Singing in the Ranieri

And so it begins – finally, and properly, Career Mode has begun. After playing the equivalent of 1.5 seasons with Leeds United, it is time for reality to take hold. No more testing. No more familiarising. I’ve upped sticks and packed my stuff and moved to…

Cambridge United in League 2.

I will admit being tempted to play with Coventry in League 1. Why not play with them? My own club, sitting right there, ripe for a not-Greg takeover, in a FIFA where I finally mean business and finally have the time and the inclination to play a full Career Mode career all the way to a conclusion.

But something told me that I need to keep the spell going in the manner it has been going so far. That means I need to explore regions outside my usual comfort zone of Coventry City. Credit this new resolve to the spirit of Football Manager, where I am approaching Season 5 managing in the Danish lower leagues. FM19 has helped to change my footy gaming tastebuds as much as FIFA itself.

Not-Coventry is the way, and I am followng it.Cambridge Utd’s starting squad and formation will have to change. I played this opening match of the pre-season tournament with them. I dislike 5-3-2 in particular, but decided it was the decent thing to start with what the game had served me.

I recorded the entirety of the match, which I present at the end of the post. It’s a good match, one in which you will at least see me score a goal, and early on too. A good ‘sighter’ for the remainder of the Career Mode, which will hopefully be long and glorious.

A couple of amusing things to look at. First of all, I am of course still playing on the PC platform with a couple of mods. Chiefly the FIFER 2.0 mod, which introduces a raft of changes that inevitably have a few odd glitches here and there.

One of them made me laugh. I’m not usually the sort to start laughing whilst playing football games. Picture me with a face of grim determination. This is a serous business. But when I got Liam O’Neil sent off in the second match, something made me look closer…

I’m assuming this is a quirk of the mod. It might just as easily be a quirk of the game on its own. The thumbnail pic to the right here is what Liam O’Neil should look like.

I can fix this using one of the many modding tools available to me, but I am toying with the idea of not fixing it. How amusing would it be to have an aged grey-haired beloved Italian manager playing in my midfield for the season-or-two before I inevitably replace him?

Actually the joke would wear off quite quickly. I will fix it.

General play is great. The players feel like lower league. Although I am a Master League refugee I still want to see the best part of Master League in Career Mode, to whit, the way you can start with nothing and slowly, incrementally, build your club up level by level, identifying with players along the way and creating epic stories for them and you.

A good example of lower league life here. Regular readers will be aware of my Leeds Utd long-ranger phenomenon just after I started playing FIFA20.

Of course the first thing I have tried with Cambridge Utd is a few long potshots. Here is a clip where the first attempt goes hilariously wayward. My timing and position all wrong. The second attempt – with the same player – goes reasonably close and is a sign of things to come, I hope.

Yes, these players are poor relative to the Leeds players I’ve been playing with, but it is up to me to get the best out of them with some proper footy gaming nous.

I completed the pre-season tournament (didn’t qualify: W1 D1 L1) but have not even got close to the first league match yet because I am methodically going through my squad deciding which players I need in which roles, and fitting them in accordingy.

As ever there are some apparent gems of players not selected in the First XI by the game itself.

I am also taking my time in the transfer market and setting up a proper Scouting network. Money is tight. My goals for the first Season are simply to survive but I have my eye on the playoffs.

Finally here is that full match, Game 1 of a hopefully epic story:

Updated: 10th March 2020 — 11:24


  1. It all starts proper!!! Seems weird seeing you play in anything other than sky Blue NG, but good to have a berak away from the norm and try something different.

    That Ranieri face quirk is funny, and can easily be changed via RDBM of course.
    Nice finish for your early on goal too.

    Whats your transfer budget at Cambridge? Don’t forget, set up a scouting plan to identify players between 23 and 35 that are within 1 year of their contract ending, come January, you will be able to approach any players found and negotiate a free transfer with them, essential when on a tight budget.

  2. Paul – I’ll be deRanieri-ing the save before the next session, which will be later this afternoon. I wonder what other Easter eggs are waiting in that vein? Kenny Dalglish as a referee?

    Starting budget is about £450k, can’t wait to start wheeler-dealering

  3. £450k is low, average league 2 transfer fee in is around 200-400k, but adds to the fun of it.

    Get those free’s in !!

  4. Paul — I misspoke earlier — when I started up my save this evening I discovered that my transfer budget is actually… £47k. That’s 47 thousand. Pounds.

    I sold a couple of players and got it up to £200k, have some Scouting in progress and brought another player in on loan. I need players now if I’m to challenge for the playoffs this season. Needless to say I am loving it all.

  5. NG – I was going to say thats ridiculously low and you can go into your CM save in RDBM and bump up your transfer budget, but then remembered that you’re a glutten for punishment and love the whole minimal funds, scraping and saving type finances so this could suit you right down to the ground!

