For nearly 20 years, Fifa has been a constant presence in my life. But it’s time to blow the whistle on this long-term relationship

It is always tragic when a love turns sour, especially one that has lasted longer than any other adult relationship. But in 1993, I lost my heart in an office in Slough. Electronic Arts invited a motley crew from GamesMaster, the TV show that I was presenting at the time, down to see what they claimed would be the future of gaming. A badly-lit office and a grey plastic table strewn with spaghetti’d cables did not promise much. But then a switch was flicked and the earth moved for me. Years before Tim found Dawn, I found Fifa International Soccer on the Mega Drive.

I’d had football game relationships before. Match Day was my first love when I was 12, and I shared my time between it and its cerebral sibling Football Manager. Kick Off was the one that got away, because I couldn’t perform when it mattered. I was considering settling down with Sensible Soccer, but then along came Fifa in all its 3D isometric finery, promising four players the ride of their lives. I felt I had torn through the fabric of time to spy on the future.

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