Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Football's Most Controverisial Social Media Posts #7

Blog Post #7
In the last blog post, I spoke about how Federico Macheda was a homophobic towards one of his followers on Twitter. I believe that homophobia is such a strong topic that the two entries on this list had to be left to last to demonstrate the severity of it. It is something that needs to be cut from this world. A person’s sexuality should not be used as an insult, regardless of whether the insult is serious or just ‘banter’.

And on that note I present to you Suso.

Ironically, Macheda and Suso both had similarities. They both were tipped for big things by their respective clubs and they both played for the two biggest teams in the north west of England (Man Utd and Liverpool).

Suso was given his big chance by then Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. His flair, creativity and movement was there for everyone to see and Liverpool fans were rubbing their hands at the prospect that was in front of their very eyes.

Macheda tweeted a fan homophobic abuse. What makes this case worse? Suso called his own teammate ‘gay’! Furthermore, it was his Spanish counterpart Jose Enrique. Usually in football, teammates from the same nation share a special bond and create a clique in the changing room. However, this was clearly not the case behind the doors of Anfield in 2012. For a club, such as Liverpool, the squad should be friendly and united, acting as friends on and off the field, trying to win as many games as possible and become England’s dominant force.

Jose Enrique was not a popular figure amongst the Liverpool faithful. He didn’t do anything to upset them personally, but ever since his arrival from Newcastle United in 2011, he had only played a handful of games and had noticeably put on a bit of weight.

In 2012, Enrique tweeted a photo of him getting his teeth whitened. This led to some negative responses from Liverpool supporters, however none of the responses were as toxic as the one from Suso.

Suso tweeted the photo that Enrique had just tweeted himself with the caption of “What f**k is he doing?...This guy is gay. He has some mentals problems. He does everything except play football”.

Not only does Suso use ‘gay’ as an insult but he also has a dig at Enrique’s mental problems. Suso also speaks about Enrique’s lack of football playing time, but Enrique didn’t chose not to play, he missed out through multiple severe injuries.

This tweet gathered arms and legs after a matter of minutes and Suso swiftly deleted the tweet. Suso also issued an apology shortly after the tweet was deleted.

That was probably an awkward exchange at training the next day…

So, that is that. Suso’s tweet finds itself last on the list of controversial social media posts that has included forms of homophobia, racism and privacy. What separates Suso’s tweet from Macheda’s? Suso abused a teammate, somebody that you should really be looking to keep on your side.

As social media continues to grow and evolve, so will the controversial social media posts. So, keep your eyes peeled and watch the drama unfold.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Football's Most Controverisal Social Media Posts #6

I usually start these blogs with a little introduction of the footballer who I'm about to slaughter within the proximity of the next 750 characters. For example, 'John Terry, what a defender but terrible role model' or 'Wayne Rooney is a bit crap now isn't he?'. So bearing that in mind, here we go.

Marcus Rashford is one of the most exciting prospects to ever come through a English teams' youth academy. If you disagree, then I think that you are a moron. He is lightning quick, has an eye for goal, and just seems like an all-round decent bloke. In addition to that, he is only 19. Yes, 19! He is on tens of thousands of shiny sterling's a week and almost single handily helping one of the world's biggest football franchises reach this year's Europa League final. Whereas, I stack shelves in ASDA. Well in Marcus.

But this blog post is not about Marcus Rashford, it's about Federico Macheda. See what I did there. I made you think that this was going to be about Mr Perfect Marcus Rashford. I had to do something to change it up.

What does Marcus Rashford have to do with Federico Macheda I hear you ask. They both share similar stories.

Way back in 2009, Federico Macheda scored one of the English Premier League's most famous goals against Aston Villa in a 3-2 thriller which effectively clinched the title for United. Another memorable moment on Sky Sports as everybody's favourite closet United fan Martin Tyler lost his marbles. This was Macheda's professional debut which made this goal even more special. 

To increase expectations for 'the next Wayne Rooney', he scored again the following week in an away game against Sunderland.

Unfortunately as time went on, Macheda's performances decreased before off the pitch troubles steared him away from glory at Manchester United. He's been around the block as well in Britain with stints at Cardiff City, Nottingham Forest, QPR and Doncaster Rovers. Last I heard, he was playing for some mediocre team in his native Italy.

In March 2012, whilst Macheda was on loan at Donaster Rovers from Manchester United, the Italian forward submitted a rather toxic tweet to a follower.

