An eloquent and intelligent footballer with above average communication skills is a rarity. Anybody familiar with post game interviews is also familiar with the deluge of cliches and bland platitudes that are at their core.
This of course is understandable, especially when you’ve just run about 8 km in a mentally and physically demanding sport or when emotions are running high over a perceived injustice. The same cannot be said for communicating over Twitter.
Twitter is a wonderful thing and is as addictive as it is fun. Within the sphere of professional football it gives fans an opportunity to communicate with players whom increasingly live in another stratosphere to that of the ordinary fan. I am very much in the camp of never meet your heroes as they will hardly never live up to your expectations, why destroy the myth I say.
Some footballers have had an awful time on the social media network through no fault of their own. Darron Gibson had to take down his Twitter account in 2011 within just 2 hours of putting it up, his crime? Not being deemed good enough to play for Manchester United.
James McClean took down his Twitter account after the reaction he received to professing his love for the Wolfe Tones. As a man from Derry who has courted controversy over his perfectly reasonable refusal to wear the poppy, you would have thought someone should have told him discretion was the better part of valour. Personally it is the quality of the Wolfe Tones rather than their republican credentials that I find more off putting.
Most recently Andy Keogh ended a Tweet about his omission from the Ireland squad with the hashtag #noloyalty. Keogh quickly backtracked and said that was not what he meant. A player of Keoghs quality with 30 appearances and just 2 goals should be more careful with his Tweets especially as Trapattoni does not seem to be the forgiving type.
From a young age these footballers are given a degree of media training to ensure their feet connect with footballs and not their mouths. Agents exert control and pull strings but, as I’m sure we can all testify to, there’s no accounting for boredom and access to the internet.