No escape from reality

It was 100% the right choice to go back to where I started with FIFA20, and resume my Leeds Utd save in the Premier League. Playing a football game career long-term means putting down roots. I did that with Leeds and it was foolish of me to think I could walk away.

The three players on show above are three players with whom I had laid down roots for different reasons. Phillips is my CDM, a true rock, with a great shot on him. Colombo is a Youth promotee whom I am nurturing into the big time. Shackleton is a young midfielder with a touch of Rice about him – yes, I do mean Rice of Master League fame. The PES reference points are still very much alive with me, even if the game/mode isn’t.

My Castledine equivalent would be Hernandez, who is 34 and going to decline and/or retire quite soon. I could meddle in the PC editor and knock 10 years off his age, but I am playing this mode and this career ‘straight’. No messing with world parameters any more than I already have done with the Realism Mod.

Season 2 in total, and I am now heading firmly for mid-season.

All told I have probably played a full 2 seasons’ worth of matches, as I spent lots of time replaying the same sequence of matches at the start of this season in an effort to test out the PC mods I’m using and attempt to acclimatise to Tactical Defending. I have not so far attempted Tactical Defending again. I’m happy with Legacy Defending for now.

I bought one big new player at the tail-end of the August window. I shopped for a big new striker who would get the bread and butter goals, the tap-ins, the scrambled headers and the like. They’re the bricks and mortar (as well as the bread and butter) of any league campaign.

Step forward Deulofeu, whom Watford were willing to let go for £35m, a bargain at today’s inflated market prices, especially to a divisional rival currently on the same level as them. I doubt any such move would have been allowed in our so-called ‘real life’ (which has really jumped the shark lately). But this is why fantasy is so much better than reality.

Anyway, Deulofeu was quiet for a few matches, and I thought, uh-oh. ‘What a waste of money’ and so on.

Then he sparked into life, and started bagging all the Micky Quinn-style chances he was specifically brought in to score. Which helped propel us from bottom of the table to mid-table. Here’s a couple of those ‘ordinary goals’ that I posted in comments over the weekend:

And there’s more where they came from, as we shall see.

I concede far too many goals for me to make any meaningful progress in the league, as the table above shows.

I win a match or two and then get thumped. In FIFA20 it can feel that if you go a goal down you’re battling against a too-strong headwind and there’s no chance to come back.

I have come back once or twice from a goal down – as seen at the end of today’s ‘Miscellaneous Moments’ clip video.

We start with me attempting yet again to score a volley from a corner. One day…

There is also an amazing miss by the usually-clinical AI in the guise of Burnley. And then I punish that miss by scoring two late, late goals (Deulofeu and Barbosa) to take the win.

Updated: 31st March 2020 — 12:02


  1. Paul – Going back to your earlier comment we do indeed live very different lives and I love my very simplistic life as you do love your social life. This for me is ideal and the best part. However, I am conscious that things can’t stay this way forever as NG pointed out.

    I have this afternoon off. So my plan is to help the little one by doing some home schooling, whilst sat in the garden. I am then making a curry for tea and making a batch of nann breads. I have a really good recipe if anyone is interested. Because you dry dry them before putting them in the oven it gives them a traditional charcoal taste and couldn’t eat the shop packet one’s again. It does say strong flour but normal plain flour is just as good.

    I am not bored nor fidgety. People have forgotten how to relax and switch off in our society that is constantly demanding of our attention.

  2. NG – to be in 9th place isn’t bad at all when you have conceded 29 goals in 12 games.

  3. Darryl – a few matches where pushing too hard for equalisers etc left me open at the back, and then it’s just a collapse. When the AI gets in behind your fullbacks in this game, it’s carnage.

    Another trip to the shops now makes me deeply regret not acting on my instincts a few weeks ago and properly stocking up on non-perishables. Is it just round my way that people are doing this insane ‘standing around in scattered random positions with your place mentally bookmarked’ style of queueing?!

  4. Darryl – I think you and me still have some office duties, which helps to make the peace and quiet of home all the sweeter. I am getting obsessed with how people have abandoned all awareness and understanding of proper queueing etiquette at the soors of smaller supermarkets, chemists etc. What gets me is that if you say something they all look at you with a definite ‘what’s this guy’s problem?’ vibe. A wonderful example of the way groupthink suspends all rationa critical faculties. A temporary knot of 5 people all acting irrationally (standing around randomly to get into somewhere is irrational in our culture), their established order is the correct one, and I – the one who innocently expects an orderly line with a clear visual order of precedence – am the outlier.

