Football’s Tweeters Have Lost Their Credibility

Do footballer's use twitter too much?Eden Hazard’s protracted transfer to the Premier League may be to Chelsea’s gain but his behaviour on twitter has highlighted the ever changing nature of modern day footballers.

The Belgian is this summer’s blockbuster signing and has attracted the attention of Europe’s top sides but his constant indecisiveness has led to fans questioning his integrity. Should professional footballers really be allowed to arrogantly flirt with every club under the sun?

The latest is Hazard has apparently signed for Chelsea, something the club are yet to officially confirm, but he’s previously claimed his future lies in Manchester be it City or United and he even suggested Tottenham Hotspur back in February. No doubt his agent works hard behind the scenes to facilitate any potential deals but Hazard has decimated any form of confidentiality by using social media to publicise details. It’s led to continued speculation over his eventual destination and is fuelled by his ambiguity.

The increasing popularity of social media has given footballers an outlet to express their thoughts and opinions directly to their followers. It can be a useful tool in narrowing the gap between celebrity and Joe Public but has led to players over stepping the bounds.

Hazard has used his account to court various teams. He claims he’s joining one then circumstances change and he wants to join another. Like a kid in a candy store he’s clearly thrilled by having to choose between so many exciting options but until Lille agree a fee and a team actually offers him terms, is it right that he can openly tease fans with possible outcomes while unable to confirm anything?

Twitter seems to be Hazard’s preferred method of self promotion and the latest trend to consume the internet has led to people debating its value in today’s society. Arsene Wenger was unmoved.

“It can be very good and very bad. If it can be a positive image of the club [that’s OK], it also can be bad,”

The Arsenal manager has a point. No one minds hearing what their favourite player had for breakfast but controversial topics often rear their ugly head. West Ham’s Danny Gabbidon was charged by the FA for a Tweet aimed at Hammers fans after they lost to Bolton. He wrote:

“U know what, f**k the lot of you, u will never get another tweet from me again, you just don’t get it do you. Bye bye”.

It’s something the governing bodies will have to deal with as social media becomes more widespread. Fans love to hear what their beloved stars are doing but as more and more clubs are finding out, there must be guidelines in place to limit the amount of sensitive information being discussed. As a recently invented saying goes, ‘twitter doesn’t kill people; people kill people’. If users are sensible they can create a positive forum for their followers but if they use their account unwisely they can easily cause offence and risk the wrath of their superiors and also the public.

Most fans will agree that players are arrogant and self promoting. They pimp their rides with bling and lead celebrity lifestyles that reaffirm their egotistical superiority. It’s not necessarily a criticism for their confidence plays a major role in their successful careers but it means they must be responsible when given a mouthpiece to the world. Darren Bent illustrated how important is is for players to have boundaries when he publicly criticised Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and forced a move Sunderland. The England forward wrote:

“Seriously getting p***** off now. Why can’t anything be simple? It’s so frustrating hanging round doing jack s***.

“Do I wanna go Hull City NO. Do I wanna go Stoke NO do I wanna go Sunderland YES so stop f****** around, Levy. Sunderland are not the problem in the slightest.”

Bent was reprimanded by Tottenham for disrespecting his superior but the topic was already in the public eye and he eventually moved to the Stadium of Light. It may be understandable that the striker felt frustrated by a long-drawn-out transfer but is spitting the dummy out the best way to keep fans informed? How are Hull and Stoke meant to react to an unprovoked attack?

As flattering as it must be to have a host of teams chasing your signature, it doesn’t warrant the arrogant way players try to tempt prospective buyers. Sadly it illustrates an ever increasing shift in player power that if left unmonitored will lead to social media becoming an unrestricted voice of football.

Players like Bent and Hazard may argue they’re merely keeping followers informed but their comments actually affected their transfers. After all Bent got his preferred move and Hazard opened the door to Chelsea once he knew they’d qualified for the Champions League. It allows players to dictate their futures and has given them more control than the clubs holding their contracts.

Some clubs are starting to police their players social media antics in order to pre empt controversy but currently there are no rules to stop players saying whatever they like. Clearly they need to be censored or fans will lose patience with players like the Belgian boy who keeps crying wolf.

Do you think players should be banned from using twitter? Does social media improve the relationship between players fans? Should it be monitored by an authority?

Let me know your views and opinions by following me on twitter – Tweet me@Alex_Churcher

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