Posts tagged Sir Alex Ferguson
Posts tagged Sir Alex Ferguson
The social network site, home to 300 million users, created in 2006, has allowed a closeness to the footballing world never experienced before: at least, not with such synchronicity. The quick, instant and concise characteristics of Twitter quickly attracted the attention of businesses, and football clubs rapidly followed, with many branching out to a global audience to promote themselves during recessionary times through this free method of communication, marketing and, most importantly and most valued, interaction.
The growth Twitter has experienced is undoubtedly down to, in large, the intimacy it provides the everyday person with its less everyday users, such as Piers Morgan, Rihanna and Rio Ferdinand: in its market, it is unrivalled on this selling point.
It has blessed the world of football kindly, too. In recent times, we’ve had: the overnight phenomenon that is @AnfieldCat, which has, since its creation in the immediate aftermath of a cat stopping play at Anfield during Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham, racked up over 60,000 followers; the ability to get instant access to England player’s views over the next England manager and captain, in such tweets as “Gutted capello has quit. Good guy and top coach. Got to be english to replace him. Harry redknapp for me (sp.)” and “For everyone asking i would love to be england captain. But thats upto new manager to decide. Gerrard is perfect choice for me (sp),” both from Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney; and lastly, but only indirectly strictly football related, are the parody accounts created on Twitter, which amass thousands of followers, look on the lighter side of what is sometimes a grim game and provide endless topical humour on the footballing world.
However, for all its positives, Twitter has a vile side when it comes to the relationships forged between the followers and the following: Manchester United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson slammed the social network site back in May, saying, “I don’t understand it…I don’t know why anybody can be bothered with …It is a waste of time,” having seen then Red Devils midfielder Darron Gibson axe his account having received numerous abusive Tweets from users of the site. Since May 2011, his views haven’t swayed too much, yet Rio Ferdinand’s following as well as Wayne Rooney’s, has since doubled: “I don’t know how to do these things….I’m not into that kind of stuff.”
Unfortunately, however, Darron Gibson wasn’t to be the first and last footballer to have to quit Twitter thanks to abuse. Although Newcastle striker Demba Ba wasn’t the direct recipient of racist Tweets, Peter Copeland, a 29-year old unemployed man living with his parents, still posted racist remarks concerning the Senegalese international: “With the number of darkies in your f**king team, you should be called the Coon Army.” Fortunately, for Ba’s 75,507 followers (myself included), Copeland’s case was adjourned for sentencing under breach of the Malicious Communications Act and the former West Ham striker has kept his Twitter account.
Yet, for Micah Richards, after three months of continual racist abuse, he did feel the need to close his account: “I did enjoy Twitter and the banter with the fans, but I didn’t like the abuse you get on it. Sometimes you want to retaliate, but you have to be the bigger man and not.” It’s a sentiment wisely expressed by a player that hasn’t always been the wisest and highlighted just how intimate Twitter can be: following a string of offensive Tweets in May 2011, Wayne Rooney threatened a respondent, seemingly unable to be “the bigger man,” but Rooney insists it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.
It’s a sad case that racism is still so prevalent in society, let alone football: however, when there have been numerous cases of racism in football itself, such as the on-going John Terry case and the Evra-Suarez saga, it is hardly surprising that the same behaviour is being replicated by so-called fans of the game. But, that is no excuse for such behaviour: so surely, some sort of moderation should be put in place to prevent such Tweets from ever being posted?
Take the recent Twitter abuse inflicted on Southampton’s January signing Billy Sharp for example: whilst Sharp was playing for Saints in their 1-1 away draw to West Ham on Valentine’s Day, a user who has since closed his account, like Copeland did, tweeted despicable and hateful comments directly to Billy Sharp. On October 29th 2011, Luey Jacob Sharp, Billy’s two-day year old son passed away due to Gastroschisis. @ChrisDRFCBoyd used this sad fact to taunt the Southampton striker with taunting jibes and sick comments. Surely moderation to prevent such comments from ever reaching users should be in place?
However, moderation takes time and, sadly, time is money and that is the selling point of Twitter: it is a free to use social networking site, valued by businesses for the service it provides in which companies can efficiently and instantaneously interact with the public and the same is said for footballers and their employees. Thisisfutbol editor, Harry Cloke says that for his website, Twitter is “pretty vital. In terms of creating a sense of community, creating discussion and controlling traffic it’s essential.”
The free promotion it provides has seen numerous football clubs rapidly take advantage to increase their social media presence and since it went big, English clubs have quickly dominated the scene with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United coming in at #5, #4 & #3 respectively, in the most followed clubs according to Facebook and Twitter: however, Real Madrid and Barcelona, in second and first place, is a harsh reminder that La Liga threatens to overshadow the Premier League.
So if moderation seems like an implausible possibility, surely Twitter can use a form of word filter, such as the ones utilised on forums, to prevent such offensive Tweets from being published?
