International web of mysteries

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.

This is the site that got Lars Bohinen into trouble for criticising Jim Smith’s tactics and training last year. Lars’s recent musings appear not to have been translated (all the sites are, of course, in English as well as Norwegian) but at least he has posted up some cute photos of his children, not to mention the ultrasound picture of his latest addition, due in March.

Steffen Iversen’s comments on the withdrawal of his recent yellow card against Chelsea are fairly typical (“it just goes to show that there is some good in referees”) that is, genuinely written by himself and apparently unedited, but not exactly earth-shattering. Hard to imagine English players getting so organised though.

Or indeed their governing body. The official FA site has been under construction for what seems like years (probably because it is) and even the arrival of young Adam Crozier has yet to change that situation. However, for information on the national team, some England fans have got together to produce the unpromisingly named Come On, England! site. Like the team itself, its results are patchy to say the least, with lots of holes where the relevant information may or may not go in the future. Watch that space, if you’ve got the patience.

Definitely not short of content are two densely packed sites which cater particularly well for non-League fans. The English Football Pyramid site has a very pleasing diagram of the pyramid itself, with links to basic stats on all its significant leagues and some of its minnows (no disrespect to the Peterborough and District).

Aiming to provide text as well as statistics is the hugely ambitious Football News site, which promises, among other things, “micro-sites for over 4,000 professional and amateur clubs in the UK, Europe and world”. Sounds implausible, but while I can’t claim to have checked every club or league, I can confirm that the site has kept up admirably with the trail of tears that is the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division experience of Harpenden Town this season (For 30, Against 112 – and they’re not even bottom).

Billboards promoting the official site of the Confederation of African Football, CAF Online, can be seen at matches in the current African Nations Cup. Predictably, the site’s main problem is a fondness for its own bureaucratic workings (Issa Hayatou has been elected to another four-year term as president, you’ll be relieved to know). However, there is a passable section on the current tournament and, more surprisingly, details of the hotels where the teams, administrators and media were staying. Too late now, but you could have called the Novotel in Accra on 021-667846 if you had a message for any of the Togolese players. Next time.

From WSC 157 March 2000. What was happening this month