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Hayley Wheeler - Much ado about Barton and Twitter

Published: 18 Aug 2011 - 14:14:33

Twitter is once again an area of controversy when it comes to football. Joey Barton is an avid user of the social networking site and regularly takes to it to vent his frustration at his club’s board, to react to headlines and talk to fans.

Barton hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons since the opening day of the Premier League after his scuffle with Arsenal’s Gervinho and Alex Song. His behaviour on the pitch doesn’t necessarily adhere himself to many people other than Newcastle fans, but in his defence he does appear more approachable than other footballers in response to the media uproar surrounding him.

Whether it is because he has already openly fallen out with his clubs owners and does not fear the repercussions of talking on Twitter, or because he just wants to make his side of the story heard, it is refreshing to hear honest opinions and thoughts directly from a player following an incident in a match.

Twitter is a great tool for allowing football fans to feel closer to the players and a way of interacting with them in a way that never used to be possible. There are tight boundaries set by most clubs when it comes to Twitter and in some cases it is even banned. But Joey certainly makes the most of this outlet and he seems happy to discuss his behaviour with fans and the media.

According to the daily mail, the FA are going to write to Joey regarding his erratic tweets, but as far as I am concerned, players should be allowed to answer questions from their fans regarding certain issues. I understand there is a fine line between what makes the club and look bad, what is private information, and a player having some freedom of expression, but as a football fan I feel that players should be allowed more freedom to give an account of themselves.

This weekend he tweeted: "my job is to do the best for my team, not to keep Gervinho on the pitch. There’s more to football than kicking a ball....” And how right he is. There is so much more to the game that just kicking a ball these days. Whether people like it or not, he makes the game a lot more interesting and if he certainly can ruffle the feathers of the opposition. He will be a big loss for Newcastle when he leaves and fans have shown their support for him since his fall out with Mike Ashley. He might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I personally think he is an incredibly talented player and I especially enjoy his twitter commentary.

It probably won’t be long before all football clubs ban twitter completely for fear of losing control over what the players are saying to the world. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that and fans don’t lose their precious little contact with the players.

DSG

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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Hayley Wheeler
Despite being born and bred in the country, Hayley is a football-mad Tottenham Hotspur fan. Away from the beautiful game she has been eventing her own horses for over 20 years, having previously been a human and equine sports therapist. She has now turned her hand to sport journalism and hopes to one day be gracing your television screen broadcasting the game she loves. Follow Hayley on Twitter @Hayleywsport

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