The 12 Fails of Christmas: Day 5 – Making a right hash of it

Say what you like about Andy, but you can never accuse him of not being environmentally-friendly. He LOVES to recycle stuff.

‘I spent days on that’

Howell claimed on Twitter he ‘spent days on’ an article on regional attendances, whilst his colleague Simon Thomas added he did ‘a hell of a lot of research’ for it (looking up attendance figures appears to be the limits in terms of as far as Howell’s research goes).

You’ve got to assume they were joking though, as the piece was just a modified rehash of an article 2 years beforehand on the exact same subject. Not only the overall message had a remarkable resemblance, but sections of the article were word for word so similar it left strong suspicions of copy and pasting. See a few parts of the articles below and try and see if you can spot the similarities between the work …

In 2014 Howell wrote: “When the Blues, Ospreys, Scarlets and Dragons were first formed in the summer of 2003, then Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Moffett gave them the target of attracting an average home gate of 8,000.”

… and previously in 2012 wrote: “Then WRU chief executive David Moffett gave each of them the target of attracting an average home gate of 8,000 when they were formed in the summer of 2003.”

In 2014: “The Blues hold the best average home attendance of the regional era, 15,108, when they reached the semi-final of Europe’s Heineken Cup in 2008-09. That figure includes matches staged against Gloucester and Toulouse at the Millennium Stadium, but not the 40,000-plus who attended the semi-final with Leicester, because it was classed as a “neutral” venue.”

… in 2012: “They hold the best average home attendance of 15,108, when they reached the semi-final of the Heineken in 2008-09. That figure includes matches staged against Gloucester and Toulouse at the Millennium Stadium, but not the semi with Leicester, because it was classed as a “neutral” venue.”

In 2014: “The Dragons never got to the knockout stage of the Heineken Cup and next term are again in Europe’s new second-tier tournament for a fifth campaign since coming into existence.”

… in 2012: “The poor Dragons? They have never got to the knockout stage and this term are in Europe’s second-tier Amlin Challenge Cup for a third campaign since coming into existence.”

In 2014: “The Ospreys had an average gate of 8,910 during the 2012-13 campaign, coming on the back of a magnificent Pro12 final triumph over then Heineken kings Leinster in Dublin, and an extraordinary value-for-money season-ticket deal.”

… in 2012: “Ospreys’ average fell from 9,855 to 7,314 last term but the stunning Pro12 form which saw them trump Heineken kings Leinster in a thrilling final in Dublin, backed up by an almost unbelievable season ticket offer saw some nearly 9,400 memberships already being sold for this campaign.”

And to finish here was ‘Andy Howell’s conclusion’ in the two articles …

In 2014: “When you look back at past attendances in Wales, and the flourishing of the Irish, the thing that is glaringly obvious is that big crowds come on the back of on-field success. That’s why Leinster’s average home gate in competitions rose to 20,782 in 2012-13 and 21,081 last season. Their figure of 28,137 in Europe last term is higher than a number of Premier League football sides, including Swansea City.”

… in 2012: “The proof is in the pudding they say, namely success on the field. That’s why the Ospreys’ season-ticket sales have gone through the roof and Heineken kings Leinster were the best-supported team in European club rugby last term with an average home gate of a staggering 26,152, which was higher than a number of Premiership football sides, including Swansea City.”

So the supposed ‘hell of a lot of research’ amounted to tallying up attendance figures and spending ‘days’ on an article with a fair trace of copy and paste about it. But then that isn’t surprising, as Howell rarely offers much original research, and regularly rehashes articles giving the buttons ‘CTRL’ + ‘C’ + ‘V’ on his keyboard a workout, instances of this year include rehashing pieces from the likes of Ronan O’Gara (duly ridiculed by Mark Orders), or directly copy and pasting ‘Hook should play 10′ piece by John Taylor off ESPN Scrum.

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