In June 2011 I announced, rather grandly, that I was going to write a book about my lifelong infatuation with PES.

I thought I’d be able to finish it by October 2011 and cynically ride the coattails of PES2012’s release. And I could have done that, but very quickly it struck me that I might as well take the time to make it as good as possible.

I went back to the planning stages a couple of times. Eventually, I got started properly. The finishing line is still several months away, but I’m happy to show some of the fruits of my labour so far.

As a teaser sample, here are the first nine chapters of the book, comprising some 9000 words.


(right-click and ‘Save As’ or equivalent)

All formats, zipped (PDF, MS Word, mobi, epub)


Microsoft Word .doc

mobi and epub

Things are very much in the ‘Alpha’ stage with the book. Images, and fonts, and pagination and so on will be smartened up once the darn thing is written. The current presentation—as seen in the image below (from iBooks, on the iPad)—is all very provisional and temporary. Don’t judge it by what it looks like right now, is what I mean to say. I know it’s a bit scruffy—particularly on the Kindle, where the images break up the text in a rather clumsy way.

The PDF format can be read by almost any application on every computer and device there is. Email it to yourself and use the ‘Open in’ feature of your favourite mobile OS.

The .doc format may be read in MS Word or any Word-compatible application on PC or Mac. And again, most mobile devices will open a .doc file, even if it only displays in plain text.

The mobi format is specific to the Amazon Kindle (left). Transfer the .mobi file to your device via USB, or send it to your Kindle’s unique email address to have it delivered automagically via Wi-fi/3G. Haven’t got a Kindle? (What’s wrong with you?!) No problem: there is a Kindle application for PC, Mac, iOS devices, and Android.

The epub format is for other ereader models (Sony, Nook, Kobo, etc.), and also the iPad/iPhone. I believe Android devices will also open epub files.

I have included a brief Afterword with the teaser chapters that covers some important points. For legal reasons the final book—which I’ll be shamelessly flogging, for real money, in the Kindle store at the very least—cannot have ‘Pro Evolution Soccer’ or PES in its title, unless I get the go-ahead from Konami. I haven’t approached them yet.

Thank you for your time and patience, and as I say in the Afterword, once I get to the ISS/PES years, things really take off.

I will update this page with a much more detailed book FAQ over the next couple of weeks.

I haven’t decided yet whether to publish the final work under my own real name or the ‘not-Greg’ nom de plume. As may be gleaned from the teaser, there are some rather personal details involved. Which are nothing compared to what comes later on. There are real people other than myself to think of. But as I say, this is all yet to be decided.

Other than that, it only remains to say that I’m not posting this teaser specifically to seek feedback from readers. I don’t want anyone to feel obliged to comment, or even to read it in the first place. This is not meant to be homework or anything. But I will welcome all comments, positive or negative. I already know that I have a tendency to go on a bit, so let’s take that one as read, eh 😉


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  1. Just downloaded to have a read, looking forward to it, but then again I’m willing to do anything to put off marking 31 student assignments on golf greens. Considering my late 30s life I would struggle to think of anything that has occupied more hours of my waking time than games, specifically footy games – from Spectrum onwards (more so the management ones then; Footy Manager and a cracker called Football Director.) My wife would doubtless consider me pathetic… I don’t know what you plan for the concluding chapters but I think your blog format is great, a sort of electronic ‘Miracle of castel di Sangro’ with an investment in seeing whether you make it over the course of the season or whether the restart frustration kicks in. I think a similar ‘is this his year’ ending would be a really good way. One thing that people often comment on that I really can’t remember is ‘let’s hope it’s as good as PES 5’ or ‘how bad was PES X..’ – PESs and Fifas have been such regular releases that I just can’t recall the details in the same way I can with Match Day, Striker and another belter called Player Manager which required a keen sense of geometery to squeeze goals in. Best of luck with it, it’s the hope that keeps you going.

  2. Uncle Turf—At the same time as talking about Match Day I considered covering my own Football Manager addiction on the Spectrum, but as you may see it takes me enough time as it is to get even close to the advent of ISS/PES. I might look back at the Speccy’s original FM in flashback, though. I don’t have to stick to a strict chronology and probably won’t.

  3. I read it on the train on the way home last night and really enjoyed it. I remember playing Football Champ in the arcades when on holiday at Pontins but my abiding memory of that game was the ability to knock over the fat ref and whilst he was on the floor being able to commit any number of atrocious fouls.

    My Dad bought me an Amiga for my 11th birthday so Kick Off and Player Manager were my football games of choice on the home computer before SWOS came along.

  4. Cook—I don’t remember that detail of knocking over the ref in the game in question. I really doubt it was Football Champ, unless there was an earlier version where West Germany was a playable team, and there was no knocking-the-ref-over feature.

    There’s no doubt that it was a game like Football Champ. We may ever know, as the tech of that era would had made all footy arcade games appear superficially similar to us now. Just as in 25 years’ time it may be hard to tell the difference between PES and FIFA games, with God knows what technological innovations making the past (our present) look quaint and ‘samey’.

