CAMPAIGN INTERACTIVE: THE MANY LIVES OF ... MANCHESTER UNITED - If possessing hundreds of vital statistics is a matter of life and death, look no further, Jade Garrett writes

You would expect a football club with the global following of Manchester United to have a quality Website of its own, but can the so-called ’theatre of dreams’ satisfy fans on the World Wide Web?

You would expect a football club with the global following of

Manchester United to have a quality Website of its own, but can the

so-called ’theatre of dreams’ satisfy fans on the World Wide Web?



The official site (below right) offers fans everything you’d expect:

news on the latest signings, match scores, reports and fixtures, player

profiles and up-to-date information on the club’s plans to increase its

stadium capacity. A page is devoted to information on the new MUFC

museum, which is reported to be costing the club pounds 4 million.



United also has pages on Sky’s site, which are attracting more than half

a million page impressions a month, according to Sky.



But what about the mass of unofficial fanzine-style sites that now

exist?



A basic search on Yahoo! throws up plenty of options. The quality of the

different sites varies considerably but the sheer number of them - more

than 50 - is impressive in itself.



A browse through 100% Red (right) reveals what real fan-generated sites

are made of. The statistics archive offers facts and figures to die for,

including the biggest home and away wins, players who have made the most

appearances and the leading goal scorers.



There are also pre- and post-war league performance tables, with top

scorers listed by season. And for real anoraks, there are the exact

pitch measurements of Old Trafford and titbits such as the ground’s

record attendance: 70,504 against Aston Villa on 1 December 1920 (Not as

big as City’s: 84,569 against Stoke City on 3 March 1934 - Ed).



100% Red also offers information on and links to other sites run by

fans.



In particular, it recommends A Manchester United Factfile, which is

apparently so good it made it into the official Manchester United

Magazine. This site will provide, among other things, a full description

of every kit change from August 1992 to the present day, even down to

the colour of the drawstrings on the shorts. It also has a section

called ’The K-Stand Song Book’ with more than 50 entries. The ’abuse’

section is intriguing, with classics such as: ’In your Liverpool slums,

you look in the dustbin for something to eat, you find a dead rat and

you think it’s a treat.



In your Liverpool slums.’ The author of the section is quick to point

out that the inclusion of a song does not necessarily mean he shares or

approves of the sentiments expressed.



Other sections include ’Wem-ber-ley’, ’Golden Oldies’ and ’Eric the

King’, a tribute by Pete Boyle.



Another site, TeamTalk (below left) offers speculation on the subject of

signings and transfers. It weighs up the relative merits and likelihood

of signings such as Ali Benarbia, Monaco’s mid-fielder, Christian Vieri,

the Atletico Madrid striker and even Alan Shearer. But for something a

little more light-hearted, the interactive Ryan Wiggs hairdressing site,

shows the hero giving Mr Weirdsley a short back and sides, while

confessing that he’s ’better on the left’.



You’ll have to hunt to find anything negative about the club on these

sites. I thought the Independent Manchester United Supporters

Association might have something to moan about but the site was out of

date and wasn’t really very interesting. Unless, of course, you find the

fact that Ted Beckham and Neville Neville, doting fathers of David, Gary

and Philip, were guests of the club last November, particularly

fascinating.



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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).