Wrexham FC have a new official website. Let's hope itundefineds third time lucky.
The first version of the site was designed and hosted by Classic Web Services: it was nice to look at but hardly ever updated.
The second was an in-house production: it was better than the original and featured, among other things, a truly amazing cyber-tour of the Racecourse.
The latest incarnation is designed and hosted by Premium TV. It's probably the best yet for content and updates, but the slowness of the database-driven parts of the system has been well documented in recent weeks.
Each version of the website has been hyped up, amended and adapted while in operation - and also come in for criticism from the ever-expanding pool of "armchair webmasters" who reside in and around North Wales.
The latest incarnation is constructed around five main headings: 'Today', 'The Match', 'The Team', 'The Club' and 'The Fans'. There are also links to 'The Gossip', 'Other Football News', 'Betting' and 'The Club Shop'.
The new www.wrexhamafc.co.uk can be viewed in both a positive and negative light.
On the plus side, it is smart, colourful and attractive to the eye. The structure is clear and there is wide-ranging coverage of the players, the team, the club, and topical issues. I like a number of features. The 'Question & Answer' item invites queries - and then offers a definitive answer. For example, when I had a look, it explained the intricacies of Lee
Trundle's recent four-game suspension - something I'd always been perplexed by.
In addition there are live match highlights, an interesting section devoted to ex-Wrexham stars, and a fascinating "rumours" section. I thoroughly applaud the fact that an official website has branched out into the wonderful world of unsubstantiated rumour-mongering. The latest offerings? Striker Faulconbridge to Wycombe for £180,000 and Welsh manager
Mark Hughes to see out his playing days at the Racecourse!
The match reports are solid, the club info detailed, and Dragons-related news and views in plentiful supply.
On the negative side, there are several things to note: the unusually small font size used throughout, the club shop - more offline than online - and the lack of content in certain places. For example, when you click on "What The Papers Say" you are greeted by the message, "There is currently no news in the papers about your favourite club." I found this statement difficult to believe, if not totally misleading.
The latest "match quotes" come from the Wycombe game (when the last fixture was Colchester) and the stats section is still "under construction".
I think the webmaster needs to get his act together! It is also transparent that the site is part of the Premium TV stable. It's customised pretty well - but there is the odd tell-tale sign that it is just one of many similarly structured club websites.
My verdict? The new site is satisfactory and reasonably functional, but I'd prefer a bit more quality and a bit less quantity.