  5. Enjoyed reading that when I should have been working.

    Was Match Day 2 any better ??? I cannot remember what was better about it ?

    I remember me and my mate played the entire 1986 World Cup on Match Day 2, every game.

    Scotland beat Russia 5 – 2 in the final. Why can I remember that ?

  6. Scozza—I don’t remember Match Day 2 at all, but I must have played it. Back then, even pre-Internet, it was possible to play every game, or near enough. I’m sure the same kind of playground culture of game-swapping and mass copying was rife at your school too.

    I wrote a whole short chapter where I talked about the 1986 World Cup. Despite being 14 I stayed up watching every match until 3 in the morning or whenever. I cut it out of the sample, and it won’t be in the final edit. I need to get to the ‘meat’ of ISS/PES as soon as possible. I’ll save it for an ‘extra features’ type of add-on.

  7. I just read it completely. Great start. I like the spirit. In soviet union my first computer was Zxspectrum48k and before that I had been hanging around some computer centers. My first football game I played was on a pc though. Brings back memories!

  8. Excellent excerpt, I can’t wait for the final version! It’s a really fascinating lens for a memoir. Keep pluggin’ away!*

    *Do they say that in the UK?

  9. Read the preview in its entirety in a casual 10 minutes, looks like it’s gonna be a great read. Long time reader of your blog, great stuff 🙂

  10. Not Greg I was 15 in 1986 and stayed up late to watch the matches, well attempted to anyway.

    My abiding memory was getting ready to watch the fantastic Denmark destroy the unremarkable Spain. I fell asleep and missed the whole game, I couldn’t believe it when I saw the score the next morning, 5 – 2 to Spain !! I’m sure “the vulture” got four ?

    Yes there was definately a Match Day 2, I’m sure I remember being amazed that the goalkeeper could tip the ball over the bar !!!

    Happy Days………..

  11. andy—cheers, and I remember Sir Clive Sinclair’s foray into the Soviet Union not going so well, so you must have had one of the very few machines they actually shipped. You’l be telling me you had a C5 next (I always wanted one of them).

  12. ck—cheers, a ton of work to do before final draft status. I’ll be changing a lot and moving a lot of stuff around.

    And the ‘plugging away’ phrase certainly is in current UK usage, yes…

  13. Tom—you read 15 words per second! Cheers for reading, and I will be making sure that the final book can be read in such a way that you can start at the period where I first encounter ISS on the PlayStation, and read the earlier bits optionally.

  14. Scozza—I remember the wonderful Denmark from that tournament as if it was yesterday. Michael Laudrup and those shirts with the shoulder flashes design, yes? 😉 Butch Wilkins being sent off, Barry Davies’ cry of LINEKER!!!, and so much more. I think we look back on that World Cup becuase it was one of the last good ones. I think 1990 (maybe ’98) was the very last good one and they’ve pretty much all been technical bores ever since. I’d want to watch the Denmark of 1986 over the Spain of 2010 any day or night of any week.

  15. Not Greg don’t get me started on the kits from World Cup 86, I am a self confessed kits bore, I have books about them. But yes the Denmark Hummel outfit was a beauty, I think Southampton had a similar kit a couple of years later.

    Talking of kits, Coventrys admiral kit of the late 70s home and away (brown !!) it doesn’t get much better does it ? Mind there “Talbot” kit of the early 80’s was a shocker.

    Slightly back on topic I was dismayed to find out that Match Day 2 didn’t come out until 1987 so I doubt I played every game of the 86 World Cup on it ?

    Right I’m off home now so have a good Christmas whatever you’re upto.
    I am

  16. I played a lot of arcade footy around the time you were (it was 10p a game in our college subsidised place!!) and am struggling to remember a cabinet where you chose teams based on certain attributes. Tecmo World Cup 90 (released 89 and featuring ‘Germany’) was a popular one, with particular ‘sweet spots’ for goalscoring, could it be that? but they replaced the cartridges really quickly and by 91 (or 92?) there was definitely another which let you knock over the ref and shouted random things like ‘fine play’ – that was a much more expansive game and really starting to resemble what we know today.

  17. Scozza—ahhh, the celebrated brown Coventry away strip of the 1970s. It’s probably the most notable thing the club has ever done. Only its fans remember the 1987 FA Cup. Everyone remembers that kit…

    You probably just played Match Day 1 in 1986. I don’t know hoe the sequel was different.

  18. Uncle Turf—thanks for the suggestion. The Wikipedia page for Tecmo World Cup 90 shows that it was West Germany among the selectable teams, and the other teams look about right… I’l be looking into it. Can’t get onto YouTube just now.

  19. Read it yesterday when the Xmas day boredom kicked in, great stuff so far. I wouldn’t worry about taking too long to get to ISS, I think most of your target audience have decent attention spans.

  20. Grilled Seabass—cheers, and of course the final product should be capable of being read in modular fashion, i.e. if anybody wants to go straight to the blessed day of First Contact with ISS and skip all the back-story, they’re free to do so. In many ways it’ll be a book of two parts: life before ISS/PES, and life after and with them.

