Carry On Negotiating

Pre-season for Season 4 is a big one. Not least because I made a discovery that happens to me a lot in all football games — without realising it, I have stealthily qualified for the Europa League after all!

I only finished 7th in the table last season, outside the standard qualification spots, but clearly one or more teams above me won the right things to make this possible, and so here I am. I’ll take it.

Very pleased, albeit I’m starting in the qualifying round rather than the competition proper. The Europa League (and its equivalents, e.g. the ‘WEFA Cup’ et al) was always a bit of a bogey competition for me in ‘the other football game’. I’d love the chance — this early chance — to test myself on the FIFA version. As ever in football games I suspect the window of opportunity for me to win the Europa will be rather small. (Famous last words. Cut to me moaning in two months’ time about yet another season of scrapping in the Europa.)

I discovered my surprise Europa fate just as August began. But before August came July, and the European International Cup. I have played in the EIC tournament pre-season every season, and got to the final once (lost it badly). This time my group opponents included the likes of Lecce and Bristol City. I beat both and sailed through to the semis against a tough Parma team. Beat them and turned up for the final against, of all people, my group opponents, the mighty Bristol City. Who gave me a decent match. 1 minute of goals and post-match presentation here:

My very first FIFA trophy.

Around all of these matches I was desperately trying to improve my squad. As it stands I can give most non-elite teams a proper game on Professional level, but a single match played with this squad on World Class showed me that I need better players to compete at a higher level.

Amusingly, it turns out that I remain terrible at club/player transfer negotiations in FIFA Career Mode. I have a comical Carry On-style ability to offend and annoy every player and agent and manager who crosses my path. Mostly this is due to my continuing inability to shake off a slew of bad habits from ‘the other football game’ and its version of Career Mode. Principally, I have an attitude of ‘mañana’ – I’m perfectly happy to let precious time slip by.

And even when I get it to the sit-down stage, I regularly balls it up by offering too little money, even if I think that is more than enough.I offered this bozo 16 grand a week to be a Rotation player in my squad, and he would have got loads of games too, but no, not even a further negotiation, him and his agent got up in a huff and stormed out without any further interaction – upset about the money, not the Rotation aspect.

Of about 8 such negotiations that I have so far conducted in pre-season (which is nowhere near over yet; still 4 virtual weeks to run), I messed up 5 of them.

So far I have signed three new players. A long-term target that my Scouts first reported back on over 2 seasons ago – Zlatanovic, a very nice 24-year-old 74-rated striker with a touch of the Lineker goal-hanger about him. I could never get him before as he always seemed to be out on loan to other clubs when I made enquiries, but this time, he was available and easy to get. £9m to buy and only £12k wages. I’m being very stingy with my budget of £40m transfer and £60k wages.

I needed cover at LB and in my typical cack-handed fashion tried to make sure of getting at least one player in by going for two, then promptly FORGOT that they were both LBs (I thought one of them was an RM), and bought both of them. So I now have 3 LBs at the club.

It’s still only August the 4th and I am about to play that Europa qualifying match. I need to win that and then have a good rest-of-August transfer window. No way am I heading into this season with a fairly decent first-choice XI, but a bench and wider squad that would be mid-table in League 2 at best.

Lifting my first trophy has given me the taste for so much more. Without at least two great new players though, I won’t have the squad to rack the top 6.

Updated: 15th May 2020 — 11:57


  1. Had to laugh at the ‘ability to anger and annoy every player’ comment.
    3 LB’s isnt such a bad thing, unlike PES where a players rating would sharply decrease by playing him out of position, FIFA is much more forgiving.
    Check the players stats pages, it shows his rating in different positions, your LB’s will probably also be pretty decent in RB, LM, or RM.

    Aftre my run to the UCL final last season and 5th placed league finish I started season 6 with a £143mil transfder kitty, and managed to bring in Rodrygo, a LM from Real madrid, who’s showing superb early form.
    As a result, Adama Traoré, rated 84, has been relegated t the bench, I’ll sell him to you for mates rates.

    One word of advice when negotiating transfers, always check the player you are trying to buys market vallue, then add 10 mil and go from there.
    If a player’s market value says £25mil, the parent club will not let him go for any less than that, quite often, more, so i’d start at maybe 30 mil and see what they say. for a 25mil player, going in at 15/20 mil will always fail.

