WHO ARE YA? Jim Mann, Founder of a technology company, Spontly


Jim Mann, Founder of a technology company, Spontly

1) Who are ya?

Jim Mann, aged 37.

2) Who do you support?

Liverpool / Hearts (I was born in Edinburgh but grew up in the Northwest).

3) What was your first game?

Everton vs Telford United in the FA Cup Everton won 3-1 I remember Peter Reid and Neville Southall were playing.

4) What do you do for a job?

I am the Founder of a technology company called Spontly.


We are a fan engagement platform for live events. In real terms that means we build apps, webpages and tools so Football / Rugby / Cricket clubs can allow their fans to interact through their mobile phones and see replays etc. at matches.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

I was a junior Claret and played for Burnley until I was about 11 when I took up running instead – I now race ultramarathons and mountain races instead.

6) How did you get into it?

I have been working in start-ups and tech for a while. As smart phones started to get more popular we saw an opportunity and started developing this idea.

7) What do you get out of it?

Working with new technology especially with crowds is great fun. I found it really satisfying that something that we dreamed up a couple of years ago now has 1000’s of people using it.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Just have a go – there are so many opportunities out there – if you have an idea just try it… what’s the worst that can happen?

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

I would take out some of the mistakes where we tried things that didn’t work so we could get to where we are now faster!

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Ian Rush – he scored so many goals when he was at Liverpool.

Many thanks, Jim.

Find out more about Spontly

CTRUS football by Agent


The CTRUS football by Agent is transparent and changes colour when it crosses the goal line.

The Mexican design studio claims that it’s the world’s first see-through football.

The ball is designed with a flexible plastic shell that houses the components, and it bounces in the same way as a standard football. An internal web gives the ball its structure and a transparent spherical shell full of holes forms the kicking surface. This construction means that the ball doesn’t rely on air to give it shape or need re-inflating after use.

“The flexibility provided by the materials emulates the bounce of an inflated pneumatic soccer ball, but offers the advantage of not losing air,” said Agent.

It has sensors embedded inside it that detect kick force and travel speed, as well as providing GPS information to track the exact position of the ball. The ball communicates with control stations that could be located in any football stadium, which record data.

Lights in the ball’s core can be programmed to change colour if it goes out of play or into the goal, giving quick feedback to the referee, players and fans; and a stabilised on-board camera could relay a “ball’s eye view” to video screens around the ground.

As the technology is inside the ball itself and it communicates with the control stations as long as the signal isn’t interrupted, there would be no need to use Hawkeye-like goal line sensors or stop play to review whether the ball has crossed the line or not. This seems like an ideal solution to an on-going problem.

If FIFA and UEFA adopt this revolutionary football technology then we could see it at major championships in the not-too-distant future.