BLACKPOOL’S teenage centre-back Ashley Eastham has had an eventful 24 hours. Having made his debut in an amazing Carling Cup tie at Stoke, he now finds that several media outlets have renamed him after a chronic respiratory condition.
I’m guessing that the person responsible for writing the report on Stoke’s dramatic 4-3 win last night decided to run it through the spellchecker one last time before sending it through.
Unfortunately, when they got to ‘Eastham’, they must have pressed ‘Change’ instead if ‘Ignore’. And so what ended up on the BBC Sport website was this:
(In the BBC’s defence, I’ve seen the same error on Football 365 and ESPN Soccernet, plus the Sky Sports and Daily Mirror websites, which suggests that the mistake may have been made by the Press Association.)
The weird thing is that Ashley Asthma almost sounds like a plausible name for a footballer (which I suspect is part of the reason it got through). I mean, is it any more absurd a name that Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink?
Really, though, Ashley Asthma would be better suited to being the main character in one of those maverick cop crime drama shows which end up filling the schedules of ITV3.
(On the subject of which, how on earth did Pie In The Sky ever get made? A chef who solves murders in his spare time? Oh well, it’s no more ridiculous than Murder She Wrote, I suppose.)
The BBC Sport website is a wonderful one-stop shop for getting all your major sporting news (and now it can show Football League highlights, it’s even better). But the site does seem to have a problem getting the names of Championship footballers right.
Since the start of the season, the site has insisted on adding an S to the end of the name of West Brom’s young New Zealand striker Chris Wood. When Wood scored his first West Brom goal against Doncaster recently, the caption beneath the video highlights hailed a terrific performance by ‘Chris Woods’ – even though the match footage shows a close-up of the striker celebrating with the name ‘Wood’ clearly visible on the back of his shirt. Oh, and the site keeps referring to his team-mate Youssouf Mulumbu as ‘Mulunbu’ too.
Mind you, it’s not just the BBC who make mistakes like this (as the spreading of the Ashley Asthma blunder proves).
Early in the season, several newspapers and websites – most notably the Guardian – repeatedly called Hereford’s young Northern Irish midfielder James McQuilkin ‘Mcquiokin’, simply because that’s how his name is spelt on Soccerbase, the very comprehensive but not entirely accurate online football database.
Lower-division footballers, whose names may not be familiar to a sub-editor in a hurry, can cause trouble. Combine that with a couple of clicks of the wrong button on a spellchecker, and chaos can ensue.
That was exactly what happened when the News Of The World famously messed up on the report of a League Two match between Bury and Barnet in February 2006, with the result that the published version changed Matthew Tipton to Matthew Tiptoeing, Dave Flitcroft to Gave Flatiron, Aaron Grundy to Baron Ground, Guliano Grazioli to Gaoling Grizzly and – most wonderfully of all – Jake Speight to Cake Spigot.
None of those players have had has much name trouble as Fulham’s John Pantsil, though, who has spent the last three years insisting his surname is actually ‘Paintsil’. When the right-back arrived at West Ham from Hapoel Tel Aviv in 2006, he said that his new club had spelt his name wrong on his kit and his contract.
But when he was born, his name was registered incorrectly. Pantsil is the name on his passport, and so was the name under which he was given a work permit by the Home Office, and the name under which he was registered by the Premier League.
“I’ve had to get used to it, wearing the wrong name on the back of my shirt throughout my whole career, but my family are still all called Paintsil,” he once mused.
So, young Ashley Asthma, you can consider yourself lucky.
By the way, I apologise now for any typos or factual errors in this blog entry. I know they are there. I just can’t see them.