26 of the best football apps to kick off the new season

Jose Mourinho is winding up Manchester United. Arsenal aren't spending any money. Bets are already being taken on the exact time Harry Redknapp will be interviewed leaning out of a car window on transfer deadline day. Football is back, Back, BACK!

Smartphones and tablets are providing an increasing number of ways for fans to keep ourselves informed and entertained in between matches – and during them. Here are some of the best football apps available for the 2013-14 season: click on the platform name (e.g. iOS or Android) to visit their app store listings.


Sky Go
Sky's official mobile app includes the ability to watch live broadcasts from all its sports channels, including Premier League and lower tiers in England and cup matches. The cost is bundled into the price of your Sky subscription at home, with up to two devices able to be registered to watch on the go.
iOS / AndroidBT Sport
This year's other Premier League broadcaster is BT Sport, whose app launched just in time for the new season. It'll be screening 38 Premier League matches over the course of the season, with the app also acting as a second-screen "companion" when watching on a bigger screen.
iOS / Android

Eurosport Player
Feeling cosmopolitan? Sample some of the live football on Eurosport's two channels in the UK, with the app free to existing Eurosport subscribers, and £2.99 a month through in-app purchase.
iOS / Android

Sun+ Goals
This is News International's big new app for the 2013-14 season, having bagged the rights to show mobile video highlights of Premier League goals while the matches are still playing. These "near-live" clips are accompanied by other videos, scores and a full-time highlights package on Saturday evening. It requires a subscription to the Sun+ paywall service.
iOS / Android


Sky Sports Pub Challenge
Sky is hitting football fans from all angles this year, apps-wise. This is designed to be used while watching matches on TV (yes, in pubs) with a football trivia quiz running before, during and after games. The twist being you have to check in to an official Sky Sports venue to play.
iOS / Android

This app has evolved somewhat from its early days as a social app for football fans to chat about matches. Now it's 're-imagining the back page' too, with a mixture of news, social media feeds and video highlights. It's still a handy companion for watching live matches too.
iOS / Android


THE Football App
This excellent app has 4.5m active users, apparently. It offers news, scores, tables and a host of other data from more than 100 leagues and competitions well beyond the UK. Minute-by-minute commentaries, videos and tweakable push notifications add to its usefulness.
iOS / Android

Sky Sports Live Football Score Centre
Sky's other football app is focused on news, scores, fixtures and other stats, although its Sky Sports News Radio feature is particularly handy on Saturdays if you're marooned somewhere without a TV to hand. As with other apps, push notifications are part of the offering too.
iOS / Android

ESPN's brand new sports app covers more than football, with an emphasis on personalisation so you can set the sports, teams and tournaments you want news on in your feed. It pulls in news, scores, videos, photos, tweets and Facebook status updates, with filters to turn as many of those on or off as you want.
iOS / Android

FourFourTwo Football Stats Zone
This spin-off from FourFourTwo magazine is one for the footballing Stattos of the world. It serves up in-depth statistics from Opta on matches in the top European leagues plus the Champions League, with live match stats and the ability to dig deep into any player's performance.

Football League – Official Clubs' App
Because not every English team can be in the Premier League. This covers news for those a bit lower down, with free updates, player profiles and other stats, plus live commentary, match highlights and TV news reports for subscribers.
iOS / Android

SHAMELESS PLUG: The Guardian's official app (iOS / Android) isn't just for football, but it does offer minute-by-minute liveblogs and push-notification goal alerts for your favourite team.


New Star Soccer
The best football game for mobile devices doesn't look like FIFA, it looks like an Amiga game from the 1990s. Don't let New Star Soccer's old-school graphics put you off though: they're part of the charm of this game, where you take control of a single player's career. Simple touchscreen controls combine with ferociously addictive gameplay.
iOS / Android

EA is preparing for the release of FIFA 14 as a free-to-play mobile game, but until it arrives sometime in the Autumn, there's last year's version on iOS. It looks spiffing, includes a host of licensed players and teams, offers online multiplayer and – good for fans of the console version – the Ultimate Team mode. Android owners missed out on this, but FIFA 12 is available on the Google Play store.

Football Manager Handheld 2013
On PC, it's the game that spawned a national obsession. But Football Manager is just as suited to smartphone and tablet play, as this latest version shows. Transfers, training and tactics, with the ability to play on the go giving less likelihood of divorce (possibly) for hardcore football management fans.
iOS / Android

Flick Kick Football Kickoff
Talking of obsession, this is the joint-top game (with Triple Town) in my league table of "missing-my-tube-stop" addiction. The game involves you swiping the screen to curl in free kicks from a variety of angles, past different configurations of defenders. Developer PikPok got the all-important feel just right.
iOS / Android

Fluid Football Versus
If you've ever moved salt and pepper pots around a table to explain football tactics, the Fluid Football games are well worth a look. This one's brand new: and sees you challenging friends and strangers alike over the network. The gameplay involves drawing lines to send your players on runs, then flicking for goal.
iOS / Android

Top Eleven
Social football management game Top Eleven has been a huge hit on Facebook, and now on mobile too. It's a similar mix of tactics, transfers and training to other games in the genre, but with millions of real people to pit your wits against.
iOS / Android

Real Football 2013
Gameloft's Real Football series has been slugging it out with FIFA and Pro Evo on mobile since the days before the App Store and Google Play. Its latest version adopted a free-to-play model, so besides playing matches you'll be developing your club funded (partly) by in-app purchases of cash and coins.
iOS / Android

Like New Star Soccer, this sees you taking control of a single player in a football-meets-roleplaying game. And like Top Eleven, it's plumbed into Facebook for social features. The gameplay is mainly focused on mini-game challenges.
iOS / Android

Champ Man
Square Enix has just revived the Championship Manager franchise on mobile with this free-to-play game, with 21 playable leagues in 11 countries, stripped-down gameplay that aims to get back to some of the classic Champ Man titles, and purchases of in-app credits funding your ambitions.

You Are The Ref
If you're a fan of the You Are The Ref cult cartoon strip that appears in The Guardian, definitely pick up this mobile game version. It sees you making refereeing decisions from perusing a variety of situations, drawing on 50 years of artwork from the strip.


In truth, what fantasy football app you choose will depend which game you're already playing: most are companions for online and/or newspaper games rather than standalone experiences. So, there's Sky Sports Fantasy Football (iOS), Telegraph Fantasy Football (iOS / Android), The Sun Dream Team 2013/2014 (iOS) and Fantasy Football from Metro (iOS) among others.

Also worth a look if you're signing up from scratch is the Betfred-affiliated Fantasy iTeam 13-14 (iOS / Android) with two separate competitions: one for the Premier League and one for the Champions League.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Thursday 22nd August 2013 14.20 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © Bronski Beat

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