Only time will tell. However, to challenge a concept favoured by one of Twitter’s more liberal users, Joey Barton, who’s love of freedom is clear in his posts, describing The F.A. as an “Orwellian institution,” when they requested he didn’t offer his predictions for Premier League games on Twitter, and stating he’d “gladly go to jail for a month, in the name of free speech,” I leave you with this:
Twitter allows the quick and easy access to a public domain in which freedom of speech is allowed: however, how long will it be before that freedom will inhibit others in their numbers, like it already has done to Micah Richards?
Is it time for football to give Twitter the red card, or is it too much of a crowd pleaser?
There was a point where this whole kerfuffle was becoming slightly tedious: Liverpool were literally turning their terrace chant into an all-abiding ethos, ensuring Luis Suarez would “never walk alone,” and the majority of everyone else was sternly on the side of Patrice Evra. An eight-match ban was given and the tedium truly set in, as a meek game of ping pong got underway with Liverpool stating they fully support Luis Suarez, Manchester United opposing such a stance, Luis Suarez offering some sort of pseudo-apology and Manchester United taking offence to such a half-hearted attempt. Luis Suarez’s return was hopefully going to break the tedium, draw a line under the set of events, as requested by Sir Alex Ferguson in his pre-game programmes notes at the weekend, and the rivalry between the two clubs could get back to purely football rather than two men seemingly both swathed in ignorance.
However, that was not to be: the lack of a handshake – something dodged, quite admirably in hindsight, by the F.A. in Q.P.R’s F.A. Cup tie against Chelsea – was enough to force football to take the back seat for the day and the next episode in the never-ending series of the Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez affair to take centre stage once more. Despite Kenny Dalglish’s feeble avoidance of the matter and Sir Alex Ferguson’s neutral stance in his post-match interview, although he did describe the Uruguayan as a “disgrace,” neither man has come out of the game with much dignity: but who will come out of the saga the worse for wear?
Before I start, I am not taking the side of Luis Suarez nor am I of Patrice Evra, I feel that both have acted sanctimoniously and ignorantly, whilst causing much dispute over the game as a whole.
The Uruguayan has made racist remarks - that is irrefutable: however, Luis Suarez is not a racist and that is where a case can be made for him; not one that excuses his insensitive behaviour throughout the saga, though. The F.A. commission found Luis Suarez to have made comments deemed racist and thus the eight-game ban: yet, the commission doesn’t believe he is a racist and it is here that inconsistency arises that may allow Suarez to feel wholeheartedly aggrieved by the matter, especially considering Patrice Evra’s despicable behaviour in the weekend’s game and Suarez’s belief that Patrice Evra hasn’t been wholly truthful throughout.
As well as the Uruguayan firmly believing that the Frenchman has engineered what is true (although Evra did admit referring to the former as “South American,” which could be deemed “offensive if taken as an implied slight against a regional identity” or with a sneer, but went unpunished), the way in which there has been no consistency in the handling of race-related issues that have sadly arisen during this season, could further aggravate Suarez.
Firstly, as briefly highlighted above, Patrice Evra wasn’t punished for his part in the exchanges – no matter how small; secondly, John Terry’s alleged slur, whilst causing just as much controversy and hindrance to the season, has again been treated differently, this time being handed over to the CPS, which will deal with the matter fully after Euro 2012; and lastly, Peter Copeland, who pleaded guilty to breaching the Malicious Communications Act by tweeting racist comments on social networking site Twitter, such as referring to Newcastle United as the “Coon Army,” in an unwitty observation of “the number of darkies” in Pardew’s side was punished, on the Chairman of the Bench’s advice, with just “medium level community order,” after the excuse of Copeland’s defence that, “he never intended his comments to reach a worldwide audience.”
The handshake was a chance to dispel the saga, weirdly appease Sepp Blatter and hopefully draw a line under the matter: however, it didn’t happen as Luis Suarez deftly avoided Patrice Evra’s hand and his further brattish behaviour on the sound of the half-time whistle did much to distract how he handled himself with dignity as he walked off the pitch at the end of each half, despite the actions of those around him, in particular Patrice Evra, whose full-time celebrations in front of the Uruguayan were tasteless and pious. How Luis Suarez fares from this prolonged saga will much depend on his media portrayal: but for him, he remains “disappointed because everything is not that it seems.”
Patrice Evra’s actions, though, were equally idiotic: had he simply let Luis Suarez pass, he could’ve held his head high, knowing he had offered his hand and that he had done no wrong. However, in grabbing his arm and acting hostile in doing so, and continuing to do so throughout the game – best exemplified in his and Rio Ferdinand’s combined efforts to clatter the Uruguayan - Evra has only aggravated the scenario further.
Some believe that Patrice Evra has conducted himself well: he was racially abused, he hasn’t received a direct and respectful apology and he still offered his hand to the man who insulted him: yet, regrettably so, there are more dimensions to both characters than simply one. Patrice Evra has acted petulantly once again in his career and it will divert attention away from the most important matter, as will Suarez’s actions. He has, on Sunday, issued an apology for not shaking his hand on Liverpool’s official site: “I should have shaken Patrice Evra’s hand before the game and I want to apologise for my actions,” but has it come too late?
