Last on MOTD: The dangers of self-Googling

NEVER, ever, ever type your own name into Google. You’re thinking of doing it now, aren’t you? Well, don’t.

Nothing good will come of it. If you’re lucky, all you will find is several pages of links referring to someone with the same name as you who works as a human resources manager for a software company in Arizona.

If you’re unlucky, you’ll get all those references to the above namesake, interspersed with the odd link which refers to you. These will probably not be complimentary, and may actually be a bit creepy.

I have made the mistake of self-Googling many times. My favourite self-Google find remains the Manchester City message board run by a guy I was at university with.

He decided, bless him, to try to defend me against a post in which another fan had called me a “knob” (it’s not for me to say whether that’s an accurate description of me or not). But he did this by describing my personality when I was at university to a lot of strangers in more detail than I was prepared for. (“A bit quiet, but bang into his footy” was the gist of his verdict, if you’re interested.)

I realise that’s not a particularly meaty story, but that’s because I’ve generally got off quite lightly from my bouts of online solipsism.

At least I’m not Jacqui Oatley, who should not be allowed anywhere near the internet without a fully-qualified therapist on stand-by.

Last night’s final match: Stoke 1 West Brom 0
Commentator: Jacqui Oatley

I’ve just done a Google search on “Jacqui Oatley”. And there, on the first page, is a Daily Mirror article from April 2007 about a Facebook group calling for her to be fired from Match Of The Day.

(In the interests of balance, I should point out that also on the first page is a link to the Facebook group ‘Jacqui Oatley is a legend’ which, at the time of writing, has 147 members. And in the interests of self-publicity, I should point out there’s a link to my blog on the second page.)

I don’t know how Oatley – who last night did her first Match of the Day commentary of the season, and her sixth overall – copes with all the hoo-hah. I’ve only encountered her a couple of times, but she seems a very level-headed character, which probably helps. I suspect she doesn’t spend any time on Google.

She’s not really one for giving interviews about her status as Match of the Day’s first female commentator – although she did speak about it to the Daily Telegraph in September last year (it’s a little further down the Google search).

The publicity she attracted after her first TV commentary – a forgettable 1-1 draw between Fulham and Blackburn in April 2007 – surprised her.

“I hadn’t seen it coming,” she said in the Telegraph interview. “It wasn’t supposed to be public knowledge – people seemed to be under the misapprehension that it was a BBC publicity stunt. It wasn’t, it was simply a game, and I was astonished by the reaction.

“It wasn’t pleasant. I could understand why it would have been criticised, because it had never been done before. But some comments were ill-informed, suggesting I had never kicked a ball in my life.”

That was quite a measured response; Oatley would have been entitled to show more anger. I can’t help but wonder if a slightly spikier attitude might have slapped down some of the criticism she has faced.

Probably not. Her critics will continue to throw out the words “publicity”, “stunt”, “political”, “correctness”, “mad” and “kitchen” around as thoughtlessly as ever, whatever she says, and whatever the facts are.

Anyway, the most remarkable thing about last night’s final game wasn’t the commentator, but the fact that Stoke won the game with a goal which didn’t come from a Rory Delap long throw. Mamady Sibide scored from a Danny Higginbotham cross. Yes, a Danny Higginbotham cross. Let no one tell you Stoke are one dimensional.

Gubbometer

1. Wigan: 4 (Capello difference: +2)
2=. Blackburn: 4
2=. West Brom: 4
4. Capello: 3
5. Middlesbrough: 3 (Capello difference: +1)
6. West Ham: 2 (Capello difference: +2)
7=. Bolton: 2
7=. Fulham: 2
7=. Stoke: 2
10. Portsmouth: 1 (Capello difference: +1)
11=. Everton: 1
11=. Hull: 1
11=. Newcastle: 1
11=. Sunderland: 1
15=. Gubba: 0
15=. Arsenal: 0
15=. Aston Villa: 0
15=. Chelsea: 0
15=. Liverpool: 0
15=. Manchester City: 0
15=. Manchester United: 0
15=. Tottenham: 0

(NB: Teams level on points will be separated by Gubba difference: the number of times a team is last on Match of the Day with Tony Gubba commentating. If they are still level, they will be separated by Capello difference: the number of times a team is last on MOTD with Fabio Capello present.)

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