Posts Tagged ‘cambridge united’

Twitter Charts: When do you tweet?

October 27th, 2008

I’m normally the last to find these online tools, but Twitter Charts is an interesting one, I think.

It shows, in beautiful graphic format, what days of the week, and what times, any given username posts Twitter updates.

You can see mine by clicking below:

Twitter activity

My results don’t show any great times of heightened activity, although some spurts can be explained simply. Saturday at 3pm, for example, where I often text Cambridge United-themed updates as and when we score/concede etc.

And you’ll also see I’m a bit of a night owl. I’ve made more tweets at 2am than I have at midday.

What does your Twitter Chart say about you? Try it here.

Blue Square are an embarrassment to football

October 25th, 2008

The Blue Square Premier division — formerly the Football Conference, the 5th tier of English football — is not known for high-standards on the pitch.

But it wouldn’t be unfair to expect professionalism off it.

Yet, the league’s sponsors, Blue Square, seem hell bent on making it hard for themselves.

All through last season, fans from Blue Square Premier (BSP) clubs were taking part in local keepy-uppie competitions. Two fans would go on to compete in the final at Wembley, taking place the same day as the playoff final.

So far, so good, and the prize money was a massive £100,000 for the winner, plus £20,000 to his favourite BSP team.

It got to final day. The two keepy-uppie hopefuls were led onto the pitch to compete one last time. But, and here’s the crucial bit, the competition was changed. No longer was man vs man in keepy-uppie. Nope! Instead, each person had to try and kick a ball into a blue square. The players were one penalty area, the box was on the half way line.

In short, while not impossible, it was very, very, difficult. Believe it or not nobody won the prize, and the £120,000 stayed in the pockets of Blue Square.

Both clubs complained about the game, and Blue Square responded:

“Although the final game was difficult, it wasn’t impossible, and from a Blue Square point of view the prize money was insured to the extent that a winner would have been more beneficial to the overall competition. We were genuinely cheering on every single finalist in the hope that they would manage to scoop the prize.”

I bet you were.

But wait, there’s more.

Over on their official BSP website, their journalists have been hard at work. Yup, hard at work getting things wrong.

Take a look at this: a cock-up of epic proportions. Here’s what went wrong:

1. The journalist used the internet as his/her sole source, and didn’t fact check

2. The website wasn’t a news outlet, but one maintained by a football fan at

3. The football fan in question supports Cambridge United — and the article focuses on the money troubles of Histon FC. So, the fan would have no inside links there (presumably. And you’d check, wouldn’t you?)

4. Histon FC and Cambridge United are fierce rivals. They are about 10 miles apart, if that.

So the journalist used an unverified source, from a website written by a fan of a rival club. Great work.

The saga gets deeper when you realise that the apology was made after a complaint from Histon — rather than the journalist finding out it wasn’t false. The importance of that? I’d say it’s unfair to brand a website, even a fan-written one, as inaccurate if you don’t actually check.

But, on the plus side, the site reports today that one of Cambridge’s top strikers, James Constable, has been called up the the England C squad.

Shame that James Constable in fact plays for Oxford United, and has never played for Cambridge in his life.


[EDIT: The James Constable error has been corrected. I wonder if they check the web to correct their errors too?]

Regionals should get their houses in order before trying to stop others

October 21st, 2008

I don’t think it’s fair that some of the local press is getting in a strop with Sir Michael Lyon’s plans for better regional BBC content.

Read this article in today’s Times for a bit of back story:

Newspaper groups are unhappy about BBC proposals to introduce ‘hyper-local’ news websites, covering a town or county, which they believe will stifle their digital growth, at a time when their profits are crumbling in the wake of the economic downturn caused by the credit crunch. The plans, though, have to be approved by the BBC Trust, which Sir Michael heads.

That paragraph, on its own, seems to present a good point from the regionals. Why should the BBC juggernaut — and it is a juggernaut, despite its well-publicised hardships — trample on the local press with its own hyperlocal offerings?

Chief exec of Trinity Mirror, Sly Bailey, has been doing the rounds lately. She’s been here there and everywhere defending newspapers. Her interview in Press Gazette was especially interesting — but since it’s not online, nobody can read it. Figures.

She pops up again in the Times piece:

Ms Bailey accused Sir Michael of holding “outrageous views” and making “an astonishing attack on the local press” and said that “research shows consumers rate regional press as more trusted than any other media, including the BBC”.

I trust my local paper. Why would I have any reason to disbelieve that a school put on a production last week? Or that someone is now 100 years old? I’m not dismissing local press as being trivial here, but my point is that it’s a lot harder for the BBC to maintain that trust when they deal with far more complex topics.