If the saga regarding Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez is concerned only with racism, as portrayed from the viewpoint of the Frenchman, Suarez is in the wrong: but, if it’s taken from the stance of the Uruguayan, and is concerned with manipulating truth into a case the F.A. will mandatorily and immediately react to, to make example of, to gain an advantage over an opponent you have a grudge against, it is Patrice Evra who could be deemed disgraceful. Saturday’s events could be orchestrated to suit either party’s argument: but who will come out of the saga the worse for wear?
Liverpool created a monster and nobody wanted to see Luis Suarez anymore: however, in a fully cyclical kind of way, his return is as timely as a man with his finger delicately tapping his watch whilst ferociously chewing gum and looking at a man bewildered with the power his electronic board holds; this man is Sir Alex Ferguson.
As well as it being appropriate that he returns now, what with him having served his eight-match ban for racist abuse/ignorance of meaning and connotation/poor use of inter-linguistics – circle as you see fit or feel politically, socially or morally inclined to do so – towards Patrice Evra, it is also well-timed because we haven’t had racism and football instigating atmospheric pressure inside a teacup for a whole twenty-four hours.
The weekend served us well with its regular reminders that the modern game is fast becoming typical of the slap head fan of the 1970s donning a Shearling sheepskin jacket looking rather like English Frank, condemning all gays, blacks, women and children out of the game.
Firstly, Rio Ferdinand made the mistake of playing centre-back for Manchester United in a game against a club involved in a Crown Prosecution case, in the form of its team captain – although no longer the England captain, unless you’re Fabio Capello and then he’s still not the England captain in the physical form but possibly in spirit – John Terry. His punishment for such a crime, of course by means of being the brother of an alleged victim of racist abuse, was a chorus of boos from the Chelsea crowd. Yet, in true captain material, Ferdinand revealed it was “like fuel” to him, inspiring his side to emphatically come back from three goals down to Juan Mata ft. 10 other alleged footballers FC. Unfortunately, Rio doesn’t want to be England captain.
If that wasn’t enough race-related football news for you, a 29-year old football fan by the name of Peter Copeland, who looks a bit like Mike Ashley if the Toon owner had a beard and a bit more hair, pleaded guilty to breaching the Malicious Communications Act by tweeting racist comments on social networking site Twitter. His punishment for referring to Newcastle United as the “Coon Army,” in an unwitty observation of “the number of darkies” in Pardew’s side is likely to be punished, on the Chairman of the Bench’s advice, with just “medium level community order,” after the excuse of Copeland’s defence was that, “he never intended his comments to reach a worldwide audience.” We can expect the same for John Terry then, right?
In what I have been assured was not, in any way, a race-fuelled hate act, Emmanuel Frimpong has been ruled out until at least the beginning of next season, just five games in to his loan spell at Wolves. With twenty-four minutes on the clock, two of the four classical elements combined in a strictly nonracist way, to ensure Frimpong was Frimponged: the earth provided the passive force and the wind provided the active force, resulting in the on-loan Arsenal midfielder damaging his anterior cruciate ligament. In failing to understand the numerical measure of, “on the scale of 1 to 10,” Mick McCarthy summed up the likelihood of a serious injury, before scans confirmed it, with: “On a scale of one to 10 I have got no idea.” Typically, Mick was correct and had no idea.
Like I said, in a fully cyclical kind of way, Luis Suarez’s return is timely.
“Whatever I said, whatever I did, I didn’t mean it,” sung Luis Suarez as he returned back for good: well he didn’t but it would’ve been better than his half-hearted apology back in January and Patrice Evra would take that. How much Suarez has actually been missed is unclear: whilst the win ratios are acutely indifferent, separated by just 1% in the Suarezless Liverpool side’s favour at 55.55%, this is much down to the return of Steven Gerrard, which coincided with Suarez’s ban starting, and the partnership the captain has struck with Andy Carroll. Gerrard’s ability to being Carroll into the game has made the #9 look likely to finally settle into his own at Liverpool; in the Uruguayan’s absence. At the time of writing, Bellamy had leapfrogged Luis Suarez as Liverpool’s top scorer with six goals, whilst the former Ajax star sat in the seat Gerrard did for the best part of a year, in a straight swap for the Reds captain.
With two domestic cups still left to fight for, the feisty Uruguayan will be essential to Liverpool’s success this season: a fifth round tie at Anfield against the Championship’s own Uruguayan led outfit, Brighton and Hove Albion is on the horizon and a week later, on the 26th of February, the Carling Cup Final awaits Suarez and his team.
Whether his impact is felt in terms of goals and assists will only be determined between now and the end of the season: however, for many Liverpool fans, it is a welcome boost to a side feeling the benefits of the return of their captain, the doggedness of Craig Bellamy and the long-awaited form of Andy Carroll.
Whatever is thought of him off the pitch, Suarez will prove his worth on it.