Football fans are not known for being the most forgiving and sympathetic of folks, and a surefire way to grind their gears is to follow up a lousy performance on the pitch with a reminder of how luxurious their lives are away from it.
That was exactly what Aston Villa defender Joleon Lescott did on Sunday by tweeting a picture of a shiny new Mercedes vehicle shortly after his team had been hammered 6-0 by Liverpool. Needless to say, not many observers were in awe of what is presumably Lescott’s new motor, and it wasn’t long before American soccer magazine Howler and even Virgin Trains had a snigger at the ex-Everton and Manchester City man’s expense, although I think Jeff K wins this particular Twitter titter-fest:
— Howler Magazine (@whatahowler) February 14, 2016
— Virgin Trains (@VirginTrains) February 15, 2016
@JoleonLescott Does this car go 0-6 in 90 minutes?
— Jeff K (@jefferyk0801) February 14, 2016
However, the England international claims that he did not tweet the offending image on purpose. Later the same evening, a separate tweet on Lescott’s account apologised for Villa’s poor performance and claimed that it happened “whilst driving and my phone was in my pocket”. Again, responses to the tweet range from rejection of the excuse, to outright ridicule.
Trick or tweet?
Apologies to Lescott if it was what genuinely happened, but he must understand why it’s hard to believe that while he was happily tootling home from Villa Park in his car, which may or may not have been a brand new Mercedes, his phone managed to either activate the Twitter app, compose a new tweet and select that particular picture, or that it went into his photo album, selected that particular picture and somehow broadcasted it via Twitter.
More credible excuses might have included:
“I left my phone unlocked and one of the lads pranked me.”
“Someone hacked my account.”
“I meant to tweet something else, but tweeted that by mistake.”
“The dog tweeted it, and then ate my phone.”
If Lescott wanted to come across as particularly social media savvy despite his blunder, he might have claimed that he had used a scheduling tool like HootSuite or TweetDeck, and had either scheduled it wrongly, or expected it to be on the back of a stylish Aston Villa victory rather than an embarrassing defeat, thus making the tweet seem classy rather than misplaced.
All in all though, it was probably just a forgivable lapse from a player who momentarily forgot that his life is full of riches and glamour, even though the bottom-of-the-table Villains are currently about as glamourous as a bin lorry. The story should serve as a reminder, whether using Twitter for business or personal use, that context and audience are important, and that the 24-hour nature of social media means that eagle-eyed users are always likely to spot Twitter own goals the minute they’re tweeted.