If you’re a football ‘statto’, then this article will definitely be worth your while reading. This week we take a look at the Total Football iPhone app.
I found out about this iPhone app whilst browsing Twitter and was intrigued to see that the app was powered by Opta (which in case you don’t know are somewhat the super-stattos of football). The official website argues that, “Until now, football apps have stuck to the basics – fixtures, results and goalscorers – but Total Football is the football app for the digital age”
I’ve not really come across any decent statistics and analysis websites or apps apart from Zonal Marking, even in the major mainstream press I think there’s very little done, so I was a little dubious about whether Total Football’s “amazing detail” had any truth to it. So, I downloaded the app (which only covers Champions League just at the minute, though there has been hints of a Premier League version) and decided to see whether it was any good for live in-game analysis by using it throughout Tuesday’s Real Madrid – Tottenham Hotspur Champions League quarter-final.
Oh boy. I was in for a treat. This excellently designed app is quick and easy to use, it isn’t clunky or difficult to navigate, which is particularly impressive considering the sheer amount of data it offers. Users can update the app in-play to instantly get the very latest statistics and analysis,
• pass completion (both team and player)
• pass direction (failed and successful)
• shots on target
• player influence on the pitch
• tackles made, clearances
• attempts to take opposition players on
• and so much more.
Not only does the app provide accurate and up-to-date data, but it then compiles the data into analytical visuals that give the user fantastic insights into both player and team tactics. Users can quickly see the general shape of the team, what areas of the pitch passing is focused and what style of passing teams prefer.
Colm McMullan, the independent creator of the app explained to me how the app works, “Opta send data updates in XML format by FTP and these are posted at very frequent intervals during the match. When the XML files are received at my end, they’re processed for download onto the iPhone app. The data is then cached locally on your iPhone so everything you’ve already downloaded is completely accessible offline”.
On top of that, the app also allows users to look back at previous Champions League games as far as the group stages. Users can access competition stats and even compare both teams and players data from different games.
To finish the app off nicely, it comes with social media integration and sharing options, allowing users to share any aspects of piece of data with their friends either via email, Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. To really appreciate this app you should go out and download it. The Total Football app is free to download (Click here for app store link), however, in order to access data for games after the Last 16, there is a 59p one time charge.
In my opinion, this app is somewhat revolutionary. Not only does it bring sports fans closer to the action and provide a service that used to be exclusive to only teams and broadcasters, but it recognises how fans would want to use the app. On the official website it suggests that uses include, ‘winning an argument with your mates’ or ‘giving you all the information you need to win that bet’. The Total Football app is an excellent example of how technological advancement and digital media is constantly changing the way we watch and follow the beautiful game.
The fact the app has been developed (and self-funded) by an independent fan, not a huge company like Sky or UEFA, also shows how fans are increasingly becoming more and more influential in fields that were traditionally taken up by corporate or major broadcasters.
Authors note: I have in no way been asked or received compensation for writing this review. I want to make it very clear that I chose to endorse this app because I think it is a very useful tool for football fans and shows a huge development in football digital media.