Often Partisan

To Tweet or Not To Tweet

Yesterday was a hard day for Alpaslan Ozturk. After being told by the club he wasn’t going to be offered a deal, he tweeted from his account that he had been released by the club because they couldn’t afford to pay the £30,000 compensation for him. Of course, with the parlous state of Blues’ finances being well known, this provoked a certain amount of discussion, debate and anger amongst some Blues fans, some of whom couldn’t believe that the club couldn’t afford thirty grand for a fairly promising youth player. Now, his twitter account has been deleted, and young Alpa has to reflect on how harsh a mistress social media is.

I’m not going to get into the ins and outs of us retaining Alpa Ozturk, or the allegations that we couldn’t afford his compensation fee. What I think the bigger discussion here is that for a good couple of hours this rumour floated around, and then the refutation from the club seemed very abrupt. I understand that with our first Europa League tie ever starting in 48 hours time this may have been seen as low priority – and indeed, it should have been. However, if a national media outlet has picked up on it, it’s easy enough for them to run another story about how the club is skint despite what Chris Kershaw (Press Officer) and Andy Walker (PR/Social Media officer) have tweeted afterwards.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Chris and Andy a lot, and I think they’ve done a lot to improve communication with the fans. However, the fact that I like them (and the fact I know that they read this site) doesn’t mean that they’re above criticism. It’s an incredibly tricky situation – as a free agent, Alpa could theoretically say what he wants about the club – although it’s not the smartest thing to be too obstreperous if you want a continued career in football. As a young man, Alpa can’t be expected to be as cynical about how his words may be twisted as someone who is a bit more experienced, and I think that the club maybe should now think about offering a lot more guidance to the younger players – even those in the academy – about how to deal with social media. I know of at least two players in the academy who are on twitter (one of whom I follow), and it’s not unreasonable to expect young people to want to get onto social networks.

It shouldn’t be a big deal about Blues releasing a player that was on schoolboy forms; indeed, if Blues weren’t in trouble financially I don’t think anybody would have cared. Right now though, some people are looking for any reason whatsoever to seize upon to “prove” that Blues are in the mire deeper than admitted to. I honestly believe that this is maybe one situation where the press office could have seen a potential situation and maybe released a small statement on the official site stating that Alpa was being let go – and maybe advised him against saying anything about it because of the negative backlash that could happen.

There is a massive debate at the moment of the role of social media in football, particularly twitter. Potentially, it’s a brilliant way to for players to actively engage with the fans, but equally it’s an easy way to get in lots of trouble – particularly as news sources routinely watch footballer’s twitter accounts for easy news. Blues have done very well to actively use social media as a platform to communicate directly with supporters; I think more thought now has to go into ensuring all players – not just first teamers but youngsters as well get some form of media training – because otherwise before long all footballers are going to end up barred from twitter by their respective clubs and supporters will be left with sterile twitter feeds proclaiming the latest ticket prices and top deals down the club shop, which would be an incredible shame.

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7 Responses to “To Tweet or Not To Tweet”

  • thongs says:

    I may be in the minority here but I realy don’t want players to “actively engage” with fans. I think for younger fans it destroys the hero myth of the players, the something to aspire to if you want and just portrays them as the stupidly lucky enough to be talented at a game we all love pricks that they really are.

    that said you make some good points about how Ozturks tweets could be seen outside the club.

    • almajir says:

      I can understand that – I myself like to see the human side of players but I can easily see that people don’t want to ruin the myth of their heroes…

  • Scoobers says:

    “Right now though, some people are looking for any reason whatsoever to seize upon to “prove” that Blues are in the mire deeper than admitted to”

    You don’t need “reasons” when there are enough facts there that the clubs finances are not exactly what Peter Pannu originally led us to be believe.

    It would be interesting to work out how much the club have saved in wages since the players were let go the day after we were relegated, the fees (and wages saved) on the players since sold and add in the parachute payment plus Peter Pannu’s recent “we are in credit with the bank” quote … I appreciate Dann, Jerome and Zigic are being touted for sale (are the former two’s wages combined more than Zigics alone ?) …

    Yes some of the national may be non factual in their hyped headlines and reports, likewise fans who believe what the club claim should remember Mr. Pannu and his “Carson will look after the fans … ” comment … at the moment is Carson not looking after himself first ?

  • Poppa999 says:

    I’ve never seen Alpasian play, but it will be ironic if he makes it big in the future and changes clubs for millions.

  • johnb says:

    bigger, more professional clubs no doubt coach youngsters on the pitfalls of such communication channels. we obviously dont have that luxury! i folow Redmond, on and off the pitch and hope he has a bright future but tweeting, he wasnt injured. after being rested/dropped/left out appears to me to undermine the manager. its a murky and dangerous tool to be treated with care. This is a good article but i think more the point is release of (another) promising youngster….if the reason is the money could not be found then thats a REAL worry.

  • Mark says:

    Again blues are letting a young player go and yes it would be ironic if in the future he’s worth millions. But Hughton must have seen enough of him to make this judgement call.

  • Adam says:

    I’m all for Twitter and Facebook being actively and regularly used by the club, the staff and the players. Yes, Alpa was a pratt and he’s paid the price, clubs who may have looked at him might now think twice and view him as a bit of a loose cannon. Pity, he’s played for his country and seemed a half decent prospect. I was amongst those who were shocked at what he said and at first feared there could be some truth in it. Yes, I tweeted my fears, but I also retracted them later, retweeted the club staff’s posts and sent some to other followers asking questions. He may well be worth a decent sum in the future but right now, we’re told, he doesn’t fit in. Harsh but a sign of the changes afoot at the club.

    However, the club and Andy, Chris, Wayne, Sarah, et al from the club have to be praised for doing a decent job with managing the social network side of things. All that’s needed is some guidance and boundaries from the club, and why should fans and players not interact? Look at Rio Ferdinand, he’s a prolific tweeter, and yes OK he has a far higher profile but there’s no reason why our players couldn’t – and shouldn’t – enjoy this kind of interaction.


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