Webwatch

Ian Plenderleith looks at players  who reveal a small insight into their lives on the web

I’ve always had a bit of a thing about Bixente Lizarazu, and not just because of his qualities as an attacking full-back. There’s something boyish and innocent about his face, as if he would never, ever stamp on an opponent or sign for a new club because they were offering him an extra ten grand a week. Even when he moved to the hated Bayern Munich, I couldn’t help but want him to do well.

Ian Plenderleith looks at a site celebrating fooball's strange expressions, and has a trawl around Scotland

Kudos is due to the website Danger Here for its documenting of great moments in football language, including nonsensical and little-known quotes from the back catalogues of Kevin Keegan, Glenn Hoddle and the Irish commentator George Hamilton, who merits his own section. His garbled metaphor comparing the Real Madrid defence to a rabbit is too long to reproduce here, but well worth logging on for alone, although my own favourite was: “The midfield are like a chef... trying to prise open a stubborn oyster to get at the fleshy meat inside.”

Ian Plenderleith takes a look at the latest football wesbites 

Now that the phrase “for the fans by the fans” has become a cliche mostly peddled by money-backed websites looking to cash in by feigning crush-barrier credibility, it’s pleasing to note that From The Terrace, one of the few sites that genuinely fits the much-abused phrase, has recently revamped, expanded and improved.

Ian Plenderleith look at some non-League websites

One of the most user-friendly and comprehensive football sites is Non-League Football: Conference & Pyramid Leagues Soccer, which provides an overview of all the latest news, results and tables down to the Unibond, Ryman and Dr Martens leagues, with easy intra-site links from competitions to teams to players. 

Ian Plenderleith takes a look at the diverse range of football websites

Welcome in to my exciting life, declares Crystal Palace’s Finn Aki Riihilahti at the start of his official homepage. As player websites go it’s a treat, and you can follow the ups and downs of Aki’s existential mood swings that correspond to his fluctuations in form.

Ian Plenderleith shows us websites from the top of the football hierachy, to the bottom.

There is no end of general football sites saturated from the top down with Premier this and that, but one website with the courage to eschew the tedium of big boy coverage is League Matters, which describes itself as the independent and dedicated guide to league football. And by that it means the Football League.

Ian Plenderleith takes a look at football on the internet

At the website Poems for Football Fans there is a versified view of football where the scribes range in age and talent, but share a common muse. Founded on the work of the Stroud Football Poets, a collective of Gloucestershire round-ball rhymesters, the site welcomes new talent and showcases a sprinkling of fine work such as the above, by Marcus Moore.

Ian Plenderleith looks at a few fan sites

There are a handful of good reasons for visiting another club’s independent website, such as checking for neanderthal-free pubs, or the hosts’ opinion of the 34-year-old, injury-prone defender who is about to sign a two-year contract with your own already struggling team. The other main factor likely to send non-partisan visitors to alien cyber-territory is humour. Not witless abuse of the team from the next town along, but something with the spark to earmark a webzine from the endless screenfuls of hackneyed bile hashed up in the name of rivalry.

The organisers are getting ready but who will qualify? Ian Plenderleith shows the best places to find out

If you’ve been lying awake at nights wondering what the mascot for the next World Cup is going to look like, you might imagine that nothing could be worse than the feckless man-cum-chicken that adorned memorabilia at France 98. Yet if you happen to be passing through the website of the Thailand national team you will discover that the collective marketing genius of FIFA and the Japanese and Korean organising committees has come up with not one but three half-witted creations that will be acting as symbols for the 2002 tournament.

Ian Plenderleith enters the egocentric world of footballers' websites to discover new blends of philosophy, art criticism and Frank Leboeuf's love of frocks

The world is not a big enough place to accommodate the egos of most professional footballers, so it is not surprising that many of them have embraced the internet as a new forum to promote themselves and their brilliant achievements. It would be wrong to avoid such sites simply on the grounds that pros have little to tell us beyond how misunderstood they are, because in many cases their homepages are not just a vehicle for self-promotion, but unintentional platforms for ­protracted self-prattery.

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