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Super Apps Spell the End for the Football Tournament Wall Chart

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Those with a love of football and of a certain age will remember the 1970 Esso World Cup Collection. These were coins of the England 1970 World Cup squad that were given away whenever a driver bought more than four gallons of petrol.

As a nine-year-old kid and raised on the success of England's 1966 team, collecting these coins was mandatory in the playground. I can't remember if it was Allan Clarke or Keith Newton who was the most difficult coin to procure, but I know I never finished my album and often wondered why.

The 1970 World Cup was also the first time I filled in my first football wall chart. I had everything marked in, from scorers to the first corner in every match. When we were stuck in the traffic on the way back from a family holiday and missed the first 15 minutes of the Brazil v Italy final I was devastated. My wall chart could not be finished, in those days it wasn't possible to know the time of the first corner unless you watched the match live.

So more than four decades later and still without a major tournament win from England, what's changed? Well, I always seem to buy my petrol from Esso garages so that particular campaign worked, but I fear the days of the printed football tournament wall chart are over.

The process has been inexorable as the internet became our preferred medium and the printed press grew obsolete. In the mid-1990s online football wall charts were clunky, in the following decade they became 'interactive' and some time in the past five years that interactivity became digital.

At the last World Cup I was sent an online wall chart that resembled a spacecraft. Granted, it was beautiful and a paragon of design, it also helped me know where and when games were playing, but it wasn't the same as that folded, battered broadsheet supplement Sellotaped to the fridge.

As this summer's Euros approach it's now the time of mobile to take the place of print, interactivity and digital. The official Uefa and Orange app for the 2012 championships has been launched and it has all-singing, all-dancing features that MY nine-year-old son will revere as much as I adored the 1970 Esso World Cup Collection.

Rather like my father who paid for the petrol that acquired the coins that I collected, I'll be showing it to him on my device, but unlike Esso's petrol, this app is free and it doesn't matter what mobile I have and what language I speak, it will work.

The app has been launched across eight platforms including the iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows 7 and BlackBerry. It has been published in 11 languages and includes geolocation and augmented reality features. It also has a strong social network bias with fans being able to share content from the app on Facebook and Twitter.

Instead of being stuck in a car late for the final as I was in 1970, fans will be able to watch text commentaries and view premium video highlights. Furthermore, if they're lucky to be at the tournament they'll be able to find travel information, where to stay and all that 2012 jazz.

Isn't that fantastic? Everything you ever needed to know about a football tournament in your pocket. Frankly, I think it stinks. I've played around with the app and it IS fantastic, but the nine-year-old in me stirs and as contrarian as all older people seem to become, so will be the case with me.

I'm not sure whether any newspapers will be publishing a wall chart this year (they'll probably be too busy with the Olympics anyway) but if they do I'm going to buy one and complete it.

If not I'll get some card and make one and show my little boy that the future may well be Orange and its wonderful app, but the past is definitely a physical wall chart.

I might even get him interested in that 1970 Esso World Cup Collection. Coins of all the members of the squad are only 99p each on eBay, although none I note of the elusive Allan Clarke or Keith Newton. Some things never change.

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