The twitter user @cappsy14 tweeted Macheda which the tweet has since been removed. Macheda's reply to the tweet was an abhorrent "shhhhhhh u little stupid gay!"

Under no circumstances is this tweet acceptable from any person, but the fact that Macheda was a young footballer at the time with a large following, the severity of the tweet is multiplied. Not only this but Macheda should have taken in to account the 'hawkeyed' English media who are looking for the next star to write up about and the people who it could have affected.

In this day and age especially, homophobia is completely unacceptable. This type of tweet can damage a footballer's reputation for the rest of their career, perhaps putting off bigger clubs who may be keeping an eye on them.

Furthermore, I presume Macheda has no idea about the person's social life, meaning that in all likelihood that the word 'gay' was used as an insult and not a dig at the person's sexuality. Homophobia should never be used as an insult.

Macheda was fined £15,000 for this tweet which in my opinion is fairly lenient. However, considering he was a young player at the time he was probably on a small wage (for a footballer).

Macheda even tried to appeal this fine *rubs eyes*. Yes, he did! I do not know the ins and outs of the appeal, but I can't see any grounds on which he should have won the appeal.

So to summarise:
1. Macheda is actually quite rubbish at football.
2. I don't like you Macheda.
3. Don't be like Macheda, Marcus. You stay good at what you do.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Football's Most Controversial Social Media Posts #5

Rio Ferdinand is one of the greatest centre halves to play in the English game. There is no disputing that. Manchester United signed him in a big money deal as a youngster from bitter enemies Leeds United. ‘Ferdy’ as he was labelled by the United fans went on to become one of their best players, playing alongside the ‘Class of 92’ whilst in their prime. A key factor in winning a title over the course of a season is boasting a rock-solid centre half partnership. Ferdinand enjoyed a few of those in his playing days but none more so than the one he enjoyed with the ‘Big Serb’ Nemanja Vidic. God, they were good. From a neutral perspective, they are my favourite ever centre half pairing in my lifetime.

Still recovering from the anguish of being left out of England’s Euro 2012 squad and also one of the greatest footballing moment of all time (“AGUEROOOOOOOOOOOOO!”. If you do not know what I’m speaking about, Google it), Ferdinand was fined £45,000 by the FA for comments made on his personal Twitter in relation to the John Terry racism scandal (We’ll talk about that soon). John Terry was found not guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand (Rio’s brother) in a match between QPR and Chelsea on 23 October 2011.

This was all one big ironic circle.

John Terry and Rio Ferdinand were centre half partners for the England national team for several years. Rio and Anton are brothers. Ashley Cole, good friend and teammate of John Terry at Chelsea stood as a defence witness for John Terry in court. Ashley Cole has been good friends with the Ferdinand brothers for years.

Ashley Cole told the court that he and the Ferdinand brothers had been ‘long standing friends for years’. This provoked a tweet to Rio Ferdinand from @CarltonEbanks.

“Looks like Ashley Cole’s going to be their choc ice. Then again he’s always been a sellout. Shame on him.”

To which Ferdinand responded:

“I hear you fella. Choc ice is classic hahahahahahha!!”

This tweet caught Twitter users’ eyes and immediately it was a topic of discussion with numerous accusing Ferdinand of racism. Rio tweeted shortly after this tweet, “And if I want to laugh at something someone tweets....I will! Hahahahaha! Now stop getting ya knickers in a twist!”

The term ‘choc ice’ refers to the black and white features of a choc ice and can imply that somebody is being black on the outside and white in the inside.

Ferdinand’s tweet was sent out shortly after Terry was found not guilty. Ferdinand was clearly upset with the decision. But what is surprising is the fact that Ferdinand wanted punishment for racism however sent out a tweet which could be deemed as racist by others.

Rio Ferdinand was fined £45,000 by the FA for this tweet but was not charged with racism. Instead, he was charged with improper conduct.

The FA said in a statement, "The commission decided that the comment was improper and brought the game into disrepute. In addition, the commission found that the breach included a reference to ethnic origin, colour or race."

Despite, Terry being found not guilty and cleared of any wrong doing, it was him that was affected the worst out of everyone. He was branded as a ‘racist’ in the months leading up to his court date, he retired from International football due to fear he would not be picked again and his reputation had been permanently damaged.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Football's Most Controversial Social Media Posts #4

Michael Chopra, remember him? The lad was never shy of ruffling a few feathers. He’s mostly renowned for playing for both Newcastle United and Sunderland despite the two clubs long lasting distain for one another and his rapid fall down the footballing ladder. Once a regular performer in England’s top flight, the ‘so called’ best league in the world, last I heard he was playing part-time for Alloa in the lower leagues of Scotland.

