Norwich City A-Z: Beware! H is for Hashtag
It used to be a strange button on your keyboard - now it has the ability to take down anyone at any time. MICHAEL BAILEY hands H in our alternative Norwich City A-Z over to the honourable Hashtag
Imagine a time when footballers’ misdemeanours were generally kept out of sight. The physical scraps and vocal slanging matches – they were the stuff of rumour and hearsay; and still enough to get people into trouble.
Well, recent years have added another factor into the mix – the true weapon that is a mobile phone sat in a player’s hand.
There is a remarkable amount of good that has come with social media including accessibility, an ability to put both the record straight and your view across. It has revolutionised the way we consume our sports coverage.
But there are downsides too – many of them, entirely avoidable.
For every raging success – like #mindthegap, instigated by Ipswich fans certain Town’s early Championship lead over their Norfolk rivals in 2014-15 would endure – there are the numerous bugbears. A new signing deserves more than #welcomeaddnamehere – especially if you’re excited about them. Conversely, #feedthewolf is more akin to when you get a little too excited. Poor old Ricky.
Jacob Murphy was one of the Canaries’ first social media gaffe authors, using Snapchat to predict another defeat for Blackpool – while he was on loan at the struggling club. His spell was cut short come December 2014.
Ryan Bennett was probably first though, picking up an FA misconduct charge for his rather threatening response to Twitter criticism after a 3-1 defeat at Arsenal in 2013.
Anthony Pilkington used the same forum to make it clear he was fit and available – not entirely what Chris Hughton had said earlier that day. Pilks was soon off-loaded to Cardiff.
Meanwhile, former chief executive David McNally could probably have his own chapter – from resigning on Twitter, to labelling City’s performance since his departure “embarrassing”.
There are lighter sides too, like the messages that poured in as the football world said #ThanksWes for Hoolahan’s stellar time at City.
There are communication uses too – such as eventually getting a Carabao Cup draw confirmed. Last season it wasn’t clear whether City would host or travel to Charlton. This season, Norwich were left out all together.
There are plenty more examples too, and everyone is still learning what is acceptable. Fair play to both Norwich and Ipswich for last season’s unity in tackling social media abuse from either side of the Waveney. It’s not acceptable in person, so why should it be allowed digitally?
Those are the initiatives that will help make social media a bearable, worthwhile place to be. Until then, we can all share in the lessons others – myself included – have already learned.
• For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…