Football fans can breathe a sigh of relief as the football season returns.
To know the best football apps is pretty important now that the European football season is returning, and it’s safe to say most Irish football fans will be anxious to once again follow either Liverpool or Manchester United (sorry, Ireland’s Airtricity League).
But while at one time the trusty handheld radio – or even the annoying clacker – would be the only signs of technology in a football ground, the smartphone is now a second screen for most supporters.
Nowadays you can check the score of the rest of the matches, or prove your friend wrong that Cristiano Ronaldo throws his hands in the air during a match an average of two, not three, times per game.
It’s a billion euro industry and, given its popularity, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of duplicate football apps offering the same product so, to help you stay clued into every kick, dive and bite, here are seven of the best…
LiveScore (Free, iOS, Android)
My personal go-to app. Whether you want to see the live scores of the Premier League, or the Hungarian second division, it’s all there.
The phrase “Ronseal” comes to mind, given that it “does exactly what is says on the tin”. It tells you the score, live, and equally good is that it also shows some of the live stats, including yellow cards, red cards, fouls etc.
If the match is high profile enough, it will even give a very basic running commentary of what’s going on.
The UI could look a little cleaner, sure, but the fact it’s entirely free means it’s hard to get picky with an app that works as well as this.
FourFourTwo’s Stats Zone (Free, iOS, Android)
Similar to LiveScore in that you’ll get your live scores information, but FourFourTwo’s Stats Zone app is on another level when it comes to, well, stats.
Stats in sport, particularly football, are intrinsic to the modern game, much like how baseball manager Billy Beane inspired teams to look at mathematical-level stats to determine how a team will play.
Now, in an age of online fantasy football, having access to reams of live information is critical, such as seeing whether your central midfielder is getting yellow cards too often and needs replacing.
OneFootball (Free, Windows, Android, iOS)
One of the hottest prospects as far as apps go, OneFootball was recently interviewed by Siliconrepublic.com about its ambitions to be one of the first places to go when looking to follow your team.
Once again, scores are given significant importance, but differing from, say, LiveScore, the app allows you to follow a team from dozens of leagues around the world and notifies you if something big happens during a game, or in the transfer market.
News on your favourite club is also aggregated from various news sites so you get the lowdown on what’s happening.
If you happen to own an Apple Watch, you can now also get notifications through that, which many others haven’t adopted just yet.
Fanatix (Free, iOS)
Fanatix is basically like Twitter, but for football.
Sure, Twitter during match days tends to descend into a mess of insulting hashtags between opposing fans, but Fanatix is trying to be a social media site for football fans to share their thoughts.
Most importantly, it’s a pretty good source of what everyone really wants to see when they can’t watch the match on TV: goals.
Users can post eight-second long clips onto a stream, which can be curated by a user to select their favourite team.
Once posted, the clips will stay on the stream for 24 hours before self-deleting to keep the app from being shut down by the Premier League’s lawyers, no doubt.
But it does source material from official sources also.
Football Manager Handheld 2015 (€8.99 on Android and iOS)
Ah, Football Manager, the football manager simulator that has captured my heart for years.
Whether it’s to take the lowliest of clubs to Champions League glory, or wearing a suit for your fictional managerial debut in an FA Cup final, the game is one of the most popular with football fans.
Now, rather than being limited to your PC or Mac, the developers offer the chance to take the game with you on your phone or tablet.
Sure, it’s not as detailed as the desktop version, but you’ll still be able to wheel-and-deal in the transfer market, while watching little circles pass a pixel to another pixel and win you the match.
FIFA 16 (Free with in-app purchases, Windows, Android, iOS)
Ok, so this game technically isn’t out yet, but by 22 September EA’s football game supremo FIFA 16 will be heading to mobile, as well as consoles.
The game is a scaled-down version of the console version that is arguably the best at letting you play football on the small screen, so much so the football’s megastars even play the game as themselves sometimes.
It’s free-to-play model gives you a limited, but still playable, version of the game and is fun to play around with on the commute home, but it might be worth shelling out for the in-app purchases for the full experience.
New Star Soccer (Free, Android, iOS)
Almost like a go-between for a football management simulator and a regular football game, New Star Soccer gets all retro ’90s gaming with a game that lets you control one player’s career.
Get him to score goals and he might earn a move to a big club, or get him into to trouble in his not-so-private life and watch him crash and burn.
Good fun all round when you’re waiting for half-time to be over.
Football image via Shawn Rossi/Flickr