In January 2014, Chopra let his personal frustrations regarding his then club Blackpool and their dire situation boil over on Twitter. Of course, it was Twitter. The land of the expression of personal grievances, followed by regret and hefty fines.

Blackpool football club were a mess. One of the biggest states I have seen a club in, in my lifetime. The Seasiders were rock bottom England’s third tier with no sign of escaping the drop. Empty stadiums, fan protests, lack of investment and poor managerial appointments seen one of the biggest underdog and feel-good stories in recent memory turn sour, all because of one man. Karl Oyston.

If you are a football fan like me, you will understand that the seasons fly by. Astonishingly it was almost 7 years ago, that Blackpool beat Wigan 4-0 away in their first ever game in the Premier League at the start of the 10/11 season. Blackpool were at the peak of their powers and were a David in a league full of Goliaths.

They were unluckily relegated, with a valiant effort shown in a 4-2 defeat away to Manchester United on the last day of the season. But they remained positive, they fought until the bitter end and from there on in it was about how the minnows continued to grow as a club.

The following season they almost retuned back to the top flight, only being denied by West Ham United who beat them 3-2 in that year’s Championship play-off final.

In November, later that year, popular manager amongst fans and neutrals Ian Holloway left the club. Holloway’s exit was indeed the catalyst for the demise of Blackpool FC.

Two years further on, Blackpool found themselves bottom of League One with no hope of escape. 

Lee Clark was hired as the 7th manager since Holloway’s departure. High manager and player turnover led to a lack of stability resulting in on and off the pitch troubles. Clark’s track record was not exactly impressive. He came in and signed a shed load of new players, increasing player turnover and decreasing Blackpool’s chances of survival.

Chopra was not one of the Clark’s new signings, he was signed in the summer of the 13/14 season. January 2014 saw Chopra’s infamous tweet reach our computers, phones and tablets.

‘F****** joke this come in training only 6 f****** players here then find out the fitness coach taken the football session #joke.’

Due to the explicit language, you could clearly tell Chopra was far from happy. And why would he be? To come in to training and find out that over half the squad is missing shows that something is not right. For teams, down at the bottom of the league and fighting for survival, team unity and morale is crucial. The players need to stick together both in football and away from it.

Chopra’s frustrations gave Blackpool fans an insight in to what was really going on behind closed doors. It must have been upsetting for the fans who live and breathe Blackpool FC to find out that their players cannot even turn up for a 3-hour training session. A new manager is meant to bring new life to the squad, install them with confidence, get them playing a new brand of football, and most importantly get results. And where was Lee Clark? Why was the fitness coach taking training? So many unanswered questions and uncertainty.

Blackpool’s lack of points in the table did not confirm their relegation to League Two, this tweet did.

Chopra was fined £15,000 from his club for the tweet. Another £15,000 that Karl Oyston probably pocketed. This was a steep fine, especially from a club that were in the third tier of English football.
Blackpool were relegated in April and have remained in League Two ever since.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Football's Most Controversial Social Media Posts #3

I want you to spare a thought for poor old Joleon Lescott who ‘accidentally’ tweeted a photo of a £121,000 Mercedes-Benz after his then team Aston Villa suffered a humiliating 6-0 loss at home to Liverpool. No? Okay.

As we continue our list of most controversial social media posts by footballers, this entry from Joleon Lescott is undoubtedly the funniest and most cringeworthy. Unless you are an Aston Villa fan of course.

Ironically, the 6-0 thumping from a rejuvenated Liverpool side newly under the influence of charismatic German Jurgen Klopp, was on valentine’s day. This day was the last straw for Villa fans, any love or affection they had left towards their players had now most certainly gone. Villa were all but relegated. Remi Garde was sacked not long after this thrashing.

The 6-0 loss was somewhat overshadowed by the incident after the match. It takes a lot for attention to be shifted away from a 6-0 defeat at home, so well done Joleon Lescott. Take a bow.

Only a short time after the humiliating defeat, Lescott tweeted the infamous photo of a Mercedez-Benz. Which begged the question – why on earth would he do such a thing after personally playing a shocker earlier on and being a large part of the reason to why they shifted 6 goals.

1.      1. He should have stayed clear of any social media activity for at least a couple of days. This would have allowed the fans to calm down after their anguish. Tweeting so soon after a game just gives the fans an excuse to vent their frustration.

