THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Jamie Rainbow enjoys the buffet at Kilmarnock, a lacklustre service at Watford and delves into the unofficial sites of Huddersfield and Blackpool

Those who witnessed the eventful scenes in the final Old Firm league game of the season will have been surprised to discover that Scotland were the recipients of this year’s UEFA Fair Play trophy. Chief beneficiaries of the award were Kilmarnock, who automatically claimed a UEFA Cup spot. According to the official Kilmarnock site, Scotland pipped England; the eventual margin between the two countries being a mere 0.001 of a point or, in lay terms, a Dennis Wise booking. There is much to admire about this site, not because it’s visually impressive (it’s not) nor because the content is especially interesting (it isn’t), but because it is such a friendly, intimate affair, that one instantly feels part of the extended Kilmarnock family. For example, celebrating the anniversary of one of the club’s sponsors, commercial director Jim McSherry notes: “The buffet was the worst spread ever. Two or three bowls of nuts, then Dorothy sent husband Russell up to Hannahs to buy another bag of crisps. The Killie four were fair looking forward to hot sausage rolls.” The site also contains the usual vast array of largely pointless statistics but, despite this, a fleeting glimpse of one of Dorothy’s buffets makes a visit worthwhile.

Twenty-four hours after Watford secured promotion the hangovers were still evident on the club’s official site. There was no mention of the game, though judging by the painfully slow service available, perhaps it just took that long for the page to appear.

Other sections were equally laborious and the sense of disappointment was exacerbated when a picture of Graham Taylor and his team eventually appeared, only to be accompanied by a recommendation that readers contact clubcall for further information.

A minor disappointment, but at least Watford fans will be reassured  that the club is not wasting its new-found Premiership wealth on the official website.

Judging by some of the comments on an unofficial Huddersfield site, Steve Bruce may have difficulty proving he is a worthy successor to Peter Jackson. On hearing of Jackson’s dismissal, one irate fan remarks: “I hope that we do not get Steve Bruce for manager.”

An unexpected talent for poetry is evident in some of the contributions. For instance, there’s an ode to Barry Horne, which concludes: “Oh Barry Horne/We thought you’d nearly gorn/When your ligaments were torn.” There are also a few digs at local rivals Bradford (or Sadford, as they’re known here) and, of course, Leeds, whom it seems oblig­atory for all supporters to hate.

According to Seasiders.net, an unofficial Blackpool site, Huddersfield are cited as an inspiration. It was after a visit to the McAlpine stadium that the possibility of the club building a new ground was first mooted.

Now, a couple of years down the line, the club are no nearer relocation, but at least they have produced some snazzy graphics showing what the new ground might look like, along with all the usual guff about a state of the art super stadium hosting music festivals (how many festivals can a small island host?). Still, such speculation cannot be blamed on the site, which is actually rather good. From a design point of view, it looks great, somehow managing to achieve the impossible by making the colour tangerine appear stylish.

Among the innocuous sounding “Other Bits” you will find a section entitled “Readers’ wives”. Which, contrary to what you might have expected, is a list of excuses with which to fool one’s partner when you would rather watch Blackpool than go shopping. Though surprisingly, temporary insanity isn’t one of them.

From WSC 149 July 1999. What was happening this month

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