Sport on the Internet

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The Independent Online
THERE COMES a time in the season, say about a week before their team is due to play in whatever the League Cup is called these days, when fans feel more than the usual need to bone up on the opposition. One way is to hang out in pubs frequented by rival supporters, but for Spurs and Leicester fans anticipating Sunday's Worthington Cup final at Wembley, the Web is a safer place for spying.

Leicester City's official Website does everything that fans have come to expect from official sites. There is a chat room to give fans an opportunity to air their voices. There are authoritative news reports, more information about tickets and different membership schemes, video clips of the season's highlights, free live Web radio commentary on match days, merchandise and links to a building society so you can save up for your next season ticket.

It also advertises job vacancies at Filbert Street: last week they were looking for a retail sales assistant. Even if they lose on Sunday, Martin O'Neill's job will probably not be advertised online.

The Spurs official site does a similar job and looks good. No jobs, though. No chat area either, which makes it feel as though it is a channel for disseminating official information rather than a forum for discussion. The media watch section provides official club responses to articles in the press so that "supporters are not misled by uninformed speculation".

The club offers Internet accounts, with software in club colours, and live radio commentary for members only. Unusually for an official site, the e-mail discussion list is handled by the club. Having it on site makes it easy for lurkers to join and eavesdrop.

The main unofficial Spurs site largely mirrors the official one with good news coverage, but instead of merchandise it has online chat and humour sections for light relief.

Leicester's e-mail list has its own unofficial site, the inevitably titled Forfoxsake. It has the feel of a fanzine, albeit a high quality one.

Official sites shy away from inviting joke and cartoon submissions about the foibles of local rivals. Judging by the cartoon here about Derby fans, this is probably wise. There's a lot of hard facts and stats, as well as scurrilous humour.

Both camps seem optimistic about their chances of picking up the silverware on Sunday. To get the bookies perspective The Sporting Life Betting Shop is the place to see what odds are being offered. Access to the latest prices is gained by following the soccer and Worthington Cup links from the main page.

Those who want to forget the exits of their own clubs had better stay away from the Worthington Cup 1998-1999 page, where all the results so far are tabulated. This site will become a no-go area for either Leicester or Spurs fans in the near future.

Site Addresses

Leicester City Official Website

http://www.lcfc.co.uk/

Spurs Official Website

http://www.spurs.co.uk/

Tottenham Hotspur Unofficial Homepage

http://www.thuh.com/

Forfoxsake

http://www.forfoxsake.com/

Sporting Life Betting Shop

http://www.sporting-life.com/sub/80808011=2316/betting/

Worthington Cup 1998-1999

http://sunsite.tut.fi./rec/riku/soccer_data/cup.eng98.html

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