Comment and commentary on football is almost omnipresent these days. All the big sports broadcaster, and national and regional news outlets, offer extensive comment and analysis of their websites in addition to their regular output. Individual sports journalists, commentators, and so-called experts also have their own personal websites. Much of this content however is of debatable quality (take a look at the blog of former Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys for a prime example of this – it is genuinely beyond parody).

But in this day and age everyone has an opinion, and many are of a view that others should listen to it. This has led to an explosion of independent football websites offer comment, analysis, match report, gossip, and writing on just about any football-related theme you can think of.

In this unregulated space, the quality of these outlets, and indeed their longevity, varies wildly once again. But pick through the wheat and the chaff, and there are some absolute gems of sites to be discovered that open up whole new horizons in football coverage.

It is here where the national newspapers and broadcasters should be looking for inspiration. But, with the exception of the occasional article in the Guardian Sports Network, they aren’t.

So we have done the rooting around for you, and here is our guide to the very best online football comment sites:

Goal.com:

A comprehensive site that offers all the latest news, gossip, and opinion, alongside the latest fixtures, transfer rumours, and betting odds. It has a reputation from breaking news (which sometimes turns out to be pure speculation, but nonetheless makes for interesting reading) and comes into its own in the build-up to and during transfer windows

It is also a genuinely international site offering news and comment on football from numerous far flung places, from Chile to Korea. A top quality all-rounder.

Football 365:

As is often the case with independent sites that have the temerity to be good at what they do, Football 365 has long since been hovered up by the Sky Sports behemoth. However, unlike many other such sites which tend to end up run down and closed, Football 365 continues to thrive, and to feel completely independent from its owners.

The only real evidence of Sky Sport’s involvement comes from the advertising, which admittedly is ubiquitous, but the content remains independent, irreverent, and insightful.

It offers the usual news and gossip section, but plenty of prominence is also given to comment, opinion, and debate, from some well informed writers and journalists. For the time being this remains a site to watch.

UKNetGuide:

This independent UK focused site has all the English and Scottish football fixtures listed, with the latest odds for a home win, draw and away win as well. There are match news features on game days as well as match previews and videos.

We like the simple layout of the matches to be played, the focus on the UK domestic competitions including the FA Cup as well as the Champions League fixtures.

Bleacher Report UK:

This US sports site is a relative newcomer to the UK market, but with its big readership stateside, it has arrived with big budgets and big aspirations. It covers a range of sports, but the majority of its UK output is football related.

It has detailed news and opinion of football around the globe, but with a focus on the English leagues ad the Premier League in particular, as well as the big European Leagues of Spain, Italy, and Germany.

It has attracted some of the best names in UK sports journalism to write for it, as well as experts from fans groups and other sites as well. This gives it both breadth and depth to its coverage, and whilst some its articles can be rather superficial, others offer properly detailed analysis.

This is a big site, and quality is not always consistent, but it well worth having a look around, as there are more often than not some insightful gems to be found.

Off The Post:

Off the Post is structured more as a blog than a news site, and its content lives up to this structure. It is pretty gossip-focused and takes a lighthearted look at the current goings-on in the world of football in England and Europe.

It is an entertaining read, that can also offer some very interesting perspectives and analysis, particularly in their dedicated tactics section. Well worth keeping an eye on.

When Saturday Comes:

The website of the cult monthly football magazine, is every bit as engrossing as the magazine itself. It offers articles, stories, and commentary on a broad range of subjects taking in every conceivable angle you could write about football.

It examines leagues and international teams from across the globe,  as well as putting a stong emphasis on lower league and non-league English football as well. It is particularly good on promoting the merits of supporter-run teams.

It does only post a limited number of articles per day, but these are written by people close to the issues they are covering and offer a degree of insight and detail often missing elsewhere. It also has its more lightarticle features, such as the highly amusing ‘badge of the week’ feature.

Soccerlens:

This site is an open blog, but one with a proud and hard-earned reputation for maintaining a very high standard of writing. Its articles range from proper anaysis of games and tactics, to news and gossip, as well as some satirical pieces.

It is particularly strong at linking to other related content elsewhere online helping you to locate yet more good quality writing on issues that interest you.

Just Football:

An international news and comment site, with contributions from professional and amateur writers from across the globe. There is an obvious focus on the big leagues, but plenty of content on football across all five continents, as well as detailed coverage and analysis of all the big tournaments and games.