By Ollie Irish
In no particular order, here are the ten footy blogs we rated the highest this year:
In Bed With Maradona – It’s been a defining year for this brilliantly named site, which has gone from relative obscurity to widespread acclaim in no time. And rightly so. Its dazzling mix of features, which look to all four corners of Planet Football, means you never know what’s coming next – which in these days of football saturation is a very good thing.
Zonal Marking – Another site which has gone from zero to hero in 2010. I readily confess to being no great lover of tactics and chalkboards, but there’s no doubt Michael Cox has filled a niche and filled it wonderfully well. Michael really knows his stuff, and that’s why his site has built up a loyal following in the last 12 months.
FourFourTwo – Not strictly a blog, but FFT is home to several blogs and so it sneaks in via the back door. In the last year FFT has grown into the ideal one-stop shop for any right-minded fan. It offers just the right blend of news, opinion and humour, and of course has great access to the biggest names in football.
The Equaliser – Formed in 2010, The Equaliser has enjoyed a fine first year in business, serving up a tasty menu of features. The quality of the writing is high and I fully expect it to grow next year under the sage gaffership of Christopher Mann.
Umbro Blog – In which Aaron and his team show the competition how to run a corporate blog but do it with verve and wit. Umbro’s blog is light on its feet, has a lovely simple design, and – most importantly for a site of its kind – never rams the brand down your throat.
The Run Of Play – In leftfield, there is only one name on the teamsheet. Brian Phillips’ award-winning site reads as good as it looks (and imo it’s the loveliest, most distinct-looking football site out there), with a steady stream of impeccable essays on any topic you might imagine. Here be nourishment.
Dirty Tackle – Snapped up by Yahoo, yet still managing to feel ‘indie’, DT is the Justin Timberlake of footy blogs – young, good-looking, possessed of fancy feet, and popular with just about everyone. Of all the bloggers out there, Brooks Peck totally gets what people want from a blog: in this case it’s a cracking blend of snark and silly, but underpinned by an obvious passion for the game. How can you argue with Artur Boruc’s Rage List? You can’t.
Kickette – The site “for those who love the players as much as they love the game” goes from strength to strength. I now know more about the shape of footballers’ thighs than I want to, but Kickette is just so much fun that I can’t ignore it.
The Football Ramble – Building on the deserved success of its podcast, the Ramblers have – in no time at all – established a football blog to be reckoned with. The formula is simple: get experts to write about their areas of expertise. So you might read Russophile James Appell on Russian football, Michael Cox on tactics, or Chris Nee on MLS. Simple yes, but hot sauce, it works!
European Football Weekends – Danny Last’s site, also an award-winner in 2010, offers a t’riffic mix of match reports, photos and interviews with the likes of James Richardson and Henry Winter. As the Guardian says, it’s a “perennial source of pleasure”. Well played, Danny.
Which blogs did you enjoy this year?