Apple’s iPod is a magical little device. It has disseminated knowledge, has alleviated boredom, has provided a personal soundtrack and, most crucially, has eliminated virtually the mutually dreaded “stop and chat” with awkward acquaintances.
After last weekend’s rocking Carling Cup final, the iPod can help a goalkeeper save penalties. Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster admitted watching previous Tottenham penalties on a specially prepared iPod.
“Just before the shootout I was looking at an iPod with goalkeeping coach Eric Steele and it contained images of Tottenham’s players taking penalties,” Foster said.
“They told me for Jamie O’Hara I should stand up and be strong and he would probably go the way he did. I have done a lot of research before but this is an innovation we have brought in at the club.”
The question for the future is not whether the iPod should be legal, but why is the now ubiquitous technology not used more extensively?
Major League Baseball has employed video iPods since their creation.
Batters receive pods uploaded with every at bat. If the St. Louis Cardinals are facing the New York Mets, Albert Pujols can search his iPod by club “Mets” and by player “Johan Santana” to watch every at bat against Johan Santana, to understand how he may try to approach him.
The new generation of 120GB iPod classics can hold an entire career’s worth of at bats.
Though not as straight forward for football, this technology could easily be imported into Premier League.
Goalkeepers could extend the practice from penalties to free kicks or even to strikers’ preferred moves when one on one with the keeper.
Both defenders and attacking players could receive crucial insights about opposition tendencies. Knowing that Cristiano Ronaldo always makes a move after the fourth stepover or that John Terry always closes down on aerial balls to his left could make the difference on a goal and, consequently, a result.
The iPod could revolutionize the way Premier League teams prepare for matches. It would at least be better than ketchup and a pat on the ass from Harry Redknapp.
However, considering these are the same people who would rather pay an agency to hunt down YouTubers than generate income from online interest in their product, widespread use may take some time..