Almost exactly a week after Ashley Cole's splenetic reaction to the regulatory commission's written reasons for John Terry's punishment for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, Chelsea team-mate Ryan Bertrand turned the air blue with an ill-judged reaction to suggestions a mere sore throat had ruled him out of Friday night's game against San Marino. This ensured Thursday's press conference saw a rather bemused Roy Hodgson quizzed about Twitter etiquette once more.
The England national team's new code of conduct — approaching the status of an oxymoron in the orgy of sin, greed and shame that is English football, where offences are frequent and repercussions rare — is on the horizon according to Football Association chairman David Bernstein and should help curb the Twitter Tourette's afflicting our elite players.
But until strict procedures are issued to help England's players avoid embarrassment on social networks — Andy Carroll will surely be instructed to discontinue his Bebo page immediately — Early Doors feels a bit of guidance is required, particularly in the field of hashtags. After all, this is the tricky art which, when abused, saw both Cole and Bertrand land themselves in trouble.
However, used properly, footballers' hashtags can be Twitter's most enjoyable feature, little nuggets of gold ready to be sieved out of the constant stream of effluent springing from the keyboards of millions of One Direction fans and dreadful parody accounts.
So, consider this to be an 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves'-style bible for any aspiring footballers hoping to expand their brand potential via social networking (looking at you here, Mr Cleverley). And if in any doubt, just remember David Cameron's famous advice that "too many tweets make a t***t". Mind you, he joined recently too, so quite what that says about him is another question. Anyway, here are a few pertinent case studies to get your teeth into…
#BUNCHOFT**TS (Ashley Cole)
The ultimate Twitter faux pas. Publicly slagging off your employers is never the wisest move, but to label them a collective of female genitalia is desperately unwise, even for a man with a sideline in shooting interns and cheating on the nation's sweetheart. At one stage Cole's astounding tweet appeared to be on course for a retweet record, racking up over 17,000, only for a crafted apology and belated deletion to stem the controversy, albeit only slightly. The lesson here? Don't use graphic sexual language to describe someone who holds your career in their hands. That should really be obvious, but remember, this is a guide for your average footballer.
#yourf*****gnuts (Ryan Bertrand)
#lovedmytime (Grant Holt)
The Norwich striker's tweets are usually somewhat hard to decipher, but the wording of his tweet in June was unambiguous and devastating, and sent shockwaves through East Anglia. Well, the portions of it with internet access at least. Spelling abuses aside — littered as it was with more sics than Freshers' Week - it was the hollow nature of the claim to have enjoyed himself at the club he was formally asking to leave that felt like a kick to the nuts. Basically, if you are going to tweet your transfer request, do it properly (see S Fletcher, below), and don't just end up staying anyway. #stilllovingmytime.
#imascapegoat (Jay Bothroyd)
#headsgone (Steven Fletcher)
#GHETTOJUICE (Nile Ranger)
#thankmumforfreshsheets (Max Clayton)
#decodingbantertips (Marvin Sordell)
There you have it then, a comprehensive guide to hashtag etiquette, and after all that we didn't even mention the #helmet himself.
(With thanks to @JamesDallESPN, @JamesMawFFT, @Callum_TH, @JackPittBrooke and @jonbirchall)
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I'm happy to explore my possibilities and share my knowledge and experience with Barnet Football Club. I am very excited about the challenge ahead." - Well, not so much the quote itself, as someone joining Barnet is hardly groundbreaking, but the person who said it: former Netherlands, Barcelona, Ajax and Juventus star Edgar Davids. Six domestic league titles, one domestic cup, a Champions League and a UEFA Cup are clearly not enough to sate the hunger of the dreadlocked midfielder, who now fancies a shot a battling for League Two survival. Even more incredibly, he has been named player-manager.
FOREIGN VIEW: "Jeremy!" "He's called Christophe!" - Admittedly, Paris Saint Germain defender Christophe Jallet isn't the most high-profile player in European football, but you might have thought Patrice Evra would know who he was. However, after shouting his 'name' in training with the French national side at Clairefontaine yesterday, it took Franck Ribery to make a quick introduction and smooth things over.
COMING UP: England should really run up a cricket score when they face San Marino, officially the world's worst side, at Wembley in a World Cup qualifier tonight. That kicks off at 8pm, while we also have live text commentary on the qualifiers between Wales and Scotland and Ireland and Germany at 7.45pm. At lunch we reveal the winner of our Goal of the Week poll, while Jim White also files his latest column.
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