    Paul – Skylines is a great game! Played it on PC a few years ago for long enough to get my cty to such a state of over-complexity that everything I did caused a disaster. They say that Trump being US President and now a flu pandemic is a sign that we’re a higher dimension’s Cities:Skylines, you know…

  5. Paul – I may play City Skylines again as it is such a brilliant game on the console and seems to be made for the machine. I may pick it up again as I fancy such a game at the moment.

  6. NG – That Burnley miss was a shocker, and some very well taken goals on your part.
    What stadium are you playing in as leeds? Having a little more time on my hands now if you want any new kits and a few custom adbioards for your stadium let me know.

    I signed Adama Traore from Wolves in my CM, he’s so far been average, the man mountain, strong, pacey winger of real life Adama, is not the wone I have been seeing in FIFA thats for sure.

    I finished season 3 last night, fully expected the sack, interesting ending, will save detauils for thursdays post.

    Darryl – Of course everyone lives different lives and if the lockdown really is all ok for you then thats great, personally I’m finding it difficult not being out, about and social, gym, shopping, bars etc everything we take for granted, gone.

    NG/Darryl – Cities Skylines is a great game, love the levek of detail you can zoom into, and watch people walking their dogs etc, I’m not playing it from a true strategy perspective such as making a profit or running a sustainable city, I’ve turned on unlimited funds so i can just build until my hearts content, whilst i get used to the game as the last city builder type game i played was Sim City and populous back on the Amiga.
    Once I’m up to date i’ll go back and play the game properly.

    It’s nice to have something creative to fall back on to.

  7. Anyone needing pasta, flour or anything else in bulk, call your nearest restaurant supplier, I think they’ll be glad of the business.

    Uncle Turf – I have taken BK Avarta as far as I can in Denmark. It was an immense achievement just to get one promotion from 2 Division (their ‘League One’) to the NordicBet Liga (their ‘Championship’), where I’ve kept them a solid mid-table side for two successive seasons now. The players we need to challenge for promotion to the top flight are way out of my price range. I could spend another 10 seasons trying to Moneyball it, but I fancy moving on now. I have declined to renew my contract, and am actively seeking new employment. My manager reputation is such that a League One-level job is not unthinkable, and as I went to bed last night I had an interview lined up with Carlisle United. It’ll be a wrench to leave Avarta after 5 memorable seasons but it’s time.

    I hope you got the environment scaled down to your liking. You should be able to see and bid for any player from any league loaded into your world. I had a similar limitation imposed on me re. scouting – the scouts simply couldn’t travel outside Denmark because there was no money to pay for travel and accommodation, never mind their wages. But I was able to see players in every other league, even if attribute masking meant I couldn’t have full knowledge. Tried for a few loans of reserve squad English players I know about, etc.

    Paul – I came up against Newcastle’s Saint-Maximin last night, very Traore-like, it would be really interesting to have both of them and play them on opposite wings… Can’t remember exactly which stadium is, I remember picking the one that looked most like Elland Rd, will check later.

  8. Not really NG – I find there is way too much information and I wish there was a skip through all the news shite till the day of the match. I have offloaded just about every task except buying, selling and tactics, yet the screen is just too busy when compared to the glorious days of cm. I don’t want to be interviewed by 442, don’t care about upcoming match screens and scout updates, when I sign a player I don’t want to ask another to welcome him, or care about squad dynamics, it’s all just froth.

  9. Uncle Turf — unsubscribe from all news you don’t want and change the frequency of scouting emails. To stop the game stopping every day for other news, go to Preferences/Interface/Processing/Continue Game Timeout, which you will discover Disabled. Enable it and set it to whatever time limit you like. The game will wait that amount of seconds before Continuing. Set it to 1 or 2 seconds. The game will still stop whenever you have to make a decision about something and of course for matchdays.

  10. Ah! Thought there must be a setting but couldn’t find it. Couldn’t find the sodding job section for about ten minutes. Thanks for that.

  11. I smell Werd….

  12. NG – I also encountered Saint-Maximin, he had pace to burn, very tricky player, also played Wolves and they had a LWb called Vinagre, very much a Trent Alexander type but with electric pace, immediately tried to sign him after the match and was quoted 72 million, which put an end to that!

    Gone are the days of being able to sign anyone in FIFA, I’ll save the detauls for tomorrows post but I’m in a very tricky situation right now.

  13. Turf – I forgot about the little fella. I wonder how he is doing?

  14. Darryl – re. your links, now that’s what I’d call a proper end of the world. None of this shilly-shallying, let’s all watch Netflix while worrying about having enough pasta rubbish. A proper BOOM, headshot type of Apocalypse. Sadly I think there are too many amateur astronomers who know their stuff and they would all blow the whistle on it if it was going to hit. A miss is a miss no matter how near in astronomical terms.

