It is fair to say that the internet is a huge part of our lives; it seems that we are now able to do anything via the web, whether it be shopping, playing games or reading newspapers. It could even be said that such is its importance that the world now depends on it. Sport is no different.

Just like any other domain, the internet has worked its way into the sporting world and football, as the world's unrivalled biggest sport, is at the forefront of this movement. Via the web, it is so easy to access your team's news, transfer rumours as well as quotes from your favourite stars.

This has given fans the chance to keep up to date with the game, which is progressing at such speed. All this will not be news to most of you who, even by reading this article, are proving the point. However, there may be a part of all this you are still unaware of: the rapid rise of football 'banter' pages.

It is the social networking site Facebook that is the home for such groups. It is generally a gathering of footballing fans from around the world that congregate to discuss the footballing matters of the day.

I am a part of a few myself and, I must admit, it is an eye-opener into how the average football fan thinks. There are so many interesting subjects that arise that it is possible to spend hours scrolling through posts, adding your thoughts along the way.

It may not be the same as going down to your local pub and having a natter over a pint or two, but it is the next best thing. And it seems to be a bit of an untapped market. This is a place for the fans, with their views able to be seen by anyone on the page. It would be a great place for the press to hear the views of supporters, but that seems to be something they are yet to realize.

It is not all good however. I have seen, on several occasions, some rather disgusting language and slurs being said, or typed. Some people, knowing that they they have a screen and keyboard to hide behind, feel that they are therefore able to say whatever they want with no consequences and, apart from being banned from the page, there really isn't. This is just the minority however. Sure, some "banterers" ,as they are sometimes called, will have their run-ins, but it is generally clean fun and some interesting points are put across.

There are some rather interesting things that I have learnt from these groups. Firstly, apart from Manchester United fans themselves, no-one really likes the 20-time champions. The same, although on a lesser scale, also applies to their rivals Liverpool.

I have also noticed that people can, on some occasions, see this as an add on to their social life, stating that they have very strong friendships with others on the pages. This is not an opinion I share in general, but, as they are not harming anyone, who am I to condemn ?

At the end of the day, it is like a virtual matchday... just every single day of the week. I would strongly recommend that you give it a go. It may not be your cup of tea, but it is definitely worth a try. You may find yourself hooked. 

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