#socialmediaischangingthefootballinglandscape

As much as I endorse the role of social media in strengthening the bridge between football Clubs and football fans, the Arsenal twitter takeover on Thursday afternoon didn’t promise a huge amount. The line up of Arshavin, Don Vito Mannone, Sagna and Mertesacker are not a motley crew you’d expect to squeeze much humour out of. Nevertheless, the ability of twitter to to transform the simplest of formulas into a genuinely intriguing and slightly hilarious scenario got the better of me. I was chuckling away at my desk.

Some of the questions were amazing in their simplicity. Credit to the comedians who posed them. We have become so used to hearing the same questions from the likes of Geoff Shreeves, and the same cliched answers. It was refreshing to hear something a bit different this time around. On the face of it these are meaningless questions provoking meaningless responses, but actually this misses the point. All of the media training goes out the window when Mertesacker is asked ‘hey Per, do you like pears?’ or ‘Per, what’s the weather like up there?’ If only Geoff Shreeves asked these kind of questions after a bore draw at the Britannia.

Twitter has revolutionised the way in which we consume football. Over 30 million people follow the official pages of football Clubs on twitter. Fans opinions are no longer defined merely by the press, twitter has given fans from all over the world a voice. It also provides a chance for Clubs to listen to their fans. Of course at times, especially when the team is struggling, this can become damaging. Football fans can be ill-informed, opinionated and fickle. A Club like the Arsenal, accused so frequently of failing to communicate with and listen to the desires of their fanbase, need to harness this passion and democratise the fan experience.

Getting to know the players, or at least feeling like you are, is a major part of this process. It’s not about questions like ‘how important were the three points today?’ or ‘did you think the second goal was offside?’ I think I speak for lots of people when I admit I’d much rather watch Mannone answer questions like ‘who would win a fight, a camel or a donkey?’ Even better, ‘have you ever thought of acting in an Italian movie as a Don after football?’ This one’s perhaps a little harsh based on his incredibly large and disfigured nose but ‘hey Vito, do you smile when you look in the mirror?’ Genius Gooners, pure genius. Here are some highlights:

Andrey Arshavin

‘What’s the worst thing you did as a child?’
‘I told my mummy I did not love her?’

‘Andre, do you own a horse?’
‘No, I never had any horses. Even though I used to ride one in the past. It was very dangerous’

‘Who is the funniest player in the squad?’
‘I would say at the moment, Lukas Podolski. He brings something to the team – and he jokes a lot’

Don Vito

‘Who would win a fight, a donkey or a camel?’
‘I think a camel. I don’t have a reason really! It has water in its hump!’

‘Have you ever thought of acting in an Italian movie as a Don after football?’
‘That’s a great question. I have been reading a few fans calling me Don! My origins are from Sicily. I like it’.

‘Vito, do u smile when you look in the mirror?’
‘No, not really! If you want me to be a Don, the Don never smiles! But I am quite a happy guy’.

‘What’s the nightlife like in Hull, Vito?’
‘I think it’s better in London but Hull is a chilled town. You can relax in the villages but no nightlife!’

Bac Sagna

‘Describe the Boss in 3 words?’
‘Protective, positive and kind. He likes to protect his players as a father figure’.
‘How did it feel scoring that header against tottenham!?’
‘Oh, great! It was a derby, it was important and it was against our rivals. That was amazing’
‘Do you Like LaSagna?’
‘Yeah, I do! It’s a nice Italian dish and it looks like my name’.
‘Bacary, have ever cut your hair?’
‘I did! But every time I had to change my hair. Last time somebody noticed was Sunderland four years ago’.

Per Mertesacker

‘Per! What will you do if you get a billion dollar?’
‘I would try to save the world! I would care about all the guys who have nothing to eat’.
‘Did you enjoy the dancing in Nigeria? You had some serious moves’
‘Yes of course! It was real fun because we didn’t know we were going to do it. It was a big surprise – and fun’
‘Who’s the loudest and quietest in the dressing room?’
‘The loudest has left the club – Alex Song. Now it is Podolski! The quietest I would say is Andrey Arshavin’.
Hey Per, how’s the weather up there?’
‘It smells of little people! That is my usual response to that question!’
‘Per, do you like Pears?’
‘Yeah. In the beginning people didn’t know how to pronounce my name so I said ‘it’s like pair of shoes or pears’.

Perhaps the only upsetting thing about the twitter takeover was that Mo Farah’s grammatically incorrect question of ‘was times low for you been injured? And missing out what you do best..!! We miss you…!!’ for Saga wasn’t picked up by the organisers. Oh well.

Those of you who don’t use twitter as a source of news, links, quotes and general entertainment really are missing out. It’s fast becoming an essential part of the football fan’s repertoire. Get involved y’all.

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