  15. Brought back FIFA to my games library.
    Back in January I was playing on Ultimate and it was realistic, some wins, some loses, some draws.
    Put the game on now in April. Ultimate – got crashed 5-0 against equal team.. just in the FIRST HALF! Seems like I have to try Legendary first.

  16. I’m trying so hard to love fm2020 but every time I see the images of folk playing cm01/02 I get pangs. I really like the stripped down look, fm is just a bit too much like work.

    Went to two shops today Paul. One in one out was a pain but once inside I could get anything I wanted. Birthday cake and prosecco for mrs turf next week, Easter egg for the mini one, nothing was out of stock. Hopefully you’re still not in need of Red Cross parcels, it really feels like people up here are being sensible but are relatively unaffected.

  17. Turf – was you able to get eggs? flour? tinned goods? fresh chicken?

    Got some essentials delivered by my mum who went out for some earlier but the goods mentioned above are still difficult to get hold of.
    Also went on amazon, Wickes, Homebase, B&Q websites, not a single one had any decking or fence paint or compost.

    ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Ocado,Tesco, all making you queue for up to an hour just to access their website and when you do, there are no delivery slots for 6 weeks, its all ridiculous and piss poor.

    You can grab Champ Manager 01/02 off any one of a number of abandonware sites for free.

  18. abbes – it is a modded PC Professional level, but Professional level frequently kicks my proverbial. I cant imagine ever oplaying anything higher than World Class.

    Uncle Turf – you can play CM0102 anytime you want, and with a minor bit of fiddling you can have it updated to the current season with a transfer window.

    Paul – all the shelves are replenished with tinned goods, eggs, flour etc here as well. Bear in mind I don’t go in the large supermarkets, only the smaller local ones and the corner shops. My local corner shop is sitting on a toilet paper mountain.

    Also bear in mind: there is likely to be a second wave of panic buying at some point. Something will spark it. Italy may be days from martial law as the populace there is starting to get restive. Something like that will make everyone twig that it could happen here – cue panic buying. So I would try my utmost to get whatever you need now. Get in your car and go on a tour of the smaller shops before our lockdown is intensified and you won’t be able to anymore. There’s no point in having any pride about not being a panic-buyer.

  19. Also it looks like ebay is the place to go for items with quick delivery. I see Amazon Prime is shipping many items with a FOUR WEEK delay now, as they’re prioritising essentials.

  20. Ebay sellers are charging extorionate prices for items though NG.
    I ordered a new bike off amazon last Thursday, it came tuesday, prime, so some stuff is still shipping fairly quickly.

    Just finished your new Leeds kits NG for whenever you want a change.

  21. I have a relative who works in Mark’s and Spencer’s. She has been saying that nobody has been coming in and as a result they start reducing thier prices from 12pm and further more as the day goes on. My wife told a work colleague about this and she reported back that she had been in and got about £80 worth of stuff for £14. Nobody goes into such a place during a crisis, so is no surprise to me. However, I can’t get flour from anywhere. I have about 4 local shops within about a 5 minute walk from my house. I can’t make anymore Nann Breads as a result.

  22. Darryl – I’m sure your grandma will miss you making bread for her. M&S is also queueless here. You can stroll straight into the food hall and grab whatever you want. Haven’t heard about the afternoon discounting, but will keep an eye out.

    I ordered some speakers for my laptop from Amazon yesterday night, and they are promising Prime delivery tomorrow which is perfectly acceptable.

    Nearly two weeks in and we haven’t had to alter a single meal as everything we have required has been available.

  23. Chris99/Paul – it depends what you order. I was looking for a screw-on microphone arm for my desk, planning more audio-related content for the blog (no self-filmed ‘what’s up guys?’ videos though, don’t worry). Of about 20 items on Amazon, 15 were marked Prime but delivery for 28 April. One outlier was ‘proper’ Prime and would have been here tomorrow if I’d ordered it. I’m going to make my own homemade one instead though, using an old anglepoise lamp.

    I had a look at eBay out of curiosity and of course every seller is trumpeting their instant dispatch and delivery for everything. In eBay terms of course, that usually means a day or two, very few have ever offered a Prime-like service.

    Darryl – see, I knew the Apocalypse would catch up with you in the end.

  24. If anyone wants a free copy of FIFA20 on PS4 then send me a Self Stamp addresses jiffy envelope and ill return it with the game in, first come first gets.