Here’s my main criticism of Sly and co.’s argument:

If the BBC doesn’t go ahead with its hyperlocal plans, will it mean local newspaper sites will improve?

I think we all know the answer.

My two most local newspapers — The Hunts Post and Cambridge News — aren’t doing nearly enough to engage with their readers online. The Hunts Post is a great newspaper. It has a small team. Too small, I’d argue, but that’s another issue. I don’t blame them for not spending too much time interacting online, because the paper still has a very strong print audience.

But the Cambridge News? Cambridge is a city of early-adopters. I once read that, as a percentage of total population, Cambridge has more people registered on eBay than any other European city. Sorry I can’t verify that with a source, but anyone who knows the city well wouldn’t find such a statement hard to believe.

Cambridge is a home to huge centres for the likes of Microsoft. Does its newspaper reflect that? I’d argue no, not at all. Their ‘blogs’ aren’t even blogs at all. Why is there not a news blog? Or a sports blog? Or, considering Cambridge is a hub for science in the UK, why not a science blog that is written in the same style as Bad Science in the Guardian?

If the paper has a Twitter presence, it’s not publicised enough. If they’re on Facebook, they’re doing a pretty poor job at making themselves known.

Now, it’s all well and good saying what’s wrong with a site. It’s another to prove it can be done better. Well there’s proof in Matt Gooding’s Cambridge United Blog. Matt writes for the Royston Crow — another newspaper starved of any kind of progressive internet publishing. I wonder if they know they have the likes of Matt in their ranks? A waste of brilliant blogging talent.

More to the point, though, if Matt is doing his Cambridge United blog in his own spare time, for free, using tools that are available for no fee, then why isn’t the Cambridge News? They couldn’t possibly complain of budget constraints. You know, even if they just aggregated his blog. Or linked to it. Or ANYTHING that acts as a service to readers to let them know that some brilliant, opinionated writing is out there.

The moral of this whole tale, of course, is that regional press haven’t dealt with the internet. It scares them. They don’t know how it works.

A friend of mine was recently told not to mention the internet in a job interview with a regional because “the editor doesn’t like it”. The editor should be sacked this instant. When I mention this tale on Twitter yesterday, I got a load of replies saying ‘I bet it was…’. All were wrong. But it goes to show that it isn’t an isolated problem.

If I was to meet Sly Bailey tomorrow, I’d tell her to wake up. Rather than have a go at the BBC for moving with the times, why not look into providing better websites yourselves. It doesn’t cost much. The site I created for Whitireia Journalism School in Wellington, New Zealand, earlier this year proves that so much can be done with so little time, effort and money.

I’m biased, of course, but I’d say is a far better local news site than Cambridge News. Newswire’s total cost? About £200, plus my wage. Cambridge New’s total cost? I dread to think.

What will be most telling will be the response to my criticisms. There won’t be any — except maybe from Matt Gooding and those at Newswire. Why? Because they’re in control of their online identities. The likes of the Cambridge News won’t be aware of anything I’ve said. I hope they can surprise me, I really do.

I’ve used the Cambridge News as my example, but to steal a Sarah Palin-ism, I think it’s fair to suggest that Cambridge News is a microcosm of the UK regional press.

Many regional papers would be happier if the internet didn’t exist.

But here’s the good news: There’s still time. It can still be turned around. There is enough money in the kitty, and enough readership to give any regional paper some online success. Whether they rise to the challenge or not is up to them. If they don’t they’ve only got themselves to blame.

If you’re a football fan, you’ll appreciate this

August 7th, 2008

As part of my course last year I met up with a guy named Andy Ollerenshaw. I met him before the Cambridge United vs Weymouth match in the F.A Cup, and we had a beer in the Cambridge United Supporters Club bar.

He was on a journey. Starting in the preliminary rounds, Andy would follow a team for every game in the cup. And, when they got beat, he’d follow the winner right up to the final in May.

I’m DELIGHTED to announce that Andy has written a book about his experience, and it is available to buy soon. He emailed me a while ago asking if he could quote me… so I’m excited to see if I made it into the book.

When it comes out, I plead with all the football fans out there to buy it. Firstly, because it’s about the very essence of the English game. Secondly, because it has Cambridge United in it. And thirdly, because Andy is a thoroughly nice bloke, and I’m sure it’ll be a fun read.

Find out more about it here.


May 2nd, 2008

Burton Albion v Cambridge United, Blue Square Premier Playoff, semi-final, first leg. 7:45pm.