FIFA 99 Premiership squad lists and ratings
I searched for these on the internet and couldn’t find them, so thought it would be interesting to stick them up myself.
It’s clear to see just by glancing at the squads that football video game research has come a long way – there are various inaccuracies and there’s a general feel that certain squads are a season out of date. I’m not going to list every single one as there are too many. It’s just a brief overview. As it is I’ve had to type all of these figures out from the game as the only PC I have it on doesn’t have the internet.
Just to explain, FIFA 99’s ratings were based on eleven parameters: speed, shot power, shot accuracy, acceleration, tackling, header accuracy, ball control, agility, fitness, creativity and aggression. According to the in-game editor, the first ten of these added up to a limited total – aggression was controlled separately and didn’t count towards the overall total, but I’ve included it in the lists for completeness. They are all ranked out of 16. As a result, I’ve created a points average based on the main ten to work out who the best players are.
In the game, when on team management mode, you could only see the player’s number, name, position and the first four ratings. When I first played this game as a kid, I generally picked teams based on the first two – not exactly the worst way to pick a team considering at the time FIFA was mostly about running around and shooting. However, judging by the overall ratings, it seems that some of this may have been a bit misguided. Either way, that’s what you see. The first eleven players before the line are the default starters, while the next five are the default substitutes.
The other notable thing is that unlike future editions, it subtly avoids the issue of not having rights for certain players. Until recently, the only example I was aware of was Ronaldo – as he was the most famous player in the world at the time, it was a bit curious that he was absent and that some guy called “G. Silva” was listed in his place at Inter and Brazil. But looking through, there are other notable absentees and a couple of inclusions that don’t show up on the records even in the Premiership.
– Arsenal were just coming off the back of a Double under Arsene Wenger so it’s no surprise to see that they have one of the strongest squads in the league. Surprisingly, though, it’s not rated as the strongest
– Marc Overmars pips cover star Dennis Bergkamp to be the best player in the team
– Chris Kiwomya (usually a striker, incidentally) had left Arsenal in August 1998
– This proves that Fabio Capello wasn’t the first person to overrate Matthew Upson.
– Christopher Wreh’s ratings seem a bit high in hindsight, but then he was quite highly-rated at this point, before his career went from strength to strength with big money moves to Bournemouth, St Mirren, Bishop’s Stortford and Buckingham Town. German midfield Alberto Mendez’s career took a similar trajectory.
– Aston Villa actually made a surprising title challenge during the first half of the season under John Gregory before collapsing in spectacular fashion in the second half of the season. This had been with the assistance of Dion Dublin, who remains at Coventry in the game, but even so, I think some of these players are underrated.
– Adam Rachel is a goalkeeper. Not sure how they got that one wrong. Also “G. Byfield” is almost certainly Darren Byfield. Not sure if “Ferrerasi” is a typo by me or the game.
– I have no idea who “D. West” is supposed to be as I can’t find any Villa players with this name, but one forward who did make a few substitute appearances at this time was Darius Vassell. Possible alias? Other alternatives include Richard Walker and Alan Lee, who were also hanging around the senior squad at this time.
– Apparently Scott Murray left Villa in December 1997. He wasn’t really a defender either – he was a winger.
– Despite various mistakes with positions in this game, it’s worth remembering that Gareth Barry was actually a defender at this point, albeit more of a left-back.
– Back when Roy Hodgson was just another average English manager, he got sacked as Blackburn manager after a poor start to the season. Brian Kidd did no better and they were relegated, just four years after winning the title.
– A notable absentee here is Swedish striker Martin Dahlin, who did play five games during the season before picking up the injury that would eventually end his career. No Nathan Blake either, who joined four days after Oumar Konde in October 1998. And I don’t even know who Oumar Konde is.
– Alan Curbishley guided Charlton into the top flight via the most legendary of play-off finals in 1998 and they started the Premiership season well, before the inevitable slide to relegation.
– First thing to note is that Charlton’s home kit in this game is white with black shorts…nope, I have no idea either.
– The squad’s accurate, though, except the misspelling of Neil Redfearn’s surname (a geniune game mistake).
– This is the worst squad in the league.
– Gianluca Vialli’s Chelsea have the highest-rated squad in the league, but it is worth noting that this includes Pierluigi Casiraghi, who suffered a career-ending knee injury early in the season, and Brian Laudrup, who left the club after making only seven appearances.
– Since when does Graeme Le Saux play on the right?
– Equally, Flo and Zola as wingers surely can’t be correct.
– This was Gianluca Vialli’s last season as a player. He seems quite highly-rated for a 34-year-old who was concentrating on management, but I guess he was good originally. Michael Duberry, though…
– Coventry were perennially on the brink under Gordon Strachan and it’s not hard to see with this bunch. But having said that, it does seem slightly out of date – Brian Borrows left Coventry for Swindon in September 1997. It’s more like the 97-98 squad.
– I’m surprised how bad Huckerby is. Mainly because he is a legend
– Derby, under the always-ancient Jim Smith, weren’t that bad at this point and the squad is actually rated as the seventh-best on average. But again, it does feel slightly out of date.
