Op-ed: ‘Wiki Geeks’ locked in spiral of failure

Meet the small band of unfortunates who make up ‘Wikiproject Football’ – Wikipedia’s all-male cabal of soccer anoraks.

Perspective and Wikipedia ‘notability’: “These are small, the ones out there are far away”

There is an excellent Wikipedia ‘task force’ specialising in women’s football, with some talented and hard-working contributors. But their aims are frustrated at every turn by the handful of obsessed losers at the main project, who block-vote to rig deletion discussions and skew the inclusion criteria in favour of their pet subjects.

Odd, slightly vulnerable men. Smug, complacent and reeking of flabby entitlement. This article, entitled Wiki Geeks lays bare Wikiproject Football’s alarming lack of diversity.

Far from twigging that this makes them a laughing stock, they instead maintain a bullish pride. Apparently unprompted, each offers up a Partridgean anecdote to the snickering FourFourTwo hack.

Little wonder then, that they are often described as a “stuffy boy’s club” and, less charitably, a “circle jerk”.

One buffoon spends his every waking hour – seriously – deleting logos off women’s football team articles. In his opinion they are mere “child entities” of the male teams and unworthy of their own logos.

It’s a crusade based on an, er, idiosyncratic reading of the guidelines. Needless to say there is no ‘consensus’ (because it’s sexist. And stupid.)

To be fair, our hero did make a play for Wiki-wide consensus, but was laughed out of town. So he embarked upon going round thousands of individual articles in piecemeal fashion.

What an existence! But his deranged monomania continues unchecked because not enough editors watch over the women’s team’s articles. This is what we’re up against.

“Team logos on women’s football articles? Not on my watch!”

The scandal of Wikipedia’s systemic bias is well-known; infamously only 16% of biography articles are female. It was shown that <1% of footballer articles on Wikipedia are for female players.

There is a hard-core rump of 1970s-style bigots at Wikiproject Football fighting a furious rearguard action to keep it that way.

With a few honourable exceptions, the membership of this shamed Wikiproject seem to exist on a sort of continuum; running from 'harmless dork' right through to some real, real degenerates.

Stewing in their proverbial mom’s basements, they angrily batter their filth-encrusted keyboards. In a way this is probably just as well, since in the real world they may well present a serious danger to women.

A handful of the very worst – following the Peter principle – have chased away more capable editors and attained ‘administrator’ status due to their morbid longevity.

This puts them in a position to wield even more unhealthy influence, wreaking more havoc on an already-discredited corner of Wikipedia.

==At least the swarm of repressed man-babies on Twitter and BBC online get challenged, at Wikipedia they enjoy free rein==

Any women’s football article ‘tweeted’ out by the BBC is invariably polluted with a string of comments from sexist gargoyles.

The level of sophistication is usually: “Yah, boo, sucks. Get back in the kitchen.” Or the old favourite: “Who cares?”

What these prospective Mensa candidates probably don’t realise is that with every inane comment they are only increasing women’s football’s social media ‘footprint’.

Yes, every outburst means that the article appears in the Twitter ‘timeline’ of all the culprit’s followers. Then if a boneheaded pal ‘likes’ or ‘re-tweets’ their drivel, all their followers get the article too.

And so on and so on, furthering the inexorable reach of women’s football. Cheers lads!

Nah, seriously, we can all laugh at these pitiable clowns and their impotent bigot-rage. It’s hard to imagine the serious journos at the Beeb losing any sleep over them.

BUT over at Wikipedia, in the absence of any editorial standards or professionalism, the sexist gargoyles hold the whip hand.

Yes, these selfsame lunatics are running the asylum.

==The entire concept of ‘Fully Professional Leagues’ on Wikipedia is a sham, dreamed up by a handful of no-marks to lend a spurious objectivity to their biases==

In the FourFourTwo article, Wikipedia’s notability guideline is pompously declared a “simple” matter of fully-professionalism. Well yes, it’s simple all right, but it’s also disingenuous nonsense.

Perhaps recent saturation coverage of the Premier League has muddied the waters for these imbeciles. Think Sky Sports’ Gary Neville roaring in coital ecstasy because Watford have equalised at Bournemouth.

