Recent years have seen football transform into a multimillion dollar business and footballers become multimillionaires and celebrities in their own right. One of the main consequences of this modern dynamic of the sport has been a breakdown in relationships between football fans and players. The common perception among fans is that footballers are wannabe superstars who are not worthy of their salaries and have been so overshadowed by stardom that they have lost their real identity.
Interestingly, Twitter, is helping bridge these gaps as an increasing number of footballers embrace the social media phenomenon. The micro-blogging site is allowing footballers to voice their opinions and communicate with the public on a more personal level.
Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5), for example, recently reached the landmark of one million followers on the social network, making him the most followed footballer in Britain and a major source of sports news. The player has managed to cement himself as one of the social website’s most celebrated athletes and has smartly utilized the power of Twitter to promote his own brand and reach his fans…and many footballers are following suit.
Among those recently joining the site is Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) who managed to get over 300,000 followers in less than a week. However, not all footballers enjoyed a positive reception from “Tweeps”. Another Manchester United player, Darron Gibson, was forced to close his account just two hours after he opened it, following a series of attacks and abuse from fans for his poor performances on the pitch.
Regardless, the relationship between Twitter and football is growing, and Twitter is proving to be crucial in reviving the lost relationship between fans and football players. It is increasingly seen as a reliable source of news and fans are rejoicing the fact they can tell footballers exactly what they think of them.