2.       2. At the very least, he could have apologised to the fans for paying their hard-earned money to show up and watch their team crumble like that. This man was meant to be the captain of the football club. He needs to take larger responsibility than his teammates and be a leader. He obviously had other things on his mind…

From the outset, this moment will go down in Premier League history as one of the funniest. Villa were a laughing stock and this was the cherry on the icing for those that found their demise nothing but amusing.

On a personal note, Lescott never really recovered from this. Villa fans already loathed their own players, banding them ‘not fit to wear the shirt’. Lescott now give the fans even more reason to hate him. His performances were abysmal and his attitude reeked, the opposite of what the actions of a club captain should be.

Let us not forget, this whole stunt was an ‘accident’. Either his phone is possessed or they carried out these actions by itself:
1.       Phone unlocked itself.
2.       Twitter app opened itself.
3.       Icon at top right corner of the app selected to tweet.
4.       Add the image to the tweet.
5.       Send tweet.

The picture of the Mercedes-Benz was swiftly deleted and shortly after Lescott sent a statement to his followers via Twitter.

You are not fooling me Joleoen, nor thousands of others.

Albeit, the original tweet itself was amusing and baffling, it was the excuse of ‘it was an accident’ that makes this whole episode hilarious and controversial.

Lescott was never forgiven and left Aston Villa in the summer following.

This tweet will go in the memory books as one of the most amusing simply because of the timing of it and the dire situation Villa were in.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Football's Most Controversial Social Media Posts #2

Eden Hazard. A technically gifted magician, and one of the world's best footballers. It wasn't long ago that Hazard was being put in the same bracket as arguably two of the best of all time, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. A disappointing season last year had critics out in force, questioning his desire to play for Chelsea anymore and largely blaming him for the exit of Chelsea's greatest ever manager Jose Mourinho. However, the Belgian attacker looks reborn under new gaffer Antonio Conte.

Behind the wonderful footballing mastery of Eden Hazard comes one of the most controversial tweets in recent memory.

'That is not controversial. How is that controversial?' I know what you are thinking. The timing and the magnitude of this tweet is why Hazard's revelation to the world was so controversial.

Chelsea had just pulled off one of the greatest European upsets in history. The unthinkable happened. They beat giants Bayern Munich in their own back yard in the UEFA Champions League final. The grandest stage in club football. 

The final is typically held in a neutral venue which is announced prior to the beginning of the competition. In 2012, it was the Allianz Arena's turn to showcase the juggernaut event. Allianz arena being the home of Bayern Munich of course, completely swinging the odds in favour of Bayern (if they were not already). Chelsea were without key players for the final through suspension including captain John Terry. This meant they were forced to field players such as the questionable Jose Bosingwa and then rookie Ryan Bertrand, who were not first choice players. Stand in players, Bayern's home advantage, Chelsea's interim manager. All these factors made Bayern a shoe-in to win the trophy, but also made the west Londoners eventual triumph all the more spectacular.

And it was this very night, that Eden Hazard looked at and thought Chelsea was the club for him.

Eden Hazard was poised for a move to the English game in the January transfer window of 2012. Hazard was amongst an elite group of young prodigies at the time who were set to make a big splash on to the scene in the coming years. This group included the likes of Dortmund's Mario Gotze and Santos' Neymar. But where was the Belgian going to go. Super spenders Manchester City were heavily linked, along with London enemies Arsenal and of course Chelsea. So when the move did not happen in January, speculation continued right through until May 28 when Eden Hazard shocked the world.

Hazard teased football fans, and especially the 3 clubs mentioned prior fans when he tweeted “good afternoon guys. I made up my mind. See you later. Thanks.” At this point it was between Manchester City and Chelsea, with the bookies tipping City to land the Belgian starlet.

9 hours later, to Chelsea fans’ delight and Manchester City fans’ despair, Eden Hazard told the world he was signing for the champions league winners. “I’m signing for the champion’s league winner.”

This tweet was controversial because it is usually the media outlets who look to get their sources to uncover potential transfer happenings. A lot of transfers happen out of the blue, or when they are reported before it happens it has taken some effort and cost from reporters to break that story. Not this time though. Eden Hazard made their job easy. It is very rare that a player announces his transfer on social media before the club or the media does, so this tweet quite probably landed Hazard in hot water with his representatives.

The suspense during the 9 hours between the two tweets had fans and the media stirring over where Hazard was going which played a part in the massive reaction his eventual move to Chelsea received.