Consider the modern player: ludicrously-coiffed man-boys, gormless mediocrities strutting about in, say, Huddersfield Town livery – and boasting the turnover of a medium-sized multinational corporation.

But it hasn’t always been this way. In the post-war years, times were ‘ard for almost everyone. The idea that every player in England’s top four divisions in the 1950s was “fully-professional” is preposterous.

But that’s what Wikipedia’s guideline is based upon. Not only is there a myopic, parochial and xenophobic conception of relative ‘notability’, it’s uncritically projected into the distant past.

Toffs who supposedly played in the early years of the FA Cup all have articles, although their ‘notability’ extends to being a line buried somewhere in a dusty old stats compendium.

Despite being sparsely-referenced and perpetually-incomplete, Wikipedia’s list of “Fully Professional Leagues” enjoys exalted status among Wikiproject Football’s creepy rank-and-file.

Conceived as a suggestive essay, it has congealed into a dogma. In their minds, anyway. Presume to question it and feel their vindictive wrath!

To point out its gaping inconsistencies is to invite a barrage of well-worn excuses. Excuses of wildly-varying credibility and relevance.

==Here’s tae us. Wha’s like us? Damn few, and they’re aw “Fully Professional”==

The Scottish second tier, for example, is not and never has been full-time professional. “Um, er, well, ‘the media’ covers it,” they stammer, as they sneakily ‘edit-war’ it back into their risible essay.

In the late 1980s Clydebank played in the Scottish Premier Division as a completely part-time club. When the Scotland Semi-Pro national team cleaned up at the 1985 Four Nations Tournament, half the squad was drawn from the top tier, the rest from the second tier.

The Scottish ‘Juniors’ – a violent sub-genus of non-league football – enjoys extensive Wikipedia coverage despite its clubs not competing ‘at a national level of the league structure’ and being definitively non-notable.

Meanwhile articles about much more notable female athletes are ruthlessly culled. Absurd deletion votes are policed by Wikiproject Football’s all-day-every-day brigade, whose knowledge of women’s football would in most cases comfortably fit on the head of a pin.

Nevertheless they robotically parrot their “Fully Professional” mantra and nine times out of ten it does the trick.

The French Wikipedia, to their credit, ditched this “Fully Professional” pretence, due to its overt sexism. They brought in a convoluted quota system instead.

Ten appearances in the Frauen-Bundesliga, 20 in the Damallsvenskan and you’re Wiki-worthy. Or something. Far from perfect, but hey, at least they’re making an effort. It’s not an exact science.

Look, a bit of honesty might go a long way here: “Okay guys, we’ll level with you. There’s hordes of pampered wee white boys and until they get girlfriends they’ve nothing else in their lives other than updating Brechin City and Alloa Athletic statistics on Wikipedia.

“Let’s not take that away from them eh? Let’s all just pretend it belongs in an encyclopedia. We’ll use that ‘Fully Professionalism’ wheeze to give it a fig leaf of objectivity.”

Only the hardest heart could say no to that. But let’s extend the same courtesy to the Irish, the women, and all the others you’ve been excluding because of your ideological fanaticism – you sad, blinkered bigots.

==Don’t just read this, get over to Wikipedia and muck in==

Yes, yes but “Does any of this matter?” I hear you cry.

Well, yes. Love it or loathe it Wikipedia is important. Not least because it’s the first port of call for notoriously lazy mainstream sports journalists.

So this isn’t (just) a moan, but a call to arms. Sign up here and get involved.

Articles about notable women are being deleted now, for the sake of just a few more even-handed contributors speaking out. Dear reader, do you realise that ”’YOU”’ are the makeweight to tip the scales?

==TL;DR==

Wikipedia’s Wikiproject Football is a cesspit of childish sexism, trying to artificially hold back women’s football.

==Credits==

Article helped/inspired by our friends at Women’s Footy.UK and dedicated to our favourite ever Wikipedian User:Hmlarson.

