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Football on grass

Three Twitter titbits from the weekend’s football action

Football on grass

Three Twitter titbits from the weekend’s football action

Twitter has revolutionised everything from retail to politics, but perhaps nothing sets it whirring like the world of sport, and the UK’s most popular game certainly seems to generate a tidal wave of tweets every time it’s played.

In 2012, footy fans set a new record for tweets per second (13,684) during the Barcelona v Chelsea Champions League game. Two years later, the 2014 World Cup became Twitter’s biggest ever event – a record likely to be broken again when the competition comes round in Russia next summer.

The punchy microblogging platform is ideal for releasing match details and updates for clubs at any level, and has attracted a new breed of football fan who prefers to immerse himself or herself in social media rather than go along to a match. BBC Sport recently produced an interesting video of two similarly aged Stoke City fans – Olivia (a regular at the bet365 Stadium) and Sam (who had never been to a match before but followed the club online) – enjoying a game together.

If you’re more of a Sam than an Olivia, here are three interesting Twitter happenings you might have noticed last weekend:

1. Clubs can now put their whole squad in one tweet

With the weekend before being set aside for international fixtures, last weekend was the first chance some clubs had to experiment with Twitter’s new 280-character limit, and it’s made a big difference to one of the most crucial pieces of matchday information – the line-ups.

Usually, clubs find that tweeting their starting line-ups takes up about 140 characters, meaning they are in a habit of starting a new tweet to list their substitutes’ bench. With 280 characters to play with, clubs can now fit their starters and their subs in a single tweet, as the media team at our local National League club Chester seemed to realise shortly before kicking off at Bromley, having previously done it the old-fashioned way:

The upped word count has also given rise to a new Twitter account, Name The Game, which provides a line-up and scorers from games of the past and challenges followers to work out what the match was.

2. Walcott gloats without grammar

When he was stretchered off with an injury in a derby game against Tottenham Hotspur in 2014, Arsenal and England player Theo Walcott made a gesture to remind fans of his club’s big rivals that they were losing 2-0. The two teams met again on Saturday with a repeat of the same scoreline, and Walcott was on Twitter with an emoji-based version of his gesture:

Unfortunately for Walcott, there’s no bigger way to make a gloat fall flat on its face than with a grammatical error, and Spurs fans were quick to give him countless lessons on the difference between ‘would of’ and ‘would have’.

3. Addicks bash the ref

Though clubs’ Twitter accounts are often run by fans and carry a bias in their favour, they usually try to be diplomatic. In the last few minutes of their 2-2 draw with Milton Keynes Dons on Saturday, though, it seems that whoever mans League One Charlton Athletic’s Twitter page struggled to hide their feelings about the standard of refereeing:

In fact, the Addicks’ updates throughout the afternoon had a bit of a manic and passionate tone that you could see as either admirable or unprofessional. The goal that put them 2-1 up was celebrated with caps lock and a few rogue 1s and 7s sneaking in for good measure.

Football via Twitter will never be comparable to the real thing, but for fans who can’t make their game or listen to it live, it’s the next best way to follow what’s going on every weekend.

John Murray

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