The question is, how do they do it? Soccerway, that is. There are results services and there are results services. You need to know the Manchester United result? There are 100, 500, probably well over 1,000 ways to find it, instantly. Probably even hundreds of ways to have it texted to you on final whistle, as you engage in a casual game of deck quoits halfway across the Pacific or climb aboard the Trans-Siberian.
The Oldham score? Easy, here it is, right on full-time. Bury? Um… just a minute… FCUM, hold on…
And what if we move away from football-obsessed, stats-focused England and find out how Marseille got on? Easy. Nîmes? Hmmm… Even lower down the divisions, that little village team whose pitch you stumbled over one Sunday morning, what were they called again?
Soccerway has the results and tables of 14 French leagues and competitions, right down to Féminine Division Deux. (For England, it’s 64.) For some teams in Féminine Division Deux, FC Templemars Vendeville, say, click through and you get a photo of the Complexe Sportif, Templemars, cap 1,500.
The extent of this incredible resource, the Google Earth of up-to-date football statistics, can only be realised by scrolling through the 200-plus country menu that drops down from the innocuous heading ‘Club Domestic (1074)’. Six divisions in Algeria, seven in Albania, two in Aruba, six in Azerbaijan, 15 in Argentina… This is obviously beyond mere anorak. This is anorak with a stuffed rucksack of Kendal mint cake on top.
How does Yemen have three leagues? Or the Cook Islands even one? Tuvalu? (There’s a groundsman required, by the way, at the Tuvalu Sports Ground in Funafuti.) British Virgin Islands? Bonaire? Isn’t that Portuguese for ‘have a good flight’?
Some entries go beyond simple statistics.
The Afghan results are up to date, Shaheen Asmayee lost at home 2-1 to Oqaban Hindukush, De Spin Ghar Bazan gained a 1-1 draw at Toofaan Harirod, but the solitary photograph of Kabul’s AFF Stadium has an ominous feel to it. Iraq’s league is currently cancelled, and you wonder what might be happening to some of the players, officials or supporters. Syria’s statistics stop in June, but one game seems to have been squeezed in for August.
Apart from results, tables and recent form – betting ads are also inevitably prominent – that’s it. The Contact Us page doesn’t even reproduce the @ sign properly and the About Us section consists of two simple sentences, the second starting with ‘It is the world’s largest football database…’
It is only when you look at the site’s job vacancies do you realise that behind it all is a vast, global operation, with 26 offices in 14 countries and 1,400 staff.
Ah, so that’s how they do it. Now, how did Al Ahli Sana’a get on in their clash with bottom-placed Al Sha’ab Hadramawt Mukalla at the seemingly picture-postcard Ali Muhsen Al-Muraisi Stadium in Yemen?