When football and social media collides

On Wednesday I had a piece published in G2 about the recent troubles of Darius Vassell, as documented on his excellent blog. To get an idea of the furore that has surrounded him recently, here’s a video of his arrival at his new club, Ankaragucu:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vassell’s surprisingly candid – and surprisingly good – blog is the high water mark of a year that saw a stream of footballers collide with the increasingly ubiquitous world of social media. In July Darren Bent, then at Tottenham, tweeted vociferously for a move away from the club: “”Do I wanna go Hull City NO. Do I wanna go stoke NO do I wanna go sunderland YES so stop fucking around levy [the Tottenham chairman].” In October, Hull’s American striker Jozy Altidore was fined for breaking the long-sanctified omerta of the dressing room by tweeting that he was dropped for being late to training. The same medium was used by Thierry Henry to apologise for his handball against Ireland, and by Cristiano Ronaldo to explain to his followers that he was “only human” following a red card for Real Madrid.

For the non-football-obsessed, this is all terribly boring. But for legions of fans across the globe, ever hunting for scraps tossed beyond an increasingly PR-enforced wall, these are signs that the veil might be slipping. Clubs can certainly control what their players eat, how they train, and how much they are paid. Controlling their errant keyboard fingers is proving considerably trickier.

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