Football on the Internet

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The Independent Online

It is just as well that internet users are happy reading text. With official bodies seemingly unsure what to do with internet broadcasting rights, and the majority of dial-up accounts not being able to cope with demanding multimedia even if the rights issues are sorted out, it looks like the football season on the web is going to be largely text-based, again.

It is just as well that internet users are happy reading text. With official bodies seemingly unsure what to do with internet broadcasting rights, and the majority of dial-up accounts not being able to cope with demanding multimedia even if the rights issues are sorted out, it looks like the football season on the web is going to be largely text-based, again.

Web radio, net congestionallowing, is an exception with live commentary usually on offer via RealPlayer streaming fromofficial club sites. TEAMtalk offers a net-based sport radio broadcasting on Saturdays, with football occupying prime position in season. On Saturday it was scheduled to look ahead to the English league kick-offs as well as the day's opening action from Scotland, and coverage of India v Bangladesh from Filbert Street.

Even at TEAMtalk, it is the text that is the draw. Guest columnists provide overviews and opinion, but dedicated individual pages to English and Scottish league clubs are its staple. It provides news and gossip, often scooping the mainstream media with some exclusives among the inevitable idle gossip that never comes to fruition. According to hit monitoring sites, the site performs well. Anecdotal evidence supports this as well. Monitor any team's e-mail list and people will be mentioning TEAMtalk - even if only to complain that it's managed to misspell the name of their star striker for the umpteenth time this year. It is probably a must-read for most fans.

The Football Literature Website caters for reading of a different sort.

It starts from the premise that "football writing is not low culture" and collects reviews of football books to help direct potential readers towards the quality end of the publishing houses' output. You can browse a list of League clubs and follow the links to find books about them. The list is incomplete, however, with even some established clubs not having titles listed. Conceivably, it might be because the books that do exist for them are too bad to list, but the webmaster does ask for suggestions to be e-mailed to him. The latest title's section has not been updated since June's releases, but the books listed are all the sort that fans would be interested in. Links are provided to Amazon for the e-commerce side of things.

Professionally produced books are only a part of the typical fan's reading material. Fanzines are ever popular. UK Soccer Fanzine provides online browsing of avariety of samples, with the chance to subscribe to print versions. Premiership and First Division teams are listed, plus Scottish Premier, European teams and a miscellaneouscategory. But a club listing does not guarantee any fanzines behind the clickable icon.

Away from clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester United, there are a lot of empty pages asking for zine editors to get in touch and peddle their wares. Nottingham Forest, for instance has no fanzines listed, but seeing as the team suffers a double solecism in its listing as "Notts Forrest" that could be down to retaliation on the part of the zine editors who get annoyed enough when the Nottm abbreviation becomes Notts, without Forest being misspelled too.

andy.oldfield@virgin.net

Site Addresses

TEAMtalk http://www.teamtalk.com/

The Football Literature Website http://www2.cybercities.com/f/footballbooks/

UK Soccer Fanzine http://www.soccer-fanzine.co.uk/

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