The time has come to once again refresh the ITBOTN links page. Every year or two it’s necessary to go through it and do a bit of weeding, pulling out broken links to once great blogs that have sadly ceased to exist, thus allowing space for new shoots to flourish.
Every time I undertake this exercise, it forces me to think about what the criteria should be for inclusion in a good links page. Ultimately the below reflects my own football reading taste as well as pointing readers in the direction of all the good honest kiwi staples.
My general view is that if there’s anything the world does not need any more of, it’s English Premier League coverage. I therefore rule out any sites that seem fixated on that on the grounds of extreme boredom.
Above all though, I look for interesting and original. None of the below sites are simply regurgitating news or other people’s content. They all offer something a little bit different.
Which is what we at ITBOTN try to do as well. And that’s the biggest link of all!
Footballnumbersblog – An in depth look at New Zealand football for the stats nerds amongst us! My 18% in School Certificate maths is well and truly put to shame by the analysis on display here.
Forza27 – A great friend of ITBOTN, Irish graphic designer and Roma fan Ed Moynihan curates a beautiful space for football artists to showcase their wares.
Guardian 100 football blogs – This is where I discovered a lot of the blogs on this list. So much great reading. So few hours in the day…
IBWM – Most people will know and have read ‘In Bed With Maradona’ but on the off chance you haven’t, get over there because you’ve really been missing out.
Milan Obsession – I’m not no fan of AC Milan. No Sir. Not one bit. But I really like this blog. A lot. Which says a great deal about how good it is.
Rinaldi’s Blog – Giancarlo Rinaldi is a beautiful writer who blogs mostly about Fiorentina. Probably my favourite non-Roma blogger.
NRFL – AFF have consistently been the best New Zealand football federation for communications hands down for a very long time now. And for a Waikato guy, that’s hard for me to admit. The Northern League website is as good as any blog on this list for its unique content showcasing the grassroots game.
Sitter! fanzine – Before football blogs in New Zealand, there was Sitter! Here you will find a rich archive containing the best articles from every issue of Sitter! ever published.
The Ball is Round – A broad range of quality writers focusing on the English game, ranging from the Premier League to amateur football. It has a Nick Hornby kind of atmosphere, which I love. I particularly recommend the ‘My first game’ section. Beautiful.
The Gentleman Ultra – Long beautiful reads about Italian calcio.
The Journeyfan – An excellent New Zealand football blog with a great mix of grassroots coverage of the game in Wellington, some rich history and some Dundee United!!!
The Matamata Bus – Dormant at the moment but you never know when the key might go back in the ignition… If you like in-the-back-of-the.net, you’ll love The Matamata Bus. Another take on grassroots football in New Zealand’s upper North Island.
The Run of Play – Their ‘about’ section says “we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.” I can’t add any more to that.
These Football Times – Another beautifully presented site that covers a vast array of interesting football topics you don’t read about anywhere else. If you look carefully you might see a contribution from our very own John Palethorpe!
The Ultimate New Zealand Soccer Website – Jeremy Ruane, the curator of this site, brags that “in short, if it’s to do with New Zealand soccer, and you can’t find it here, you don’t need to know about it!!” – He’s not kidding.
The Women’s Game – The definitive guide to all things Women’s football in Austrailia, edited by the legend that is Ann Odong, who you really should be following on Twitter as well.
This Day in Football History – If you are bored at work or at home and feeling in need of a pick-me-up – here it is. Every day, like clockwork, something interesting and informative to read for a few minutes of brilliant escapism.
Unusual Efforts – An all-female football writing team – something you don’t see anywhere near often enough – looking at football though a feminist lens and doing a brilliant job of it.
Waikato Football Programmes and Muir Park – Lose yourself in the beautiful misery of Waikato Football history. Nothing else I can say here does the awesomeness of these two websites any justice whatsoever. Just go and look at them!
Women’s World Football Show – An array of excellent podcasts about the world of women’s football, often featuring special guests from New Zealand.
Yellow Fever – Somehow I have neglected to include yellow Fever on this page until now, I have no idea why. An egregious omission! Check out their forum if you like your discussion slightly more civilised than the Northern League Forum, and be sure to listen to their multi award nominated (they haven’t won one yet – it’s a bit of a sore point) podcast.
Zonal Marking – The original quintessential football tactics blog. I wish I could say with all honesty that I understand all of it. Or even most of it. But what I can make sense of, I love.
A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: http://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/