– Notable absentees are midfielders Darryl Powell and Rory Delap (who back then was just plain old Rory Delap, rather than the long throw machine he became).
– Everton were under Walter Smith at this point, and the glory days seemed a long time ago. They had actually spent some money this year, though (Dacourt, Collins, Bakayoko and, yes, Marco Materazzi).
– Note the erroneous ‘n’ in what is supposed to be Hutchison.
– Full-backs Michael Ball and Craig Short are notable by their absence despite playing plenty of games.
– This was the season where George Graham left Leeds for Tottenham. He was replaced by David O’Leary. I think we can see who benefited from this.
– Again, it’s more of a 97-98 squad, particularly looking at the reserves. Nuno Santos, Bruno Ribeiro, Richard Jobson, Jason Blunt, Derek Lilley – a stellar supporting cast.
– Also Wijnhard nearly being rated as high as Hasselbaink? What the fuck?
– Martin O’Neill did what only he could do at this point and kept Leicester respectable, even taking them to a League Cup Final, which they lost to Tottenham.
– Why is Spencer Prior missing? And why is Colin Hill still there after leaving Leicester in May 1997? I’m guessing the two are linked…
– I once simulated a season using the Generate Matches tool and Robbie Savage ended it as the league’s top scorer. Kinda sums this game up really.
– Christ this is a really average bunch of players. Heskey looks excellent in comparison. But only one man here has captained his side to European Championship glory.
– This was the year of the Roy Evans/Gerard Houllier job-share. That went well.
– I used to start Sean Dundee ahead of Robbie Fowler. Just look at that pace.
– Michael Owen is the highest-rated player in the Premiership. He was still only 18 when this game was released.
– Treble Season United has a familiar look given how much we’ve been exposed to it over the years.
– In addition to Dundee, I also used to pick Jordi Cruyff. I scored from the halfway line with him too. Not sure why he’s rated higher than Sheringham, though. Henning Berg is surprisingly crap, only just better than David May, and Nicky Butt is rated higher than Roy Keane and Paul Scholes. I’m pretty sure that if this game was remade today, none of these would survive. At least they got Roy Keane’s aggression right, though.
– Bryan Robson kept Boro up without Juninho this time. In fact, he didn’t need Marco Branca either, after the Italian striker busted his knee and ended up leaving, causing a long-running legal dispute between him and the club.
– There are probably going to be people reading this who have little/no conception of what a game would be like if Gazza was included. Well, here’s your answer – he’s alright, but he’s no David Batty.
– Ruud Gullit took this team to the FA Cup Final, although by then they had added Didier Domi, Duncan Ferguson and Silvio Maric to the squad, which obviously made all the difference.
– Stephane Guivarc’h. It speaks for itself.
– Warren Barton. It speaks for itself.
– This Forest team won just seven games all season, but did have Dave Bassett and then Ron Atkinson as manager, so their demise was at least entertaining.
– The big problem for me here is this “R. Irvine” guy. I’ve no idea who it is – searching brings up a forward called Robert Irving, who left in the summer of 1997 after making one appearance in 1995. But it is worth noting that Andy Johnson and Chris Bart-Williams, both regulars in midfield, are both missing here.
– The worst default starting XI in the league, which was proven to be correct.
– Danny Wilson’s Wednesday side features plenty of domestic players, none of whom were any good, so it’s not particularly surprising that they got relegated in 1999-2000.
– No Niclas Alexandersson, who made 33 league appearances and was definitely there the season before too.
– Well, what were you expecting? It’s Southampton under Dave Jones in the 1990s. Obviously they’re going to be shit.
– Richard Dryden ties with Adam Reed of Blackburn as the lowest-rated player in the league, while Paul Jones ties with Forest’s Nigel Quashie as the lowest-rated player in a default starting XI.
– Carlton Palmer.
– This is a squad largely built by Christian Gross, but it is actually surprisingly decent.
– Noted striker Darren Anderton there. Even more absurd than having Ginola as a central midfielder.
– No, I don’t know who Michael Ferrante is either, but he did exist. Frank Lampard made 33 starts in 98-99, though, and yet is curiously absent.
– Marc Keller was a France international. I don’t know if he was as crap as the ratings make out, but I doubt it.
– Ian Wright is rated as their best player but bombed there. Another example of Harry Redknapp’s astuteness in the transfer market…
– Stale Solbakken left Wimbledon in March 1998 after falling out with Joe Kinnear, and yet somehow this isn’t the most bizarre error in this game.
– Look at how terrible some of those reserves are, and then look at Carl Leaburn’s rating. Four goals in 58 appearances for Wimbledon. As a striker.
– Stewart Castledine played in 28 league games for Wimbledon. This would sound reasonable if it wasn’t spread over nine seasons.
So there we have it. I’m surprised anyone over the age of 10 took this game seriously, but I suppose that just shows how far these games have come since. With current FIFAs, people may quibble over the odd rating here or there, but at least Premier League goalkeepers aren’t being listed as defenders any more, at least squads are actually up to date, and at least notable players aren’t strangely missing.
I was just seven years old when I got this for Christmas in 1998 so I didn’t care. Was a fuss kicked up about the errors at the time? If anyone has any more info, it would be really interesting to hear.