Eden Hazard enjoyed a very successful season before his move with French outfit Lille. He tore the league apart, picking up Ligue 1 player of the year. Hazard’s move to Chelsea was fully merited and he has improved rapidly since, adapting to the English game along the way.

Twitter went in to meltdown on May 28, with Hazard’s risky tweet gaining over 50,000 retweets. The footballing world now knew where one of the world’s most promising players would be playing his football and a frustratingly long transfer saga was dead.

Friday, 24 February 2017

The Demise of Leicester City

Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by Leicester City, less than a year after their fairy tale story of winning the English Premier League. The sacking has divided opinion already but whatever you think of the sacking and whether the club were right or wrong, you cannot hep but sympathise with the charming Italian.

In my opinion, Ranieri should never have been sacked by Leicester. In only 20 months in charge, Ranieri had earned legend status at the Foxes by masterminding the greatest underdog story in football history. He was almost drinking from the same tap as Arsene Wenger, the tap that allows the manager himself to decide when his time at the club is up and for a new manager to come in and put their stamp on things.

Easy for me to say, I am not a Leicester fan. There will be Leicester fans out there that will think that this is absolutely the correct decision from the football side of things. The Foxes were in serious danger of going down. An unthinkable prospect and quite frankly embarrassing.

Leicester have picked up 1 point in the Premier League this calendar year and what makes even worse reading is that they have scored 0 goals. Ultimately, the manager needs to be accountable for this but Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, hang your heads in shame. Being knocked out of the FA Cup by 10 man Milwall did not help Ranieri's cause. Despite its seemingly lesser importance these days, a competition which could have been a bright spark in a poor season for Leicester.

However, renowned Leicester fan Gary Lineker thinks the sacking is 'unforgivable'. I agree. Not only should he still be there, but why he does not have a statue outside the ground (yet) is baffling.

Take Sean Dyche and Burnley for example. Albeit a brave fight in their first season in the top flight, they were quite clearly not cut out for it. Fast forward a couple of seasons, they have returned as champions of the Championship and with some new additions a very solid Premier League outfit who should survive comfortably.

By no means am I suggesting that relegation is acceptable for Leicester, nor the 'Burnley effect' would definately happen to them, however who's to say Ranieri could not pull it off. The likelihood departures of players such as Vardy, Mahrez, Slimani and Musa would allow strong reinvestment in the squad. Getting in players who know the championship and building a strong home grown squad. Players such as Demarai Gray and Ben Chilwell would benefit strongly from a season in the Championship. 

The loss of N'golo Kante has really hit the champions hard. It looks like he is about to win his second Premier League winners medal in as many years with Chelsea and it is easy to see why. He is such an influential player to have in your team. A team can receive such a boost physically and mentally when they see the energy he brings to the game even with 10 minutes to go. He is a non-stop juggernaut who has been imperative to both Leciester and Chelsea's success.

I believe Kante's rotten attitude in the summer infected a lot of members in the squad. 

Wes Morgan and Robert Huth, who were crucial last season have looked like Sunday League defenders this year. They have thrown in the towel. 

It almost seems like Riyad Mahrez has hardly played this season. He looks like he never wants to receive the ball and you rarely see them jinking runs at the left back that we became so accustomed to seeing last season. 

Despite grabbing a vital goal in Seville on Wednesday night, Jamie Vardy's party has come to an abrupt end. It looks as if he is just waiting on the goals to come to him instead of working for them like he did last year. Playing on the shoulder and getting in behind defenders has been non-existent this season.

What makes Ranieri's sacking even more baffling is the impressive result against Sevilla. Leicester were expected to be overrun by a strong Sevilla side who are flying this season. The Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium has been a fortress for the Spaniards over recent years and the Foxes' away record is shoddy. 2-1 is a fantastic result to bring back to the King Power with the away goal being the vital component.

Despite having a relatively weak group, Leicester's champions League form has been impressive. They qualified from their group with ease with players like Slimani coming to fruition. This was matched by a very good result against Sevilla. It looked as if Ranieri's priority this season was the Champions League and I firmly believe if he was still in charge, Leicester would progress to the quarter finals.

To summarise, from a footballing aspect Ranieri's sacking should not come as too much of a surprise. But the man won this club a title which they had no right to win and created memories for life. Despite being in danger, Leicester had a really chance of progressing far in the Champions League. In the same week as a man who lost his job for eating a pie live on TV, it's hard to keep faith in modern day football. 

Last season, I fell in love with Leicester for their refreshing counter attacking football and their 'never say die' attitude. That affection I had for them is now gone.