Normally we'd be the last to get involved in any of that 'social networking' carry on, but we really love Twitter. Sadly, the English FA take a dim view and see only evil in a 'tweet'. Here's David Bevan.
Roll up, roll up. We’re breaking down barriers here. We’re treading new ground. We’re putting Jimmy Saville out of business. Remember when you had to crack out your quill and scribble a missive in order to get in touch with your celebrity heroes? Failing that, you had to rely on old Jim to fix it for you. No more. Gone is the age of Saville. We have ushered in the era of Savage. I’m talking, of course, about Twitter.
Admittedly, Sir James Wilson Vincent Saville OBE hasn’t been fixing an awful lot recently and to suggest that social media has directly impacted upon the man’s television career is clearly as wide of the mark as the average Ryan Babel pile driver. However, Saville and Babel share more than a love of bling. They are both men of the idiots. Sorry, people. They are both men of the people.
We’ll leave Sir James in the past, where I imagine he is quite happy to potter about philanthropically and focus instead on the actions of Liverpool’s Dutch destroyer (of corner flags, advertising hoardings and the faces of back-row Koppites).
Young Ryan has been a bit foolish and opted to put his Twitter account and Photoshop skills to splendid use by mocking up a picture of the poetically-named World Cup Final referee Howard “don’t be stepping up to me, I’ll give a dodgy penalty” Webb MBE in a Manchester United shirt. I haven’t seen this particular work of art and I’m sure it puts Monet to shame. But where water lilies meet liver birds, the lily-livered cannot be far behind.
Step forward the Football Association, who have charged Babel with improper conduct for his actions. The words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, often wrongly attributed to Voltaire, spring to mind.
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Well, maybe not death. And I doubt I’d have to do an awful lot of defending given that, well, it’s Ryan Babel. Nevertheless, haven’t the FA got anything better to do? “But he’s bringing the game into disrepute!”, the dullards cry.
The game is the fans. And we can make our own minds up, thank you very much.
Is the game not being brought immeasurably further into disrepute by the arrogant two-footed tackle of Steven Gerrard or the collapsible furniture stylings of Dimitar Berbatov? It seems that Twitter is a conversation for everyone – except footballers.
Like it or not, sweet FA, these people are your lifeblood and the reason we love the game. The suggestion that Howard Webb is a Manchester United fan may border on lunacy, but at least it shows, for want of a better word, a bit of oomph. We all hate losing to our bitter rivals. Any views expressed on a Twitter page are those of the individual and are not associated in any way with Liverpool Football Club. Everyone’s happy. We move on.
I used to get frustrated by the lack of insight into what footballers’ lives were like at any time other than 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. Now, I know. They sit around playing Call of Duty – Black Ops all day and moan about having to train in the rain. Accessibility in vain, then. But wade through the quagmire of tedious “banter” with their fellow professionals (again, their prerogative and my own stupid fault for following) and you come across some genuinely fascinating glimpses.
Don’t drive footballers away from Twitter. We would have found it so much more difficult to learn of the charitable work of Bolton Wanderers captain Kevin Davies or Swansea and Wales defender Ashley Williams, for example.
Let footballers hang themselves with a noose of stupidity, by all means. But keep your noses out. We can decide for ourselves whether we want to pay any attention to their ramblings.
Don’t you have anything better to do? On second thoughts, don’t answer that...
David is site editor for the thoroughly excellent theseventytwo.com.
If you aren't on twitter yet, please don't be afraid, join us, you'll be glad you did! You can follow IBWM and David on Twitter @inbedwimaradona and @The72football