Yesterday, Jose Enrique was fined £100,000 for slagging off Newcastle's
transfer policy on Twitter.
The left-back tweeted: "The club is allowing all the major
players of the team to go. Seriously, do you think it is the fault of the
players? Andy [Carroll], nobby [Kevin Nolan] etc etc. This club will never
again fight to be among the top six again with this policy."
He then accused the club
of lying "all the time". Oops.
Unsurprisingly, Toon manager Alan Pardew described the medium as
"dangerous" and advised players to count to 10 before bad-mouthing
Also yesterday, Mick McCarthy revealed that some twit (Greg
Halford, for those keeping score at home) scuppered Wolves's attempt to sign
Steve Sidwell by announcing it on Twitter.
was having a fitness test the next day and his agent gets a call from Mark
Hughes and he signs for Fulham," McCarthy moaned.
they put a team selection up, which I'm sure some disgruntled numpty will do,
they will be in trouble."
However both managers admitted that, much as Twitter gives them a headache,
they are powerless to ban it.
Here are players, away from the agents and press officers,
bashing their every thought into a Blackberry and broadcasting it to the world.
It sounds like a recipe for disaster, and the above stories show
how things can go wrong.
But, remarkably and overwhelmingly, the 'footballers on Twitter'
phenomenon has been a massive success.
When Jose Enrique's team-mate Joey Barton went on Twitter, Early
Doors clenched its buttocks so hard they transformed into diamonds. Here was a
famously outspoken ex-convict with a troubled family history exposing himself
to the full unhinged wrath of the internet.
And yet, improbably, it has worked.
Barton has reinvented himself as a Nietzsche-quoting,
Smiths-loving hipster - albeit a hipster who has popularised the hashtag
#helmets, mocked Ed Miliband's lisp and asked the immortal question: "'Japs'
how is that racist?"
Above all, though, Barton has emerged as a thoughtful, complex
character - hardly a saint, but a three-dimensional human a world away from the
cartoon villain portrayed in the media.
It seriously makes ED think Mario Balotelli should go on Twitter
as a response to having his life chopped into a sequence of outlandish and often
What better way to debunk the public image of a surly teenager than with a few self-deprecating
tweets - 'Car towed away again LOL! Gaffer gonna kill me ;-)'
It is a powerful tool. Wayne Rooney has over a million
followers, even though his tweets consist almost exclusively of tiresome,
Mind you, the Manchester United man performed a masterful PR job
when he had his hair implants done.
Rather than let the paps snap him, he merely posted a picture of
his newly-plugged bonce - and that was the shot seen around the world. Talk
about controlling the story.
The press is a little conflicted on Twitter - on one hand, there
are easy column inches to be filled in the unguarded asides of footballers
broadcasting their views without an agent or PR man on hand to sanitise them.
On the other, it threatens to made the traditional media
redundant. Who needs newspapers when sports stars can communicate directly with
the world at any time?
What Early Doors loves most is the way it has challenged the controlling
media management that suffocates the game - particularly the Premier League.
There is no place for platitudinous quotes and fawning interviews
when players are communicating directly with their fans, describing their
breakfast in great deal or publishing photos of race horses.
It is classic anti-PR. Much of it is irrelevant, boring and
self-serving - but it feels honest, and it tells us more about a player than
some ultra-polished vignette on TV.
What's more, it worked. Clubs feared that as soon as combustible
figures like Barton and Rooney went face-to-face with an often-hostile public,
all hell would break lose.
Yet, while there might have been the odd moment (Rooney inviting
some guy to United's training ground for a fight was a highlight), it has worked.
It turns out that footballers know more about social networking
than the PR men.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Nigel De Jong on Mario Balotelli's epic brain
fart: "It is frustrating and he has to iron out issues otherwise it
will be a waste of his talent. I've played with some strange characters in the
past so I have seen a couple of strange things but it's the first time I have
seen that." James Milner added: "Mario is Mario and he does some
strange things sometimes."
VIEW: A revamped Argentine first division championship devised for the
2012-13 season looks set to guarantee relegated giants River Plate a rapid
return to the top flight.
Monday, the Argentine Football Association announced it would unite the teams
from the country's top two divisions into one next year, combining all 20 from
the top flight and 16 or 18 from the second tier.
Yes - that's a possible 38-team
COMING UP: They've already
kicked off their SPL title defence, now Rangers are in Champions League action.
Rangers v Malmo UK time.