  6. NG – Been lurking since my last post for a long time but am so chuffed with your long range “fail video”.

    Reading you talk about long rangers in yours Leeds experience made me wonder why I couldn’t bag any kind of goal from distance with Cov in League One.

    I thought I was doing something wrong or it was to do with the mod. Now I can focus on trying to get a couple of midfielders in who can actually ping a ball!

    Anyway, cheers as ever for the blog.

  7. NG – Good luck with the proper Career Mode with Cambridge. Sounds all good to me.

  8. Dilly ding, dilly dong, what a terrible tackle.

    I’ve been following in the background, keeping up with the FIFA career mode stories here and over on FIFA Chronicles is a highlight of my week so thanks to you and Paul. I have a hankering for a football game in my life and your League Two adventure might be the clincher. To clarify on mods, the FIFER 2.0 is the career realism mod, correct? And is it possible to change home ground, kits and manager avatar whenever?

    Your right back, Knoyle was decent in FIFA 19, very pacy. He survived from League Two to Championship with me.

  9. Alright Cook, good to see you again mate.
    Yeah the FIFER 2.0 realism mod is completely career mode focused, changes gameplay, graphics, squads, the lot, and with tools like RDBM, you can change everything from starting budgets to kit fonts, to stadiums, managers, everything.

    Highly recommend it mate.

  10. Keith – yes the long-range equation is very player-specific. Only Hernandez and Phillips in my Leeds save seemed able to do it, and there is so far only one in my Cambridge save. I have been trying with others and the shots are weak and easily-saved. A proper blaster is what it takes.

    Cook – there are tools to do pretty much anything in the FIFA modding scene and the method of applying them is clean. PES modding is an absolute mess by comparison with all the little bits of mods here and there. As Paul says, FIFER 2.0 is the Realism mod we’re both using (the mod is itself modular and you can add or subtract gameplay, faces, etc.). The RDBM tool is the one you want to change the other stuff on the fly as you go along. I accidentally started my Cambridge save with a black Cyrille Regis-a-like manager avatar and could change that to anything with RDBM. But I might just leave it as-is.

  11. NG- Can’t believe you’ve already got a long ranger in for Cambridge. If I didn’t know that it would trigger people then I’d follow this with a sad faced or hands over face emoticon.

  12. I have only managed long rangers with Keyouté and Milijovevic with palace, they need the long range shot trait or high shot power, and technique to pull them off, you saw in NG’s video what happens when you try with a lesser player.

  13. Paul – Must be a pretty special League 2 player (scans Cambridge teamsheet……)

  14. Keith – where are you getting the idea that NG has already scored a long ranger in League 2?

    He posted a video showing 2 attempts from range, one went into Row Z and the other a few feet wide, he hasn’t mentioned anywhere else scoring a long ranger yet with Cambridge!?!

  15. Paul – Ahhh, Maybe I misread where NG says he has only one so far in his Cambridge save. Apologies.

  16. Keith – He didn’t even say that!! LOL, you feeling alright mate? 😉

  17. Can confirm, no long-rangers yet in Cambridge save and with results being the most important thing currently my attempts are few and far between, probably one 1 attempt per match on average.

  18. Paul – Haha, I’m far from alright…..but I did just get my first long-ranger in League One which is quite a relief and a real clenched fist celebration.

  19. Paul/nG – Thanks both for the information, very helpful. I’ll hopefully have time this weekend to get going. I may be back with queries!

  20. NG – Apparently a recent windows 10 update has broken frosty, so would highly recommend if you haven’t or dont already do so, creating a restore point right now so you can always revert back if and when you come to wanting to test mods, frosty is broken.

  21. Fifa 20 is downloading. Boom!!!

  22. Is that everyone finished before the end of march then?

    After seeing the patched pes discussion (I didn’t go looking for it, it was a mention on something else) I played half a dozen matches in my old save. Seemingly v4 changed gameplay for the better, v5 supposedly changed it for the worse. Honestly, I couldn’t see a thing. Nothing different whatsoever. Maybe free kicks against a little less guaranteed to go in. At a push. But there were only two free kicks so who knows. And yet…I did quite like it. Despite everything.

  23. Lloyd — I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed, another FIFA13 in the works I think.

    Uncle Turf – I didn’t hate the match of PES2020 I played the other morning when I set up my PS4 Pro in another room and put it through its paces. A nice steady 7/10 sort of experience. FIFA20 though takes things up a fair few notches. And I wonder if I can ever go back to Master League now. Classic ML, of course, there is probably a PES5 week or two in my summer, if there’s still electricity by then.

    Paul – it doesn’t look as if I will have time for anything more than play for the near future. No rpospect of working from home for me. In the crazy distant pre-apocalypse days I might have just booked a random week or two off but we’ll all be in the Thunderdome soon the way this is going.

  24. was looking to jump on the FIFA20 bandwagon, looks like I have to jump through hoops to get the PS4 controller working . how poor in this day and age. could not get it to work on the demo. oh well

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