Freedman in a flap: This is not the way to tweet your club
6:00am Saturday 15th February 2014 in Sport
AFTER acting manager-gate and programme-gate, we got Twitter-gate. My how Wanderers could do with bringing the curtain down on a wretched week with three points at Millwall today.
Taken on their own, any one of those misdemeanours appears trivial. But taken as a set, and given the backdrop of Championship struggle in which Dougie Freedman’s team find themselves right now, they provide an unnecessary distraction.
One genuine printing error on last week’s team-sheet for the Bournemouth game that labelled Dougie Freedman as an “acting” manager was laughed off by the man himself. He’s got much bigger fish to fry.
And the programme article that supposedly provided Sean Dyche with ammunition for his pre-match team-talk before Tuesday night’s derby win at the Reebok was mildly controversial at best.
Had Burnley not taken three points it would not have got a mention, however cumbersome the wording in the story was perceived by the Clarets boss.
But the club, and in particular Freedman, could really have done without the series of silly tweets within a couple of hours of the game by young players who should know better.
Whether the word “curtains” was aimed in reference to the under-pressure manager or not, or how the subsequent exchange of messages and smiley faces was intended by the players involved, it should definitely all have been conducted out of the public eye.
Rob Hall and Sanmi Odelusi bore the brunt of fans’ anger in midweek with Josh Vela and Joe Riley rather guilty by implication.
But in what has become a modern pitfall for young footballers, you have to wonder what they were actually thinking.
Professionals like Stu Holden, Neil Danns and Andre Moritz manage to hold their tongue and yet still keep up a Twitter or Facebook account, and you hope that some lessons can be learned from the way they go about their online business.
Of the four accounts, only Josh Vela’s now remains, and that is a shame. Twitter does give fans an insight into the players’ lives and personalities and treated correctly, it can be a valuable communication tool – especially to young lads like the quartet in question.
But it can also be a very dangerous one indeed. Every single comment made can easily be misinterpreted and sadly, some people seem to exist solely to wind up people and players in the public eye, especially when things are not going right on the pitch.
You might actually question what value a Twitter account has to a footballer, whose psyche is so important to his livelihood – but then there has never been any accounting for fashion.
The response to Tuesday night’s tweets said a lot about the frustration and unhappiness there is around the club’s support at present. And the fans were right to demand answers from the football club.
Whether football’s many PR departments like it or not, Twitter is here to stay and if players choose to use it, they need to act responsibly and accept that it is a big wide world out there.
With times so tough on and off the pitch, you can only hope there is someone behind the scenes at Wanderers who is offering a calming word and telling everyone associated with Wanderers to be that extra bit careful.
Getting out of the current predicament will be a team effort, top to bottom.