Why Throw Away History?

The Web, History, Link-rot & Crawling Chaos

A Hockey Stick
A Hockey Stick, nothing to do with Climate Change

Again, while checking for link-rot, I came across a broken link on the Crawling Chaos website.  Specifically, it’s when I deal with our introduction to Factory Records and that I played with a hockey team called Northumbria alongside the Tyne Tees Television (TTTV) newsreader called Rod Griffith.

I included a referral link to their old website, http://www.warrm.demon.co.uk/history.htm.  This is now dead so I’ve used the Wayback Machine’s link from 2001 on the page instead.  Using a well known search engine (he he), I now find they are called Whitley Bay & Tynemouth Hockey Club with this website.

1902

It is definitely the same club as there’s another link to this website, a place-marker in a compendium of clubs that has a single piece of history on it – it says “founded 1902”!!

Disappointing

It’s actually more than disappointing, it’s very sad.  There’s a fair bit of history to the club and all they can publicly pronounce is “founded 1902″…   It should be more than this.  The Toon has a history page, only from WW2 mind, but it’s more than nothing.  Spurs like-wise, and it goes back to the 19th century!

It all adds to the guts of what makes a club.

It’s not hard to compile a history for the web.  Once someone has typed it out, it’s not going to change much is it?  It’s history!  The typed words can be copied anywhere.  Any, where.  Even here, say….

A Short History of Whitley Bay & Tynemouth Hockey Club (founded 1902)

From an article dated June 16, 2004 here.

Tynemouth Hockey Club has recently celebrated its centenary year. The club began life playing under the name of North Durham in 1902. At that time most of the players were clergymen who travelled to away games in a horse drawn carriage. Later in the century the club changed its name to Northumbria and played its home games at the Miners’ Welfare ground in the village of Backworth. The club made another move to North Shields where they became known as Tynemouth Hockey Club and played on the ground used by Tynemouth Cricket Club. In 1989 an astro pitch was laid at Wallsend Sports Centre so the club transferred itself to another new location but retained the name of Tynemouth Hockey Club.

In November 1997 Tynemouth Hockey Club moved from Wallsend Sports Centre to two new astro pitches at The Parks, North Shields.

Conclusion

Thanks to The Parks and Ali Gordon for corresponding with a gentleman from Inverness who has sent this photograph to the club. As far as we know it is the oldest surviving photograph that we possess. Durham North as the men’s team was originally called, began life in 1902. The first match was played on 18th October 1902 against Novocastrians. We lost 4-1!
Thanks to The Parks and Ali Gordon for corresponding with a
gentleman from Inverness who has sent this photograph to the club.
As far as we know it is the oldest surviving photograph that we
possess. Durham North as the men’s team was originally called, began
life in 1902. The first match was played on 18th October 1902 against
Novocastrians. We lost 4-1!

This is a very short history, but it’s better than the nothing that is currently shown.  I played for Northumbria (as it then was) at Backworth & Tynemouth from 1972 to around 1980, not too regularly, but enough to feel part of it.

There are some documents that are downloadable, but nothing that exposes the past to a wider audience.  They are nearly all either Word or PDF files!  Totally un-crawlable with the web search spiders.  For instance, in the newsletter for October 2015 here, we find this wonderful photo.

Because it’s wrapped inside a PDF file, no-one would ever know.

I’ve copied it, and the text, as a caption (I’ll pull it, if asked, but one has to consider if my reasons are valid first).  Now, I know my website will be crawled within a few minutes of me posting – this means that all the text will be available for all, the small amount of history from the original website too.

And the Novocastrians as mentioned in the photo?  Yep.  I played against them too.  It’s all fun and it’s a part of many folks’ lives especially in an age of increasing information and decreasing paper records.

This stuff needs to be public and kept else what is a society?  Sometimes looking and talking about history is very comforting.  It’s what some people do when they stop playing, since sport is for younger folks.

Now, because of my SEO skills and experience I can guarantee that if someone searches for Whitley Bay & Tynemouth Hockey Club, Backworth hockey, Tynemouth hockey, Rod Griffith or Novocastrians (say), this page will be there for all to find.

Recent Activity
Recent Activity

On top of that:

  • There seems to be no effort on the part of Pitchero who host the website or whoever else may maintain the website to keep links alive.  The site is riddled with 404s and inconsistencies.
  • Some document files are PDF, some are DOC, some are XLS files.  Some are links to a Pitchero login so are unavailable, except if you login with Facebook ffs!
  • A major part of a sports club is the fixture list.  Some links don’t point to where they should or else the template hasn’t been updated from the 2012-3 season.  Some are XLS files with the same info appearing on other webpages.

It is all a mess, primarily supporting the sponsors’ huge logos and it’s all very sad.  Maybe there’s some information overload for the webmaster, maybe it’s internal politics, maybe too many people have their fingers in the web pie?

It could be so much better, cleaner, consistent and useful to a club member.  I see Steve Troup just joined as a webmaster, hopefully he can tidy things up and get some club history sorted out!

Rant over.

 

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