. So there does appear to be multiple Kanes and Sterlings.

    Paul – If your chips are merely drizzled in truffle oil then they are clearly not truffle cooked chips, and so should be promptly returned under the Trade Descriptions Act.

  14. On pure value for money and immersion stakes, considering how much they parallel our otherwise busy lives, there’s nothing like footy gaming as a genre. It always feels as if a session on Fallout4 or XCOM2 needs a special amount of time set aside for it, and anything less than an hour is barely worth starting them up. But footy gaming fits into any gap and it’s a year-round affair.

  15. I also love cheese on toast.

  16. Paul – ha, you say that but I accidentally managed to eat foie gras in a Brussels restaurant yesterday, thought it was a chunk of mushroom. Not sure what the footy gaming parallel to this is

  17. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more entitled phrase than ‘I accidentally managed to eat foie gras in a Brussels restaurant’ – today I’ve been out assessing football pitches in Durham, I ate egg and chips. Despite sharing vegetarianism our lives are otherwise poles apart Abbeyhill…

    Chris99 – ‘dujon sterling’ is a sub editors dream. Do you go for the ‘hot as mustard’ line, the ‘run on sterling’ angle, or just ‘Coventry lose again’?

  18. Fair point Turf although my never-ending marketing trips, away from family and footy gaming, are really not that glamorous. To be honest I liked the sound of your day more

  19. I’ve been vegetarian for two years, prompted by health reasons (and not eating the end-product of what goes on in abattoirs is a nice bonus). I have accidentally eaten fish or meat – that I know of – about 5 times. It was disappointing at first to break the meat-free ‘streak’ but I soon gathered it’s just one of the hazards involved. I read ingredients now and Google anything unfamiliar. Things like ‘chorizo tomato soup’ used to catch me out. Chorizos are vegetables, right?! Also, I started out thinking any instant noodle snack that wasn’t specifically beef this or chicken that, must be vegetarian. Wrong.

  20. I would never have guesed so many of us on here were vegetarians. I could do it as it would not bother me. Most food is of such poor quality now that I just see food as a means to keep alive or so we are meant to believe.

  21. nG – It’s cheese and onion crisps all over again.

    Turf – I was going to add a comment about how nG would be keen as mustard to sign him, but in the end got caught between that and a Geoff Dujon based pun.

  22. I leave it to Paul to tell us all about Geoff dujon…

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 30 odd years, not ethically, I just don’t like the stuff. It was bloody hard back in the 80s, particularly with takeaway food – chips and cheese pasties were about it. I’ve eaten the odd mistake but I can pretty much tell immediately as I really dislike the taste, to the extent that I struggle with these replacement type efforts – fake meatballs and all of that.

    Abbeyhill – nice attempt at lowering the image but I think we all know you’re dining on braised saffron tonight as it looks so appealing on the Rothschild service. You’re the old money to Paul’s nouveau wealth.

  23. No Idea who Geoff Dujon is.

    You can keep your vegeterianism too, you always know when someone is a vegetarian or vegan, because they’ll damn well tell you so.

    In today’s snowflake society where everything offends everyone, its all PC and the trendy thing to do to slam meat eating, couldn’t care less, give me a fillet steak, or roast chicken anyday.
    Humans have lived off animal meat for thousands of years, its the food chain, its always been that way and always will.

    Veganism, ad vegetarians belong in a bucket with all that other flaky crap such as the #metoo movement.

  24. Paul – I heard PES2019 is a vegetarian, and seeing as it’s #DaBestEva, that proves veggieism is the best too. You can’t argue against logic. No idea who Geoff Dujon is either and I refuse to Google him. I’m trying to reduce my info-intake these days.

  25. NG – Nice try, You wont goad me into a response that easy 😉
    Each to their own, if you want to eat plants, just do it, just no need to shout about it and criticise those who choose differently, that was a generalisation, not aimed at NG.

  26. Paul – it’s only been two years, and my health is much improved thank you (you really don’t want the details, trust me). I was once the person who would snort in derision at the idea. My limited experience of being a veggie in public is that the topic crops up organically, as it did here, as part of general conversation – and then the ones who start going crazy and shouting about how ridiculous it all is and how they’re sick of hearing about it, will be a non-veggie, again, as here… It’s astonishing how many impromptu lectures about getting enough protein I’ve had to sit through with a polite face on. People have always hated veggies, and in recent years, vegans. Poor old Hitler.

    In more fun news, I’m just putting together tomorrow’s post and have an AI own-goal that won’t make the cut. This is the 3rd AI headed own-goal of PES2019, and by far the best. If there was an AI own-goal of the season contest, this would be the winner so far:

  27. NG – Everybody is different, only you know what works for your body, there are many medical studies ongoing around the whole meat vs vegan ideaology, even advanced ones which claim that a long term vegan diet has detrimental health results.
    The body does require certain proteins, vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are just simply not available through a meat free diet, but its all about moderation and balance I feel.

    As someone who studies this kind of thing closely, and as someone who has a qualification in sports science, and nutrition, I find it all interesting.

    Nice looping OG – I don’t really see to many non-standard OG’s in FIFA, 99% of them are where the ball has deflected off a defender from a shot, or hit the keeper, rebounded back, ht the defender and gone in.

    I had one instance last season where the defender overhit a back pass and played it past the onrushing keeper for Dennis to run round the keeper and tap in, but that strictly speaking isn’t an OG, just a cock up.