  2. “I think it’s fair to say I didn’t like not-Greg from the off, tall drink of water with a silver spoon up his ass”…. that is Morgan Freeman in full Shawshank in your office I assume?!

  3. Very familiar with the “you’re wasting my time, I’m off” transfer negotiation scene NG. Paul seems to have got it covered with that strategy. Got sacked by Torino in my FIFA 2019 career. Picked up a job with bottom-of-the-table Brescia. Ironically, they’re paying me more. Started with two draws and a win but 7 points behind the fourth-from-bottom team with 3 games to go. Heading for Serie B. Onwards and downwards! Interested to see if they keep me despite relegation.

  4. This was my third goal of my career – I’m quite pleased with the admittedly modest distance as it shows the potential. Keeper should have done better.

  5. Uncle Turf – that’s a good hit! About 24 yards. And I thought it was more of a Nelson Mandela.

    rhymes450 – I’ve tried delegating negotiations but they’re just as pissed off with me that way too. I am trying to keep my wages bill in proportion – there’s no way I’m renewing contracts for squad players for the kind of wages I’d expect to pay a star player. This is reality, not fiction! It’s leading me to a scenario where I’ll have to achieve success with a modest squad and one or two stars, but so be it. A club like Leeds would be in that scenario anyway.

    Paul – still a good portion of the window left and money to spend on transfers and wages, which is why I’ve been trying to keep the wages down for the journeymen players – I’m anticipating going for a star who’ll gobble up most of my remaining wages bill. The journeymen want silly money but I might just have to fork out if I want a decent squad capable of meeting a lot of fixture congestion this season. Let me favourably compare FIFA20 CM to Football Manager once more – this is the kind of thinking required and that used to be required in Master League but is no more, sadly, and hasn’t been for years.

    Your ‘add 10mil’ tip is noted, but I’m more and more intrigued at the prospect of taking on this league and Europe with a ‘Leicester 2016’ style squad.

    On a cheerful note I placed my first bet on a football match for 2 months today and won 20 quid. I bet a fiver that both teams in some Belorussian Premier League match that was 0-0 at half time would score the second half. They both did and a generous 4/1 odds won me the lolly. I’ll be watching the Bundesliga tomorrow like a starving man along with the rest of humanity. Still no decision from the English Prem I see. Maybe waiting to see how the Germans get on?

  6. I had to vent about this here. When all the Corona stuff is over (if it ever is), I never want to see a montage of people doing wacky things on webcams ever again. In fact, I never want to see anything of any description on any webcam ever again. Fuck them and their stupid kitchens. Thanks for listening.

  7. NG – what about virtual dogging?

  8. Or ever more curated bookcases as backdrops.

  9. There’s a twitter account that analyses ‘bookcase credibility’ in a few pithy words. I’m not one for twitter of course (hasty Disavowal Credibility), but this one is smack on the zeitgeist and does sum up why, when this is all all over, all existing webcams should be taped over and the manufacture of new ones must cease.

    And those companies sending emails that have anything like ‘we thought we’d reach out to let you know how we’re dealing with Coronavirus’ in them can go in the same landfill pit as the webcams.

  10. Webcams have proved essential for working from home, so I would tape over the people making “funny viral videos” instead. I agree with the emails thing though. In the past couple of days I’ve had three from the local council telling me the tip has reopened, but don’t go because there might be a queue. And don’t even get me started on holiday companies! Money grabbing, uncommunicative, law stretching bastards.

  11. The Teams advert makes me want to cause harm to everyone working at Microsoft.

    First long ranger of note after 4 seasons, please ignore the AI defender passing the ball to me and forgive the audio track I had to add because my PC doesn’t like to capture audio and video at the same time anymore.

  12. And Teams has been a bug ridden mess in my experience. I likewise despise the corporate “we are thinking of you and our colleagues safety” guff and attempts by folk like Branson to suggest he needs bailing out otherwise he’ll crash thousands of jobs. I reserve particular bile for Tik Tok.

