Sport on the Internet

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The Independent Online
FOR COMPLETISTS Soccerbase.com - The Internet Soccer Database claims to be the most comprehensive and up-to-date source of British football data on the Net. It is difficult to argue with that. For starters it contains the results of every English and Scottish league and cup match ever played. It is not all ancient history, though. It also has statistics on every current player and referee in the English and Scottish major leagues.

Hours of fun, getting in touch with the anorak side of your nature, can be had by choosing players, referees, grounds, head-to-head, or other categories from the front page. The database is updated every fifteen minutes, so at five o'clock on Saturday evening it is usually one of the first places where full-time results and tables have been posted on the Net.

The down side is that it's easy to miss the links to the scores on your first visit - they're tucked away at the bottom of the page via a rather cumbersome pull-down date-base system. However, it works and you soon get used to it. From the results tables, you're only a click away from the teams, substitutes, scorers, and bookings for the match of your choice.

This season, it has a new rival: Sports.com, which boasts live results, updated statistics and news reports. On the whole, it handled the first weekend of the Premiership and Nationwide pretty well.

Getting match reports and statistics of Premiership or First Division games was a breeze. Comprehensive too. The matches were rated, as were the individuals in each team. Details of substitutions, cards, and match statistics such as goal attempts, shots on target, woodwork hit, fouls, offsides and corners on a single, easy-to-read screen. It is a shame that level of detail is not comprehensively applied through the lower divisions as well.

Some of the links to team pages were less impressive - First Division teams relegated from last season still had live links to the Premiership table, which, a couple of hours after full-time, still had a 0 in every numerical field.

Team pages are of a high quality, with player details, a news feed and some anecdotes. We learn, for instance, that in the 1930s Celtic had an Arab player, Abdul Salim, who played with bandages around his feet instead of boots.

Archives of another kind, football-related sound bites in .wav format, are at It's Up For Grabs Now. Graham Taylor features heavily from his days as England manager. Often in a state of some frustration. Or resignation - as when he famously tells the linesman to thank the referee for getting him the sack.

There are match commentaries of some classic goals and blunders which should bring back memories. There's also an anonymous radio man who presents his listeners with less than the full picture when he says: "Finally, last night's local football results: 2-2, 3-1, 1-1, 2-2 and 4-1". His listeners would have been better off logging on to Sports.com and Soccerbase.com.

Site Addresses

Soccerbase.com - The Internet Soccer Database

http://www.soccerbase.com/

Sports.com

http://football.sports.com/

It's Up For Grabs Now

http://www.geocities.com/

SouthBeach/Pointe/2515/sounds.html

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