  28. NG – konami must have updated St Truidens kit! it didnt look like that last time I played.

    Abbeyhill – Mario maker 2?

  29. 100% Werd, spent many hours with the kids on Mario Maker 1 designing courses for each other and this looks twice as good! Also belatedly playing Zelda properly now, got 3 of the Divine Beasts on my side just need one more and then the final assault, absolutely epic experience

  30. Abbeyhill – I really love it. It’s part of the reason I’ve not been here since late November/early December. Another factor is I stopped playing PES. That’s not a reflection of PES’s quality because i get bored of *everything* as it’s in my nature to do things to death. The test is whether I crave it in the future and come back to it. As I’ve not missed a PES release since PES 5, the series still passes my test. Having said that, I don’t think I’ll remember my ML squad of PES2019 for years to come like I do PES6, PES2008 and PES2012.

    I returned to my PS4 for the first time since November/December and was mortified to find I could not get past the “Press the PS Button” screen. I tried everything. I’d moved my PS4 and replaced my virgin router in the interim and thought I’d somehow been caught in the matrix due to updates. It turned out that my PS4 controller cable was merely a USB charging wire and not also a data wire and thus my controller wouldn’t sync.

    Thinking I was ‘locked out’ of my PS4 for good, I downloaded a fully functioning PS2 emulator onto my laptop and downloaded PES 6. What a wholesome experience that edition was.

    Having regained access to my PS4, I bought FIFA19 on Tuesday and I’m loving it. I see why Paul raves about it so much. I’m just doing a one off season, to get to grips with the game, with Saints – my team – before embarking on a career mode. I’ve picked Northampton because they’re in L2 and have lovely kits.

    Reading this blog post’s comments and the last one too has reminded me how much I enjoy the dynamics of PES Chronicles’ community.

    Paul – have you heard of Dr. Baker? Gave up his doctor’s license to speak out against the harm of vegetarianism. I’m a militant carnivore, but a Territorial Army kind; I’m not about to fight over it but if there’s a war, I’m prepared and signed up.

  31. Jay – PES6, an undoubted classic, but in retrospect the compromises made in PES6 after PES5’s unflinching PESness, were the beginning of the end. It’s arguably right then with PES6 that the Golden Age ended. Maybe it was the last hurrah.

  32. Finally just finished my first season on pes 2019, went with rangers on professional with a view to move to the prem in season 2 (couldn’t deal with a D2 struggle if I was going to get enjoyment out of my limited time with the game)

    Final game just ended needing a win to guarantee the title (level points with Celtic but better goal diff) duly went 1-0 down after 8 mins and had one of those games… Levelled they scored again… Level immediately but concede again, ended 3-3 with their 3rd coming in the 82nd min and mine in 84th but was enough… I don’t think I have ever played with such panic pushing for that last goal thinking I’d blown it.

    Glad to see you are still enjoying, I’m in the happy camp, I see this as the best PS4 offering so far… Onto the premier league and top player or superstar

  33. Jay – Hello again mate, hope all is well.
    Good to see you enjoying FIFA 19, it gets richer as the game goes on too, are you using vanilla setup? if so use the Operation Sports sliders, they further enhance the game by introducing more midfield battles, decrease the first touch ability, which leads to more random and natural turnovers, and a host of other things.

  34. Hi Paul – I’m using the Operation Sports Sliders, as always. If FIFA added a kit/badge editor it would render PES all but obsolete bar the hardcore – and I’m saying that as part of the hardcore.

    What difficulty do you find most “balanced”?

  35. Jay – absolutely, as FIFA is licensed and are legally obliged to represent the clubs kits and sponsors accurately, they’d never give us a full on kit editor, but the option to add bespoke 3rd and 4th kits to the licensed kits would be huge !!!!

    I’ve been playing on World Class for 11 seasons now, with the OS sliders I find this the most balanced, each team presents a difficulty level based on their players abilities, so some games feel easier than others, and other matches are extremely hard, it keeps it varied and means you have to pay attention to tactics every match.

  36. Pete – the in-match rubberbanding is one of the series’ least attractive features. I was thinking this morning how my beloved PES5 was the one that really introduced ‘God Mode’ (where the AI somehow manages to keep the ball until it crafts at least a chance).

    Jay/Paul – won’t deny that all FIFA19 talk from you and the likes of Darryl intrigues me as a footy gamer, but (yet another metaphor incoming) it’s like being deep into a great book when somebody else tells you they’re reading a great book too. Which isn’t your book. In gaming there’s a strange compulsion to abandon or suspend your great book to hop over to the other great book. I don’t do that with books and will not with footy games either.

  37. NG – you are so far invested in PES 19 that it would be utterly pointless and counter productive for you to even have a look at another footy game with its different mechanics and everything.
    You are lucky that you have managed to connect with a PES game in such a way that you probably haven’t since the PS3 days, no point jeopardising that.

    FIFA 19 will be about 8 quid in a few months time, maybe have a look then.

  38. Abbey – nintendo have surpassed themselves with whats on offer, I just hope you dont have to complete the story mode to gain the tools!, drove me nuts on the 3DS
    BOTW is being enjoyed and taken at a very slow pace, I keep chickening out of the boss battles as I cant get the hang of blocking etc, fave ever thing is climbing as high as I can go, surveying my surroundings then gliding down.

    Meat brigade – new fave lunch, stir fried Frikadellen with mushroom, spring onion and thick noodles, spiced with paprika and chilli flakes.

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