Text and invest

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. 

Editorial comment is provided by Ron Atkinson, but even this is an opportunity squandered. Few people are that interested in what Atkinson has to say; the fun comes from working out exactly what it is he’s on about. So it comes as something of a disappointment to read a straight column completely bereft of Atkinson’s verbal quirks. Frankly, the material could have been ­written by anyone in the Teletext office.

Derby County’s season goes from bad to worse. Their poor start to the season has been compounded by an unfortunate sequence of events culminating in the recent deportation of Esteban Fuertes. What with this and the return to Italy of the unsettled Francesco Baiano, the serious injury to Stefano Eranio and Jim Smith’s attempts to strengthen the squad with a (possibly fit) Colin Hendry, an air of desperation hangs over Pride Park.

This disarray is reflected on the club’s official site , which, at the time of writing, was about as much use as Mikkel Beck in the penalty area. Other than the merchandise pages, all attempts to elicit information proved fruitless. As for the merchandise, that’s nothing to get excited about either, although if you spend more than £50 you are entitled to a free millennial baseball cap (dome shaped, presumably).

It’s a sad indictment of the official site that I was able to gather more information on the club from a page run by a boy yet to take his GCSEs. Apologising for the infrequent updates, the author admits: “Sorry there have been no updates for a while, I’ve been busy with homework.” Bless him. Still, when he’s finished his exams, he should be able to walk straight into a job on the official Derby site.

Local rivals Nottingham Forest are another club who have seen better days. Indicative of their ­current malaise is the name of one of the unofficial Forest sites. Sack the Board consists of a series of lengthy essays, all of which make bleak reading. Taking swipes at everyone from Irving Scholar to Dennis Thatcher and even his fellow Forest fans, the author cannot disguise his disgust with recent developments at the City Ground. The pieces are undeniably well-written and well-argued although they do at times veer towards the earnest side of serious.

It’s not just Davor Suker who likes to dabble in the stock market; according to one site, up to 500,000 people have bought shares in football clubs. Soccer Investor aims to advise supporters on the pros and cons of investing in their club, or, in Suker’s case, in any club that looks like making a bit of money. Ultimately, the site hopes to promote “investment in football clubs as a means of governance of football at all levels”. Which I think translates as: the more shares fans buy, the more influence they will have.

All very well in theory, but remember share prices, like ­football clubs, can go down as well as up.

From WSC 155 January 2000. What was happening this month