Having recently ended a decade as club editor within two football clubs, it’s probably unsurprising that my online content consumption habits have been heavily sports-orientated.
I have found that while football is one of the most discussed topics on the internet, content which is actually informative or entertaining is frustratingly thin on the ground. For me, the Guardian’s online football offering is a significant exception.
I have always believed that football fans – or any audience for that matter – deserve better than to be presented with barely dressed-up filler and fluff. As such, the football coverage from the Guardian’s sport pages first won me over with news and intelligent debate. You know, actual journalism.
Yet it’s not even the absence of tittle-tattle that makes me so happy to spend time online with the Guardian – it’s the depth and variety of content that sets it apart from many of its online newspaper peers.
First there’s the daily teatime email newsletter, The Fiver, which delivers stories in a perfectly informative yet tongue-in-cheek style. Next, every football anorak’s dream feature, The Knowledge, which researches and answers readers’ trivia questions, no matter how obscure.
Furthermore the weekly Classic YouTube round-up, the insightful Football Weekly podcast and the general first-class curation of content from multimedia and social media sources delivers a well-rounded account of big matches and major talking points.
The site is also my go-to destination for live reporting. Its minute-by-minute coverage of big matches provides just the right measure of factual observations and irreverence, while the array of expert bloggers provide in-depth tactical analysis.
Rather than conforming to the cliche that today’s news is tomorrow’s chip paper, the Guardian realised ahead of the pack that online content should be more than just throwaway. And when it comes to football, the Guardian keeps its readers engaged with content that never feels disposable.