John Collins’s Brazilian fanclub

Jamie Rainbow  sees all things John Collins related and more as he reports on the latest football developments on the web

There's a site devoted to the career of John Collins. Nothing remarkable in that you might think, until you discover that the site is run by a Brazilian – suggesting that Walter Smith was not the only person to be seduced by a penalty converted in the World Cup finals. Although for future reference Walter, perhaps it would be more prudent just to set up a website. There’s plenty of worthwhile input here, much of it from Collins himself. For instance, he relates the story of the Rainier family attempting to persuade him to stay with Monaco. Firstly, Prince Rainier’s nephew spoke to him, enabling Collins to smugly admit: “Prince Albert also asked me not to leave. I didn't like letting either of them down.” Well, you don’t, do you. He also admits he’ll miss evenings like the private reception held in honour of Monaco’s title win in 1997. Fear not John, I understand Everton’s annual ‘beat the drop’ parties are rumoured to be fun.

Not as much fun as the official Torquay website though, which breaks most of the rules of official club sites, by actually being amusing. Here you’ll discover the muddled thoughts of chairman Mike Bateson and manager Wes Saunders. Unveiling his masterplan for the club, Saunders claims: “At the moment, you could say it is like trying to put a jigsaw together and getting the right blend, with the future very much in mind.” A comment which shed’s light on the club’s poor form, if not on Saunders ability to improve it. In response to a recent bad run, there’s a frank admission from the chairman. "It leaves me in a predicament really – do I simply nip out and buy a couple of players, present them to Wes and tell him to get on with it and then sack him” complains Bateson. Don’t worry Wes, he’s joking – you just concentrate on completing that jigsaw.

Discussing the contributions of the club’s supporters to the site, an initially grateful Bateman claims: “Can I close by saying thank you to all the contributors to this web site of ours – It has certainly changed my perspective of the Gull supporter – for the better!” Then, in a bizarre turnaround, reminiscent of Harry Enfield’s self-righteous brothers, he adds: "Mind you I still say b——s to some of the sad sods who can't wait to spew forth their vitriol in the local press letters page. Same boring jerks trotting out their boring rubbish with never, and I mean never, a good thing to say about anyone.” Mmm. Still, it’s refreshing to hear a chairman speak his mind – even if it is at the expense of his credibility.

Fed up with reading the same old rubbish about your team? Then, the From The Terraces site is the place for you. Here you get the same old rubbish and lots more beside in a site which – borrowing from Tony Blair – claims to be: ‘The people’s football site’. Don’t let that put you off though. Every team in England and Scotland is catered for; supporters of each club providing informed comment. The site opens with the theme tune to The Great Escape, and in terms of frills that’s as good as it gets. To be fair though, the editor does admit: ‘Content is King, we laugh in the face of flashy graphics’. Take a look and you’ll see just what he means.

From WSC 145 March 1999. What was happening this month