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Footballers stop tweeting

By Simon Allen



LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Ashley Cole of England looks on from the bench in front of team-mate Joleon Lescott the FIFA 2014 World Cup Group H qualifying match between England and San Marino at Wembley Stadium on October 12, 2012 in London, England
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Ashley Cole of England looks on from the bench in front of team-mate Joleon Lescott the FIFA 2014 World Cup Group H qualifying match between England and San Marino at Wembley Stadium on October 12, 2012 in London, England

I'm not convinced about the usefulness of Twitter (my editor may disagree with me on this one!) It seems to get people into trouble more than anything else. Some people lose all of their senses on Twitter and go overboard. Don't get me wrong though, I love reading tweets, not for the informational stuff that gets bandied about but for the sheer commedia dell'arte-esque reactions that folks dole out as their opinions. I can only imagine the people who wake up in the morning just to get offended at something they read on Twitter and then immediately throw in their two cents. Il Dottore of the Twitterverse.

I remember reading someone in the Twitterverse questioning wether MSNBC's Alex Wagner was a real journalist. I laughed at that one after I read the comments. I wondered if the doubting-tweeter considered himself a journalist just because he had a “blog” of his own. Continuing with the same theme, Twitter-Scapinos are common. They start virtual fights on Twitter and then flee knowing that they are over their heads almost like Joey Barton. Twitter-Burrattinos who essentially follow other people and disagree with everything they disagree with. They're the best kind of soccer player to follow on Twitter but the main character in the commedia dell'arte Twitterverse is Pantalone which leads me to Ashley Cole, a character based on money and ego.

On Monday, The FA charged Ashley Cole with misconduct. What did he do? Beat up some locals outside of a nightclub? Pushed a ref? Smuggled a panda into the country? Cole tweeted some offensive opinions about the governing body's independent commission. The same independent commission that had used the word “evolving” when describing Cole's evidence in the John Terry racial abuse incident.

I guess this Tweet was the straw that broke the camels back for the FA because coming soon a Code of Conduct will be laid before the players in England which will have them all on a pretty short lead. It will run the gamut of general conduct of players when they represent the FA and when on duty for England. Somewhere in the Code will be rules and regulations regarding the use of social media.

“...If you're using Twitter when you're with the team you should do so in conjunction with the team's media officers. When you're not with the team...you should avoid any criticism of any organizations or individuals” said Managing Director of Club England. Adrian Bevington

Avoid criticism of any organizations or individuals? I thought criticizing organizations and individuals was the main reason Twitter was invented. From Michael Owen posting his boots to “remind” managers he was available to play to the guy in Kansas with a blog badmouthing everything he doesn't understand about the beautiful game, that's what Twitter is all about.

My opinion has been that Soccer players should stay off Twitter. No matter what happens, you eventually get yourself into trouble. There's always someone who will get offended at what you tweet and other than setting yourself up for critics to knock you down and helping hapless journalists who think reading tweets is entertaining, it does nothing truly beneficial for the club you represent. If I were a manager I would forbid tweets from the players on the squad. Ideally, players may just go back to the old fashioned way of expressing themselves by granting interviews, writing books and making appearances. I cannot wait to read the Code of Conduct when it is made available to me. I'm betting that it will have absurd parts to it. I'm sure I will have an opinion on it which I will Tweet @DalaiLamaSoccer.

What do you think?