All round splendid chap Ian Williams spotted a strange problem with Google Maps, and reported it via Twitter. We decided to investigate! For some reason, Google is listing UK footballer, Joe Cole, as being located in a small town in Pennsylvania:

Joe Cole is now a place in America

Try the search yourself. Our initial thought was that there must be some confusion between the name, and the area code 15136. But there was nothing obvious in the Wikipedia source, or elsewhere. Even more curiously, a search for a footballer with a similar name returned the same map location:

Joe Cole is now a place in America

Ashley Cole, you're in Pennsylvania too.

The "Cole Connection" led to the page below, which is a place in that area with Cole in its name:

Cole Associates, PA

What a name! The plot thickens. But even more curiously, we thought we'd try the following:

Google - footballer (100 results). A quick find on page for "show map" and now things are getting very strange:

Allan Clarke, welcome to America

The following other footballers may be surprised to hear of their new locations:

  • Chris James ( 23 Gibson Avenue, Carson City, NV 89701, USA)
  • Steve MacLean (5 Peters Street, Orono, ME 04473, USA)
  • David Campbell (18 South McClelland Road, Hamilton, MI 48847, USA)
  • Michael Flynn (8 Jones Road, Hanson, KY 42413, USA)
  • Campbell Brown (16 Fraser Avenue, Monticello, NY 12701, USA)
  • Ronnie Clayton (19 Smith Road, Charlton, MA 01507, USA)

So something is seriously wrong here. Bizarrely, a search for people from other sports didn't return any results. Perhaps with more digging we might find other unfortunates who've been whisked across the globe by Google Maps. 

As it stands, it may be something to do with the footballer template on Wikipedia, or something unrelated. Whatever it is, Google Maps rich snippets needs some bug squishing, and fast!

Have a dig around - and please post any clues you might find as to the cause of this!