Some of the most controversial footballers have been venting their over-paid spleens for some time now. This spring, the tweeting has hit fever pitch among the football Twitterati, which includes Carlton Cole, Michael Owen, Rio Ferdinand and Cesc Fabregas.
@cesc4official used his Twitter account to state that an article printed recently misquoted and twisted his words about Arsenal's aims for the future.
@Kevindaviesbwfc is more innocuous in his tweets than he is with his tackling. He apologised publicly on Twitter for his team's performance in the FA Cup semi final against Stoke where Bolton were thrashed 5-0. In the other semi final, @rioferdy5 apologised for losing his temper after Manchester United's loss to City at Wembley, when Mario Balotelli celebrated by showing the Man City badge towards United supporters after the final whistle. This makes a pleasant change from the usual inane banter he has with @RobbieSavage8 who is on Twitter more than he is on the pitch these days.
Moving on from that defeat, @themichaelowen expressed his disappointment at Newcastle United fans for booing him on his return to St James' Park. This followed congratulating Jack Wilshere on his Young Player of the Year award by spelling his name wrong with a rogue T in the middle. @jack_wilshere himself took to his Twitter account to announce the birth of his first child and said he would support it even though he is no longer with the mother.
@Carlton9Cole made jokey, yet inappropriate, remarks regarding immigration following the England-Ghana game and has since taken back his barbed comment, again on Twitter, and offered to donate his £20,000 fine to a Ghanaian children's charity.
Rangers forward El-Hadji Diouf doesn't have an official Twitter account but he's never far away from controversy and his latest comment, which has been heavily retweeted, is that he feels sorry for Colonel Gadaffi. The Senegal striker said: "Gaddafi is a man I have always admired. I am telling the truth. I know him, and I know his son Saif well. They are my friends." He added: "I do not honestly know what is really happening in Libya at the moment but it must be very hard for Gaddafi and his family."
Cole, who is usually more media-savvy than Diouf, commented about the large number of Ghana fans at Wembley for the friendly international. He tweeted: "Immigration has surrounded the Wembley premises! I knew it was a trap! Hahahaha." He continued: "The only way to get out safely is to wear an England jersey and paint your face w/ the St. George's flag!"
Cole's fine is twice that handed to @RyanBabel, who while at Liverpool earlier this year posted a mocked-up picture of referee Howard Webb wearing a Manchester United shirt following their defeat at Old Trafford.
PFA wary of social media
Following the verdict on Cole, the PFA's deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes urged his members to take care when using social networking sites. He stated on the PFA's website: "This case, along with the recent Ryan Babel case, highlights the need for players to be vigilant when using social media. It is ironic that at a time when players are accused of being distant and out of touch with supporters that attempts to communicate can bear such potential sanctions. The PFA holds the view that whilst the use of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, can be useful and an inevitable communication vehicle in these times, clear guidelines need to be applied. We would advise players not to stop tweeting but to bear in mind that this is not an intimate private conversation but a medium open to a potentially wide audience."
Earlier this year, Darren Bent received death threats via his Twitter account @DBTT39 following his big £24million move from Sunderland to Aston Villa and more recently, @AaronLennonpsl (Spurs)– dismissed Harry Redknapp's claim that he rested the player because he was unwell before the ill-fated 1st leg against Real Madrid.
So, who on Twitter could manage this unruly bunch? Maybe it could be the fictional @TheBig_Sam. Sometimes, however, fact is stranger than fiction and reporting pundit @chris_kammy is such a likeable character with such a lack of self awareness that his comments couldn't be made up. Twitter needs people like him - perhaps more than he needs it himself.