  25. Paul – I don’t eat chicken as I’m also a vegetarian but I would imagine it was there. I couldn’t get any tinned pears come to think of it – just mandarin segments, fruit cocktail or pineapple (which I declined) but got half a dozen cans of soup, four tins of beans, we already had a box of 15 eggs, didn’t need flour either, some smoked salmon for mrs t, sourdough bread, erm, can’t really think of anything that wasn’t on the shelf apart from those pears really. Like chris99 there hasn’t been any change needed, just a bit of experimentation thanks to added time on my hands. Place I went to was near an M and S on a retail park. Queue of five outside around 11am.

    CM – yes, I’ve had it for a while, just not pressed the button yet.

    I’ve also been buying a few things online for the birthday, and the odd book for me. All normal service. Not tried for any kind of solar still or small generator so don’t know about them.

  26. We can unashamedly call ourselves panic-buyers. I was out this evening for a walk with the little one and the dog. The route took us past Aldi and as it looked quiet I suggested that this was a good time for my wife to do the shopping. God bless her as she came back with 2 bags of flour and 2 bags of self-raising flour.

  27. @nG – previous FIFA been way too easy for me on anything below Ultimate. FIFA 19 actually become too easy even on Ultimate after a while, that’s why I stop playing it. But now in FIFA 20 Ultimate is impossible. So far so good with Legendary tho. Don’t know, maybe I am just too good in FIFA then, if anything below those levels is too easy for me? Would never consider myself to being ‘too good’..

    Besides the world crisis at the moment I started playing today No Man’s Sky and oh my goodness… I don’t want to put this game off now, it is such a masterpiece. And where to find the time for Skyrim and FIFA in all of this? Even with quarantine and self-isolation there is not enough of life for those games all together :).

    As we speak about self-isolation, thank god my neighbour is doing shopping for us, so we do not have to even step outside and he’s the only ‘outsider’ we getting in contact with. Feel pretty safe thanks to it in all this bollocks situation. At least that. But paying monthly rent without getting any income makes me really anxious currently.. more than Coronavirus itself.

  28. Lloyd – enjoyed watching your FIFA20 footage on the previous post, glad to hear you’re liking it. Nice to see the 20 vintage Exeter team in action, you seemed to have a good combination going on with Williams, Law and Ajose up front. In my 19 career Randall Williams and Archie Collins were the standouts, stayed with me for many seasons. Also really liked Pierce Sweeney the right back although he was too old to develop. Keeper also looked very promising although unfortunately lost him on a free after misunderstanding the contract negotiations

  29. Abbeyhill – Ajose is a goal machine. I switched to two up front at Xmas and Bowman has bagged 16 in 26 games. I’m 4th with 6 games to go and the board want automatic promotion. As I’ve missed the financial target i’m probably going to need to hit this one to keep my job!! I’ve got Bradford up next who are 2 points ahead in 3rd. In the middle of four 12 hour shift at the moment so wont be able to play until Monday. 🙁

  30. Seems much better stocked up your way then Turf, I’d guess that its the much higher populous down here, buying so much more stuff, it runs out far quicker.

    Theres a website where you can pay 99p to be immediately notified anytime a delivery slot at any one of the big 6 supermarkets ebcomes available, or you can pay 4.99 to have it reserve the slot on your behalf.
    Entrepeneurship or making a quik buck in a time of crisis?

    Abbes – its been all over the FIFA forums and social media for months that EA apparently ‘broke’ Ultimate after a patch, as they made it super ridiculously impossible to beat.
    Ultimate is not even able to be modded by the FIFA Modding community because EA lock that mode down in its own protective bubble so we can get at the code or variables, but professional with the FIFER mod, plays more like a World Class + level.

  31. abbeyhill – I am STILL trying to do PES-style negotiations in FIFA where I’ll try to freestyle the transfer offer and wages etc., and everyone storms out in a huff. If I get to deadline day and there’s no one Scouted, I’m performing Master League-style searches and rolling the dice!

  32. And I will be a touch late with today’s post again, about 12.30. Not because I’m busy – I’m definitely not – but everything’s slow and lazy right now and I got up late. I usually do Friday’s posts on Thursday but this week, ah, I didn’t.

  33. @Paul Oh really? God damn bastards.. Thankfully Legendary plays more or less like old Ultimate. Unfortunately I am on console, my laptop would not handle FIFA 20 to play it nice and smooth with good graphics, so I have to play vanilla, but it’s fine. After being a console gamer for a year or so I don’t even want to come back to PC now :).

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