SOCIAL media has been at the forefront of football chat yet again this week.
Some will think footballers and social media just do not mix, and that they would be better off without it. I am 50-50 on the matter.
As much as the racism and the nonsense get a lot of the headlines, as it rightly should, there are still the stories of young kids who can interact with their favourite player and you see players giving out boots and other gifts, all based off social media.
If these players received hand-written letters and had to reply to all of them, there would be about ten thousand a day. You wouldn’t be able to do it.
Social media gives idiots a voice, that’s the negative.
But at the same time — and I am going to sound like a whiny footballer here — social media, and the ability to interact with people on it, is a normal thing to want to have.
Everybody else has it, so why can’t footballers?
That doesn’t mean you have to be on it all the time and post every single thing that you do, but you are allowed to be normal, a human being who enjoys social media.
It is a strange one. You see players having the odd drink now and again.
They don’t do it because they’re alcoholics or they’re unprofessional, but because they just want to be normal people and socialise.
I have been around it. Lads who don’t even drink just want to be around friends and music. They just want a nice life and be liked. And yet they get punished and judged for it.
It’s similar to those players on social media. The majority of them don’t post loads, they just want to see what’s going on.
It is where most young people get their news from nowadays, or to catch up on what’s going on with different family members.
Occasionally, players want to control a story.
They read so much s*** about themselves on socials that they sometimes want to set the record straight, and that’s fine.
We are getting into a really strange space where we are going to end up shunning players from the outside world.
We wanted them to be more open and to be part of normal conversations with fans more.
They rarely spoke, we never knew what they liked and disliked and never understood their thoughts and feelings.
It feels like we are going back to that. There is the separate issue of family members getting in trouble on social media, like Silva’s wife at Chelsea before she later apologised.
I feel we need to educate and support those around us more.
There needs to be more explained and taught with the meetings from the PFA, but Thiago probably had no clue what his wife had done until he got home and people had begun asking questions.
She should not have done it, but it’s an overreaction to an out-of-the-blue post.
Poch says he spoke with Thiago. I can imagine that conversation didn’t last long, sorted out within seconds, because ultimately it is not that big a deal.
You take away that ability to have impulse emotions on socials and players go back to being robots. Emotionless figures we cannot relate to.
Toney does this brilliantly on socials. He calls out racists, as he should do, in the right way by expressing himself, not fearing a backlash by doing so.
What we want footballers to be is open, honest, and responsible — so let’s stop trying to control them too much, especially on socials.