IF WE don’t already know what a dangerous tool Wikipedia can be, I can reveal a salutary tale from this week’s coverage of obscure European football clubs.
Writing in the Daily Mirror in advance of Manchester City’s UEFA Cup away match against Omonia Nicosia, David Anderson relates how manager Mark Hughes ‘will not tolerate any slip-ups against the Cypriot side, whose fans are known as the ‘Zany Ones’ and who wear hats made from shoes”.
Intriguing, eh? Hats made from shoes? Really?
Sadly, poor David had fallen victim to a gang of internet spoofers who regularly lay Wikipedia traps for lazy hacks. The information, added only hours before it made it into print, was one such spoof.
To be fair to the hoaxers, they left several clues that all might not be well with the Omonia entry, which also included the information that ‘the club has a new sponsor – Natasha Kaplinski – and their former players include Jean Claude Van Damme and Richard Clayderman”.
At the time of writing, the spoofers have emailed the Mirror pointing out the prank and questioning the standards of the sports desk’s journalism. The subsequent silence has been deafening.