Football on the Internet

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The Independent Online

As the football season looms, the volume of traffic on football mailing lists is increasing, with tales of future woe or potential glory fuelled by pre-season friendlies. Subscribing to a mailing list for the club you support (links can be found using the E-soccer site index to track down official and fan sites) is a good way of keeping up with developments in the run-up to the season, but unlikely to give a good picture of what's been happening at other clubs.

As the football season looms, the volume of traffic on football mailing lists is increasing, with tales of future woe or potential glory fuelled by pre-season friendlies. Subscribing to a mailing list for the club you support (links can be found using the E-soccer site index to track down official and fan sites) is a good way of keeping up with developments in the run-up to the season, but unlikely to give a good picture of what's been happening at other clubs.

Keeping up to date with transfers in the Premiership is easy enough. Virgin Net have a special page set up that monitors all close-season signings and sales on a club-by-club basis and gives pre-season assessments of sides' chances in the coming season and details of players to watch out for. Title odds, from online bookies Blue Square are also quoted.

Football Transfers has a much broader scope. All the Premiership and Nationwide movements are tracked here, on a daily basis, but there is also a section on world transfers, transfers currently being negotiated and speculation on the likelihood of their proceeding. The site also has good sections on squads, managerial moves, contracts and wages.

Another subject of speculation on the mailing lists is about venues for away games. Soccer-maps, provided by Jodenoy Books online football bookshop, gives maps based on Ordnance Survey data of English and most Scottish League grounds. These can be zoomed in and out of, showing details from the location of the city or town in relation to neighbouring towns and cities, down to a street-level plan covering an area of around 500 square metres. With some clubs, links are provided for details of accommodation and nearby pubs. Its straightforward layout, which does not rely on fancy graphics or scripting, makes it fast and easy to use.

Sometimes more than location details are required, in which case The Football Fans Guide is worth looking at. Navigation is based on pull-down menus, initially organised by Leagues. Club pages have detailed travelling information in the form of text directions covering approaches by car, train and bus. Useful guides to pubs in the vicinity are provided with notes about landlords' attitudes to away fans, where appropriate. Where no pubs exist on the database an e-mail link is provided for users to submit likely details. Ticket prices in different parts of the grounds are also given. Last week, the site had not been updated to take account of last season's promotions and relegations, something that should probably be rectified soon.

The Internet Football Ground Guide, which has teams in the correct leagues for the new season, combines original photography with pub recommendations, stadium information, directions, and other information. Non-League grounds also get a look in at this site, and the detail provided, even for grounds in the lower divisions, is comprehensive and probably more up to date than that provided by the other sites.

andy.oldfield@virgin.net

Site Addresses

E-soccer http://www.e-soccer.com/default.asp

Virgin Net Sport Guides http://www.virgin.net/sport/football/ index.html

Football Transfers http://www.footballtransfers.co.uk/

Soccermaps http://www.jodenoy.clara.net/soccer/ maps.htm

The Football Fans Good Pub Guide http://www.footballfansguide.com/

The Internet Football Ground Guide http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/park/yfh45/ground.shtml

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