The perils of Twitter

A host of sports stars have taken the opportunity to communicate directly with their fans on microblogging site Twitter.

But, as Liverpool’s Ryan Babel found out after being forced to apologise for his criticism of referee Howard Webb at the weekend and handed an improper conduct charge by the Football Association, it can prove something of a minefield for those in the public eye.

Here I look at some of the football stars who have courted controversy on their Twitter feeds.

1. DARREN BENT

“Do I wanna go Hull City NO. Do I wanna go stoke NO do I wanna go sunderland YES so stop f****** around, Levy. Sunderland are not the problem in the slightest.”

Bent closed down his account and apologised after his expletive-laden rants at Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy caused uproar as he angled for a move to Sunderland. It worked, though, as he completed his switch to the Stadium of Light soon after.

2. MARVIN MORGAN

“Like to thank the fans who booed me off the pitch. Where’s that going to get you! I hope you all die!”

Aldershot striker Morgan was suspended, fined two weeks’ wages and placed on the transfer list for comments he made on the social networking website. The League Two club issued a statement after meeting with the striker who was booed when substituted during the club’s 2-1 defeat to Hereford. Morgan has subsequently farmed out on loan to Dagenham & Redbridge for the rest of the season.

3. JOZY ALTIDORE

“Apologise to all of you. I showed up late. Made a big mistake I’m very very sorry.”

America international Altidore irked then-Hull manager Phil Brown after revealing he was dropped for a match against Portsmouth after turning up late. The striker, who was on-loan from Villarreal, was fined for the tweet. “That for me is information that stays in house,” said Brown. “The reason he wasn’t on the bench was our business.”

4. JOSE ENRIQUE

“Sorry lads i have a test this morning and we decide is better dont play if no im in 100×100. I’m so hungry because this game is nice to play.”

Newcastle United’s squad were handed social media guidelines after full-back Enrique informed followers he would miss the clash with Tottenham through injury. “We are giving a presentation to the squad about the current format of information,” Newcastle’s boss Alan Pardew said. “Hopefully we will get that right. We don’t want players tweeting about their fitness on the day of games but we are not going to stop freedom of speech. It is not the Chinese republic here.”

5. GLEN JOHNSON

“Comments from alcoholic drug abusers are not really gonna upset me and who is Paul Merson to judge players, he was average at the best of times. The only reason he’s on that show is coz he gambled all his money away. The clown!”

Johnson launched an outspoken attack on football pundit Paul Merson after the former Arsenal midfielder criticised his attitude this season. Merson was discussing the departure of Reds manager Roy Hodgson when he called Johnson’s performances into question. The England right-back was obviously watching, but his comments were promptly deleted when several followers complained.

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