Ian Plenderleith  takes a look at Rivals.net, a new site that brings unofficial online fanzines to one site, and Impnet, the Lincoln City fanzine that has signed up to the Rivals venture

Rivals.net is a new umbrella website for unofficial online fanzines. It is a joint venture between US-based online sports network Rivals.com and media giant Chrysalis Group plc which says it is providing “a powerful online soapbox that sees the future of sports media publishing placed in the hands of the fans”.

Ian Plenderleith discovers the nuanced world of sub-genre webzines

Good writing, keen comment and a reasonable smattering of wit constitute the US-based website Roundnotoval, which claims to be the “greatest unread football fanzine on the planet”. Its editors produce a new issue of news and opinions on the game worldwide every week, with a special focus on the US. This regular renewal of content gives the site the kind of fresh feel that is often lacking in the maelstrom of neglected websites that have fallen foul of misplaced enthusiasm in the great Cyber-Beyond.

Ian Plenderleith discovers a brave new world of websites

If you only buy World Soccer to pore over results and league tables from impossibly distant lands, but despair that the scores are usually two months old, then help is at hand. The website of the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation is a football statistician’s wet dream of both archived and bang up to date results and standings from anywhere in the world where a football is kicked in earnest.

Ian Plenderleith investigates the best and worst websites offering 'sidesways glances' to the game

If you think Private Eye’s satire on the travails of Neasden FC and its two top fans Sid and Doris Bonkers ran out of steam around 20 years ago, then try the new, strictly non-profit, online fanzine All The Pies. It’s punchy, semi-anarchic, and has the potential, you feel, to get funnier.

All football columnists are self-important; but some are more self-important than others. Ian Plenderleith investigates

Big names, big opinions. Emerg­ing as a person of public repute causes media top cats to assume you have something of importance to say. This is particularly true in football, where the juxtaposition of crass thought and a famous face has in recent years spawned more drivel-strewn ­column inches than the collected journalistic offerings of Frank Leboeuf laid end to end. Inevitably, this cankerous trend has spread to the internet.

Ian Plenderleith investigates the intrepid campaigns of political football fans

I once played in a radical football league in Germany called Outside Left, whose lack of pitch markings reflected its off-field philosophy – “We don’t have boundaries, but we do have goals.” The same slogan drives the Anarchist Soccer Leagues of the US east coast, and if you want to know how to found one, check the webpage of the Washington, DC Anarchist Soccer League. Their other favourite phrase is (reinterpreting anarchist Emma Goldman): “If I can’t play soccer, I don’t want any part of your revolution.” Enjoy the rare sight of goalposts topped by black flags.

As relegation looms and despair mounts across the land, Ian Plenderleith went online to see how fans of endangered clubs are coping

The season is reaching its zenith, but for some teams it’s more or less over. How are the fans of table-proppers across the leagues coping with despair and defeat with two months of the season still to go?

Ian Plenderleith discovers a global online community of football fans

If you’ve got a Norwegian footballer at your club (and let’s face it, who hasn’t?), you may need to check what they are saying on the Sportsprofiler site, which houses home pages for nearly 40 of the country’s top players.

The internet is not just for the younger generation. Football managers are learning to embrace it, as Jamie Rainbow found out

The League Managers Association have created a useful website for their members. One outstanding ­feature is a service for unemployed coaches, enabling them to display their CVs (or in the case of Ian Atkins, their ­autobiography) to any potential employers. Atkins’s playing and managerial career are reproduced in painstaking detail – although one wonders whether his time spent playing for Shrewsbury in the late 1970s will have much bearing on his ability to manage a football club successfully today. Nor are his credentials much enhanced by telling us that: “Holding off the challenge of some of the game’s best known faces, I secured the job of manager at Doncaster Rovers.”

Jamie Rainbow tells us about Teletext on the internet, the two main teams in the East Midlands and advice you need to invest in football

Combine the immediacy of Teletext with the scope of the internet and you’ve got the perfect medium for keeping abreast of all the latest football news. Or so you might think. The reality is something of a letdown. Although the Teletext site provides links to ­specially written club columns and is available for longer than the televised version, that’s about all it has to offer. 

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