Report: Scotland’s moral right to the Women’s FA Cup

The real story of Eric Worthington and the Women’s FA Cup

Annual Scotland–England match trophy was repurposed as English WFA Cup

Women’s Football Archive sounds the pibroch for footballing justice

Last hurrah: Eric Worthington’s Cup gets its swan song in 1997

England’s first ‘official’ match on home soil took place in the rarefied environs of Manor Park, Nuneaton on 23 June 1973. The failure to secure a Football League ground for the event – even in the off-season – was a measure of the lasting sabotage wrought on women’s football by the FA’s 1921 ban. Opponents Scotland had been edged out 3–2 in the teams’ first fixture the previous November. In contrast to that blizzard by the Clyde, Nuneaton was in the midst of a scorching heat wave. With England leading 2–0 at half-time, the roof fell in on the peely-wally Scots. A final score of 8–0 remains their record defeat. Pat Firth’s debut hat-trick, braces from Pat Davies and moonlighting Scot Paddy McGroarty, and a late finish from sub Eileen Foreman undid Scotland, whose captain Mary Anderson had to go off at half-time.

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Report: Suffragettes of Football, National Football Museum, Manchester, 7 March 2017

Or, England’s Lost Generation tells us what it was really like

Our special correspondent ‘An Audience Observer’ writes from the front line of women’s football history…

As part of International Women’s Week, the National Football Museum and the BBC teamed up to present a discussion panel with regard to the pioneers of the women’s game. The list of attendees to the panel were Pat Gregory, Carol Thomas, Liz Deighan, Kerry Davis and Rachel Brown-Finnis, ably led by the BBC’s Eilidh Barbour.

The event opened with a short BBC film outlining the early history of the women’s game including contributions from the indomitable Gregory, Sue Lopez, Sylvia Gore and the champion of the women’s game in the day in the form of Lawrie McMenemy, who coined the phrase the “Suffragettes of football”.

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Sunderland and the WSL – professionalism in English women’s football

One step forward, two steps back: debt-ridden Sunderland axe pro women’s setup

Women’s Football Archive ponders the implications of Wearside giants Sunderland slashing their women’s team’s budget, at a time of make-or-break for the FA’s fledgling WSL project.

EXPONENTIALLY fewer female players, compared to the men, means everyone knows who the best ones are. So it’s easy for a club to hoover them all up then thrash everybody else.

Arsenal did it for years, and Manchester City are doing it now.

This goes on further afield too. When our best come up against the Lyons and Wolfsburgs we are invariably sent packing. You can set your watch by it.

Give Women’s Football Archive a team with twice Man City’s budget and we’d round up a mish-mash of Yanks, Franks and Germans – then give “Citeh” their dinner.

Or we’d just play them at their own game: wait for the England players’ contracts to lapse, then woo them all away with bigger deals.

Money matters


Listen, the FA’s WSL model relies on raising standards across the board. That means getting full-time training for – with all due respect – sub-top level players.

The FA model also relies on getting someone else to pay for it. And they are not sniffy about who coughs up.

On the eve of WSL I, Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung flung the club’s Ladies a bin liner full of cash. Cash of – ahem – very dubious provenance.

Such largesse saw star-studded Brum scoop the FA Women’s Cup and a couple of runners-up spots. But with Yeung caged and the cupboard bare, the big names soon slunk away to greener pastures.

At the other end of the spectrum is a stand up guy like Ray Trew at Lincoln/Notts County. To any rational onlooker, his longstanding support of women’s football makes NO sense.

Okay, let’s not dust off the halo just yet – you don’t attain Ray’s station in life by being a choirboy.

But judged squarely on his actions down the years, women’s soccer fans of every stripe have much to thank the former Notts County supremo for.

Women’s Football Archive has been privately assured that Trew is the real deal. A principled football man who absorbed the women’s club’s losses in his business empire, all to send a positive life lesson to his daughters.

Like Mo Fayed at Fulham 15 years earlier, he kept writing the cheques while the FA failed to deliver on their promises of jam tomorrow.

Over at Doncaster Belles, backers BPP – a US-style private university – are perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea.

But let’s talk about what they are: a licence to print money.

They bankroll the Belles’ full-time operation with chump change found down the back of their sofa.

Great for the Belles and great for the game. Ironically, though, BPP’s involvement only came about during the FA’s bungling of the Belles’ 2013 demotion and the subsequent outcry.

Sunderland


Younger readers may not realise that Sunderland are a grand old football club with a proud heritage. The team of luminaries including Raich Carter, Len Shackleton and Charles Buchan.

