Manchester City players told not to enter Twitter war with United
Published 19/01/2012 | 09:59
Manchester City have warned their players not to become embroiled in a Twitter feud with their Manchester United rivals amid growing anger at the Etihad Stadium over City-related tweets by the likes of Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand.
With both Rooney and Ferdinand tweeting their support of referee Chris Foy’s decision to dismiss Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany for a two-foot tackle on Nani during Manchester United’s FA Cup victory between the two clubs earlier this month, prior to Rooney using Twitter to question Mancini’s card-waving gesture during City’s Premier League victory at Wigan on Monday, it is understood that senior figures within Mancini’s squad have voiced their displeasure.
Several members of City's first-team squad are users of the social-networking site, with Kompany, Micah Richards, Adam Johnson, Pablo Zabaleta, Sergio Agüero, Nigel de Jong, Samir Nasri and Joleon Lescott all regularly updating their Twitter pages.
But with City conscious of the responsibility of the club and its players to avoid unnecessary controversy - particularly in the tinderbox atmosphere of Mancunian football rivalry - Mancini’s squad have been advised by senior figures to steer clear of engaging in a potentially-distracting Twitter row with United.
The City squad were urged by the club early last week to avoid using social media to comment publicly in the aftermath of Kompany’s red card and subsequent four-match suspension.
Following the game, Rooney - accused by Mancini of attempting to influence Foy’s decision – tweeted, “Funny how people think i got kompany sent off. Im not ref. i didnt give red card. But it was a clear red card. 2 footed tackle.” Ferdinand also added his voice to the Kompany debate, prior to City’s appeal against the dismissal, by tweeting, “By the way how can there be any debate about the red card yesterday?? You leave the ground with a #2footTackle = Red card #fact.” With City’s players making clear to club officials their annoyance at Rooney and Ferdinand’s contribution, Kompany was given permission to issue a statement on his Facebook site following the FA’s decision to reject his appeal last Tuesday, with the Belgian noticeably focusing on his red card and subsequent appeal, rather than responding to comments from within the United camp.
City remain determined to maintain their stance on the Twitter comments of their players, despite Rooney’s tweet about Mancini on Monday evening. After the Italian gestured to the officials with an imaginary card following referee Martin Atkinson’s decision only to book defender Maynor Figueroa for a deliberate hand-ball, Rooney tweeted, “Was manchini (sic) asking for red card????”
United’s position on their players’ use of Twitter is relaxed, with an acceptance that high-profile sportsmen embracing social media is unavoidable phenomenon.
After Rooney had been involved in a Twitter row with a supporter last season, which saw the England forward threaten to ‘put u to sleep in 10 seconds,’ Ferguson voiced his concerns and bemusement with the decision of some of his players to use the site. Speaking last May, Ferguson said: “I don’t understand it to be honest with you. I don’t know why anybody can be bothered with that kind of stuff.
“How do you find the time to do that [tweet]? There are a million things you can do in your life without that.
“Get yourself down to the library and read a book. Seriously. It is a waste of time.
“We as a club are looking at it because there can be issues attached to it. And we don’t want that.”