    Chris99 – we were with jet2 and even though they broke the law with the time it took to be fair to them they rang me up and immediately refunded all the money we’d spent. The twatting insurance company aren’t though, despite it being a jet2 specific policy that I didn’t cancel! These things will be remembered, there will be a reckoning.

    Don’t know about anyone else but we got a form from the council on Friday ‘do we want mini turf to go to school’ yes or no. Obviously yes but obviously only when – was not an option. Right now I’m minded to say not because I can and our council is saying the numbers aren’t great up here.

  13. going to be interesting to see what happens with the schools, as the teachers and unions are staking out the kind of position where it seems unlikely the schools will ever go back. Everyone seems to think there’ll be a vaccine by September, but there won’t be one then and maybe there won’t ever be one. The reasons why teachers don’t want to restart school now will probably always be the case, for years or potentially forever, so it’s going to be interesting.

  14. Our tip is open but you have to book a slot on-line or by telephone. Then you are given a slot rather than choosing one and you can only take items from the same category.

  15. I’m going to back Teams, annoying advert aside. It did have to play catch up with Zoom at the beginning of all this, but its rapidly added functionality, and now only misses breakout rooms. Also has anyone heard of a single case of Teamsbombing?
    Like any work force, some teachers at the schools I have had dealings with are putting the effort in, but there are definitely others that are loving their holiday on 100% pay.

  16. NG – Talking of football documentaries the other day, have you see ‘Take Us Home’ which follows Leeds United season the season before last. In terms of drama it has everything as that was the year of ‘Spygate’ and the bizzare scenes following the goal against Aston Villa. Leeds also spectacularly blow it after being in such a strong position all season. Thier manager is a bit of a charachter as well but you don’t really see him on camera. I enjoyed it just as much as STID for different reasons.

  17. I think the problem is data overload. Mrs turf is involved with assessing kids with issues and so her team is keen to get them back in school where they are less at risk. However, the information they are receiving varies every hour, from different sources, using the same data to outline different suggestions. I’ve seen plenty of mention of why R calculations are wrong, how kids are both less likely and just the same at transmitting, why x matters but then it doesn’t, etc etc. Best argument I heard was when we see the House of Commons back packed to the rafters then we will know it’s safe.

    Finding FIFA a difficulty rollercoaster. Probably the quality of teams in the pre-season. I have a feeling I might get battered by the likes of Leeds on world class – it’s not hard to see why stoke struggled this season, complete lack of quality up front.

  18. I use teams daily, good quality of video calls, good functionality such as being able to write and deploy an SSRS report from sharepoint directly into teams channels, same with PowerBi reports, its pretty useful, never encountered any bugs.

    With NG on the shitty webcam adverts though, overkill, and those bastard Nationwide adverts….. GRRRR.

    Have a 5 grand holiday booked for Mid June with TUI coming up for cancelation so will see how they try and play us for refunds, I won’t be taking any crap though and am ready to enlist legal action if need be.
    One thing I’ve noticed about this lockdown period is that companies scruples, and customer service has hit an all time low, sod all this ‘be kind and look after eachother’ rubbish, companies are out to scam you any way they can.

    Started season 6 with 3 wins, a draw and a defeat, hovering around 5th place, and have my Europa league campaign starting next, away to Boa Vista of Portugal.
    Finding on World Class that I can convincingly beat lower league sides, with the odd upset, but top 6 sides require 100% focus and concentration and the right tactics, Liverpool, City, Man Utd, and Chelsea, sometimes Arsenal, always very tough matches.

    This could possibly be my last season at palace, I quite fancy taking on another challenge after taking palace to Premier League champions and Champions league finalists within 5 seasons, had a job offer from Juventus this pre-season but declined, a La Liga or Serie A stint could be a nice change of scenery.

  19. Darryl – I have the appetite for another footy documentary and will take a look at that Leeds one, particularly in light of my FIFA20 exploits, just as I’ve developed an affinity for Danish lower league football thanks to FM19, so the progress of Leeds is starting to interest me in reality.

    Uncle Turf – what fascinates me is that there will never not be some type of risk, so it’ll be interesting to see what factors prompt a true back to school movement. As with most things involving people, it’ll be ‘whatever most people are doing’ that decides what happens. I.e. ‘if enough other people are sending their kids, then I’ll send mine’. The parents I know have all decided it’ll be safe in September (not for any real reason, of course, it’s just what ‘feels’ right) and they might as well write off the rest of the year.