  21. I remember the 1987 cup final, still probably the best I’ve seen in my lifetime. In the morning I went to watch the Housemartins, my second favourite band at the time (The Smiths were and still are my favourites) perform on some Saturday morning kids TV show in Newcastle then I watched the cup final in the afternoon. Who did you beat in the semis again ? Was it Leeds ?

    Anyway enough of the reminiscing as it’s got absolutely nothing to do with the book either…

  22. Scozza—a strong element of the first third of the book will be reminiscing about the times back then. Something I’m worried about actually, as I want it to be a PES-centric book first and foremost. I’ll be editing very carefully and trying not to let things get out of hand. I don’t want to get to the stage where it’s like bad stand-up comedy, e.g. “Who remembers Spangles?”

    The 1987 semi final opponents were indeed Leeds indeed, 3-2 the final score after extra time. I couldn’t go to the game and listened on the radio, sweating. It felt like Coventry’s destiny to win the cup that year.

  23. n-G a great start really enjoyed the taster! Would not worry about getting to PES too quickly if there is one thing us long term footie lovers like its a touch of nostalgia! Ah match day yip the cross and goal killed it but for me the footy game love affair began with Emlyn Hughes and Microprose with a taster of player manager o the memories.

  24. Gary—cheers, and I’m working on the ISS/PES bits right now. They’ll be readable on their own, the early autobiographical bits being totally optional.

    I feel that I missed out on Emlyn Hughes footy game. Everyone still talks about it, but as revealed in the teaser, when the game was released I’d got rid of my Speccy and bought a guitar… By the time I returned to gaming, Emlyn’s day was done.

  25. Great read so far, can really relate to it as I imagine a lot of your readers do. I’m currently experiencing the gradual loss of hair and I’m also one of eight kids of Irish decent.

    We were also fed the line that the computer was bad for the TV, without any proof of course.

    The first real football game I recall playing was Italia 90. I didn’t like football up until then. West Germany were on that. Was it an aerial view that you remember?

  26. Liam—I remember it being midway between an aerial view and the default side-on view we’re familiar with today. Italia 90 rings a bell, I’ll be following it up later.

    The best money I ever spent was £15 on a set of barbershop clippers from Argos in 2005 or so. Never spent a penny on my ‘hair’ ever since. That was after it’d gone past that certain threshold where strategic combing yielded to Bobby Charlton territory, and I just thought ‘to hell with this’.

  27. Resisting temptation to download, looking forward to reading the completed tome!
    It would be a welcome first purchase on my Fire, if Amazon ever get round to releasing it.

  28. Decc66—thanks, and e-ink rules! By which I mean, I’ve read books on an illuminated screen (iPad) and on a regular ebook reader (Kindle), and the latter is a much better reading experience. I had a headache for two days after reading a novel on the iPad. The Kindle is just like reading an actual book. I’m interested in the Fire too, because I love gadgets, but I don’t think it’ll offer a better reading experience than the iPad. Just my own thoughts. A woman I work with does all her reading on her phone and loves it.

  29. Agreed, I certainly wont be ditching my Kindle when I eventually get my hands on the Fire, I just love the idea of reading comic books on the kindle.

  30. Decc66—comic books on the iPad are pretty sensational. It more or less got me back into reading them after a gap of 25 years. Like I said, I love gadgets and am still interested in the Fire.

  31. Wow. I can’t believe I missed this. I had no idea you had released a preview of the first few chapters. I have just downloaded and read it, amazing stuff. Really can’t wait for the final product. Don’t worry about the early non pes stuff, it’s necessary and build nicely to the meat of the book. Your pes 4 preface was genius. I remember that day like it was yesterday, more so because pes 4 for me was the game that, for me, pushed pes to god like status in football gaming. Anyway just great stuff, don’t keep us waiting too long now.

    As for the blog content during the few days break to plan to take from pes 2012 how about some early pes 2013 thoughts? One or two minor cautionary glances aside, I really like the ideas and implementations they plan for this year. All good in theory of course, let’s see how it plays out

  32. Danny—thanks for your kind mini-review of the sampler. Work is about to resume as soon as I’ve got several things out of the way this summer. I aim for a September/October completion. The final product will be a lot more concise and punchy, with shorter chapters and more reader-friendly whitespace, but content-wise it’ll be pretty much what you’ve seen there.

  33. not-Greg,

    How’s the book going? Not heard much about it for a while…

  34. Darshan—the book’s gone through a few rewrites and rethinks, including a radical change of concept. I was all set to publish a sample chapter just before Christmas. Personal events put everything on hold and, really, things are still a bit squeezed for time. It should be later this year.

  35. Hi not-Greg.

    I grew up in Cov in the eighties and have a thought that the arcade game you’re referring to could have been Kick and Run?

    Apologies for posting on an ancient thread but it just came to me whilst reading your book.

    Thanks for inspiring me to take up Master League again.


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