Top 5 Social Networking Gaffes

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that footballers are only human. They laugh like us, cry like us, and enjoy killing time social networking just like us. Therefore, it should come as no surprise when footballers make the odd gaff online. Like an angry girlfriend whose man has been tagged getting a lap dance, employers are frequently disciplining their staff for internet based sins. So here are the Premier League’s top 5 social networking gaffes in all their glory…

5. Jozy Altidore – Altidore, an ardent Twitter user, couldn’t contain his delight when he signed for Hull City on loan from Villarreal on 5 August 2009. Twitter followers were constantly kept abreast of developments through the young American’s Blackberry:

“First match is against chelsea subject to a work permit *wink* *wink* lol thanks for the support”.

However, the American international found himself in hot water with Hull City manager Phil Brown, after the American announced on Twitter why he had been dropped for Hull’s 0-0 draw with Portsmouth at the KC Stadium:

“Apologise to all of you. I showed up late. Made a big mistake I’m very very sorry.”

A touching sentiment? Phil Brown didn’t think so, and was furious with Altidore for disclosing club secrets, telling the BBC:

“That for me is information that stays in house. The reason he wasn’t on the bench was our business.”

Come on Phil, get with the 21st Century. If you haven’t got Twitter, you’re a nobody. Next time you have a problem, deal with it like a man, set up an account, and tweet it to the world rather than the BBC. Who’s watching the beeb anyway? We’re all on Twitter having the time of our lives!

4. Nathan Baker – Aston Villa are back at Wembley for the first time in 10 years, and the fans are now scrambling to secure their seats for the Carling Cup final. If you still need a ticket, give Aston Villa youngster Nathan Baker a call, because apparently, he’s selling.

The 18 year old Aston Villa defender was trying to sell his five-ticket allocation for the Carling Cup final on Facebook for £1000. The club was alerted to Baker’s attempted online auction, and released the following statement:

‘The club is saddened that Nathan has been so foolish. All of the players were made aware that tickets for the Carling Cup final are available for their own use only’.

It sounds like Baker was just using his initiative, what the hell was he going to do with five seats? I suppose if the match was boring he could have taken a quick nap. What was really ’sad’ about the whole sorry episode was that it was played out over Facebook. Seriously Nathan, who uses Facebook anymore? I bet it’s just you and that other Twitter virgin Phil Brown tagging each other in photos. Grow up mate.

3. Ryan Babel – Babel’s had a difficult season at Liverpool so far, making just 13 appearances in the league, and 10 of those have been as a substitute. With all the extra time on his hands, it’s no wonder the Dutch winger has been on Twitter so much. However, Babel won’t exactly endear himself to Rafael Benitez by going on Twitter and criticising the Spaniard’s selection policy. On 16th January this year, Benitez announced the squad for Liverpool’s away fixture at Stoke City to the players early. To his dismay, Babel found he was not even named in the squad. Ryan took his anger out on Benitez the only way he knew how. Twitter. In a whole host of tweets, Babel got things off his chest:

“The Boss left me out… No explanation”

“What happened after a first good season? Scoring 10 goals, being young talent of the year, and then second and this season don’t play at all?”

“One day, you will see what I’m capable off (sic), will it be at LFC or somewhere else…I have faith.”

Well Ryan, if you keep coating your manager off on Twitter, I’ve got a feeling it’ll be somewhere else.

2. Mark Bright – Ok, so Mark Bright doesn’t play the beautiful game anymore, but the former Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday really stitched himself up a few weeks ago, and is worthy of the top 5. The BBC pundit, who currently works as a summariser on Radio 5 Live and Match of the Day 2, also covered the African Cup of Nations in Angola in January. However, Brighty put his job in jeopardy when the BBC received complaints with regard to Bright’s Twitter account. Bright felt it prudent to relay some of the chants permeating the terraces regarding John Terry’s misdemeanours. The Wednesday after the News of the World broke the story, Brighty tweeted:

“Chelsea wherever u may b Don’t leave ur wife with john terry”.

The chant went on to mock Terry’s mother and father, whilst also reminding us that Terry:

“Cried when he missed a penalty”.

Right, I don’t want to incur the wrath of all those right wing politically correct bores out there, but on Twitter there is a 140 character limit. Why did no one think to praise Bright for fitting in the entire chant? Doesn’t seem fair to me.

Bright posted a follow-up message swiftly after this tweet, stating:

“After 4,362 tweets, 6984 followers, apologies to JT & Bridgy if offended, error of judgement from me, thank u all 4 the banter, im gone”.

Wise move by Bright, but thanks for the memories.

1. Darren Bent – Darren has sadly, for all those who followed the former England ace, left Twitter. The Guardian led with the story yesterday, amidst hoards of crying teenagers, burning their lap tops and deactivating their accounts.

It appears that Sunderland were growing increasingly worried about the frankness of DB’s tweets, and subsequently asked him to close his account. Bent told the Guardian

“Twitter became a distraction I didn’t need, I thought I would concentrate fully on the football. People were writing stories in the papers about me from what I put on Twitter – there was a lot made of it.”

It would be possible to feel sorry for Darren if he hadn’t brought attention to his Twitter account in the first place, telling his former chairman Daniel Levy to stop “f****** around”. Last July, Bent was growing increasingly frustrated at the length of time it was taking Levy to wrap up his transfer to Sunderland. Bent informed followers on the site:

“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.”

Good tactic Darren. You want to secure a move, so obviously the best way to go about getting it is to rant about the man who holds the key to your transfer on a public forum. The thing is, Bent always seemed like a nice chap, who knew he was so foul mouthed?

Bent’s account may be closed now, but the memory of someone telling Daniel Levy to stop F****** about will remain with us forever, and made Bent’s Twitter account worthwhile.

Let us hope that not all footballers follow Bent’s lead, and deactivate their accounts. It just wouldn’t be the same if we couldn’t get all the gossip straight from the horse’s mouth. I can just imagine Fabio Capello’s next tweet at the England training camp.

“Oh s***, Bridgey jus took out JT in trainin, proper kickd off, im ina right old mess. B******* f***** S***. C u lot l8er”

Incidentally, you can follow me on Twitter, http://www.twitter.com/mark0turner