    I heard on the radio this morning a head teacher of a school that’s been open all through the crisis say that they do a temperature test on every pupil at the gates. The radio host didn’t ask the most obvious question: why? No, really, what is the actual purpose of pointing that handheld temperature gun thing at children’s foreheads outside schools? Very few children get the virus, and few of those develop the symptoms that include high temperature. The honest answer would have been: because it looks good to the parents and anybody else who might be watching, inlcuding any TV cameras that happen to be about. Pure pandemic theatre. We’ve all got a lot of that to deal with.

    Paul – I’ve flirted a little bit with World Class and love what I have played of it. My team and my skills are on a strange point between Pro and World Class. I’ll decide as the season progresses.

    SO many people in my office who’ve paid for hoilidays and not got their money back yet. It’s already pretty obvious that nobody’s going anywhere this year, really, so I don’t know why you haven’t all already got your cash back. It’s ruination for many a travel and hospitality business of course. The longer they can hang onto your cash before giving it back, the more interest they can earn on it sitting in their accounts.

  20. NG – we actually dont want a refund, we want the same holiday, booked for the same time, next year, at the same price.
    If they can guarantee that then happy to keep our cash in their business and wait a year, it’s only if they start being difficult that My Wie’s contract law degree will come into play.

    Taking the Liberty of sprucing up your Leeds kits, will mod them up and send over later, did you get my other email sent over the weekend ok ?

    Obviously feel free to use the new kits, or not.

    View post on

  21. Paul – they look fantastic and will find a good home! Cheers. Got the other mod as well and will be applying this afternoon

  22. NG – Good stuff!!

  23. Nice kits Paul. Good luck actually talking to someone at TUI. After two weeks of their phone lines going straight to a recorded message I cancelled our holiday and took a hit on the deposit. Can’t afford the risk of actually having to pay the full amount just for us to go on a miserable, semi lockdown, self distancing version of the holiday. Hope they go bust!

  24. if they go bust then Paul’s luxury holiday is definitely a write-off! We had some Dubrovnik Jet2 flights booked which I moved to later in the year, seemed much less hard work than trying to extract a refund. I guess travel agents and especially airlines do not have the money left to give everyone a refund

    not-Greg – I am certain that in both FIFA and PES once you progress to a certain point it is virtually impossible not to qualify for Europe every season. E.g. last season I finished a miserable 11th and didn’t win any trophies but still found Exeter sauntering into the Europa League group stages without even a qualifying round

    go on then Turf, what is so bad about Tik Tok in particular?

  25. Chris99 – TUI are meant to ring all customers at least 2 weeks before they depart to offer options, the current FCO advice is applicable until 11th June, we go on the 18th, so assuming it will be extended that theres to be no non essential travel, so expecting a call from TUI near the 11th.

    Abbeyhill – top 50 best and worst travel companies for sorting refunds was published today, TUI were 37th, and Jet2 were 2nd or 3rd, I forget.
    Only ever been on a package holiday with Jet2 once, year before last, and the customer service was exceptional.

    NG – Leeds New Kits in Mod format.

  26. Paul – cheers, they arrived after the last footage I captured for today’s post, but will be applying them later today. I applied the new Boradcast cam mod and followd your instructions – Default cam etc – but it didn’t work for some reason. I skipped the delete Mod Data step when installing so it was probably that. As it happened, entering FIFA20 without any camera mod, I took rather a fancy to the vanilla Default camera and played a whole session with it. I like having different camera views in footy games, reflective of actual TV condtions at different stadia.

    abbeyhill – I ended up in a qualifying round for the Europa that I have already played and will mention in today’s post, but it’s a welcome thing for me as I always feel this tier of European competition is a stage that disappears too fast in footy games.

  27. NG – The MOdData folder doesnt affect the GFXMod.
    have you put the GFXMOD Pitch preset #X at the very bottom of your mod manager list of applied mods?

  28. Paul – I’ll check it all later, it was a classic case last night of wanting to get a few matches in before other things, and I rushed into the game. Had a fantastic session though, a 10/10 one. World Class is magnificent.

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