Buchan was a sort of male precursor of Sue Lopez: a great, thinking player turned coach, turned writer. An advocate of the game. What the North Americans call a “builder”.

Quite how the modern Sunderland have contrived to put themselves £140m in debt – while the BPL slosh buckets of Sky TV’s billions over themselves – is anybody’s guess.

It must be a legacy of crackpot decisions like axing Mick McCarthy, a rough-hewn gaffer who invariably leaves clubs in better nick than he finds them. Or ditching Martin O’Neill for wacky Paolo Di Canio.

Incredibly, the relegation-haunted Mackems are STILL paying off massive transfer fees in respect of countless duds, who had to be shipped out for peanuts.

That makes choking off funding to their own women’s section all the more ludicrous.

Booting out the full-timers condemns Sunderland to life in the WSL 1 slow lane and almost certain relegation.

Even if they did beat the drop, the WSL’s capricious licencing criteria will likely doom them to an artificial, Donny Belles-style demotion.

“A previously successful model” and the War on Fans


The club’s mealy-mouthed statement, which branded savage cuts a reversion to “a previously successful part-time model” cruelly blindsided Sunderland’s female pro’s.

The rest of us were left perplexed. Just how stupid do they think we are?

The last time Sunderland’s men came close to winning anything of note, in 1992, they were paying honest plodders like Anton Rogan and John Byrne a few hundred quid a week.

Will they revert to this “previously successful model” too? Or will they keep flushing millions down the toilet, wasted on hapless Davie Moyes’ rock-bottom outfit?

The “previously successful model” soundbite – a piece of Orwellian doublespeak – came from CEO Martin Bain, a former Glasgow Rangers official with links to Israel and South Africa.

Bain steered Rangers onto the rocks, while up to his armpits in the toxic Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) tax-cheat which proved the Ibrox club’s undoing.

His tenure saw Rangers sold for a quid then crash into liquidation. Indeed, with the club in its death throes Bain went to court to “ring fence” his dues, elbowing aside hundreds of small creditors and debenture holders.

Quite reasonably, many will construe his attack on Sunderland’s women as simply a new front in his wider war on the Wearside club’s fans.

Women’s Football Archive Verdict:


Now look here, whatever anyone says about Glasgow Rangers, they were a football club with a long unbroken history. And for that to end the way it did was nothing short of shameful.

It behoves all of us in the women’s football community to ensure that Sunderland’s women do not go the same way.

Ever since the days of Liz Deighan, Pauline Chilton and Christine Hutchinson, the north-east has been a hotbed of the English women’s game.

Then Mick Mulhern’s red and white talent factory churned out a seemingly endless conveyor belt of Lionesses, including Jill Scott, Steph Houghton, Carly Telford and Lucy Bronze.

But with the exodus of full-timers already underway, it seems the best the club can hope for is a period of consolidation at WSL 2 level. And the prompt appearance of a more reliable income stream.

Make no mistake, if self-sabotaging Sunderland are turfed out of the FA WSL altogether then oblivion awaits.

Previous knifes in the back from their dopey, irresponsible ‘parent club’ have already wasted eight of the Lady Black Cats’ nine lives.

Their demise would spell disaster for the WSL’s stated aim of widening England’s talent base – with the nearest top-flight club in Manchester.

AT the moment, any spindly-legged 13-year-old who does more than three keepy-uppies at her ‘Regional Talent Centre’ is whisked into the England setup. That puts her on the radar of all the top clubs.

There are NO hidden gems any more and it’s all in danger of becoming a stage-managed procession. A bit too predictable.

In the old Championship Manager 2 video games you could resort to the ol’ cheat codes. Stick Gabriel Batistuta and Romário up front, with Andreas Möller ‘in the hole’ loading the bullets, and you wouldn’t go far wrong.

Which was fun… for a while, until it got boring. Yet the FA expect folk to open their wallets and fund perennial WSL also-rans in an equally lopsided arrangement.

Let’s get real. Not even BPL clubs – notorious financial basket cases – or guys with the intelligence and maturity of Ray Trew will keep picking up the tab in those circumstances.

Maybe THAT’S the underlying issue here?