The boom in social networking has been a Godsend for most, it has been responsible for people finding lost friends and family as well as providing an easy way to keep in contact with existing ones.
Although it has been a revelation in the social world, when it comes to sport it hasn’t gone down a storm.
Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes landed himself in hot water during the Ashes when he revealed he had been left out for a test game on his Twitter page and in football both Darren Bent and Ryan Babel have used the site to publicly air problems with their clubs.
Darren Bent was fined two weeks wages by then employers Tottenham for ‘inappropriate remarks’ as he used expletives to vent frustration as a move away from White Hart Lane failed to materialise whilst just last week Ryan Babel revealed on his page,
“Hey people, I got some disappointing news, I am not travelling to Stoke. The Boss left me out the squad. No explanation.”
prompting swift action from manager Rafa Benitez who had the post removed.
So this week it comes as no surprise that Manchester United have banned players from social networking. With the club in somewhat of a crisis the last thing they will want now is a scandal involving players. The ban has already seen the Twitter accounts of Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Darren Fletcher shut down, while the Facebook walls of Giggs and Rio Ferdinand have been wiped, and Wes Brown’s deleted completely. But is this the right move?
As more money floods into the game, we the fans become more and more separated from the players we cheer for every week. The fact that they earn more in a week than many of us will in a year is enough to build a barrier between us but sites like Facebook and Twitter break the wall down and allow us to interact and engage with players. It’s understandable that the club needs to protect it own interests but I’m pretty sure a strict code of conduct whilst using either Twitter or Facebook would have been sufficient rather than a total ban.
The move by United may seem a touch harsh and even Draconian but with the the current gloom that is hanging around the club it is right that the club has taken the precautionary measure it is just a shame that the move again raises the wall between us and the players that we support so fervently.