a quiet weekend lies ahead. Everton play Sunderland in the FA Cup which means we have to wait until Wednesday to face them in the league. Earlier in the week I was quite glad of the extra few days rest but now, faced with the prospect of an Arsenal free weekend, I’m itchy for football. Still, good things come to those who wait and stuff.
There are a few bits of team news. Diaby might play for the reserves on Tuesday, Andre Santos is back on track after his run out for the reserves, and Jack Wilshere’s progress is good but there’s still no date for his return. With just 6 weeks of the season left I wonder is it even worth considering him at all. Clearly, this time, he’s not going to play before he’s ready but he’s hardly likely to get match fit, and maybe taking a bit more time with him and ensuring he’s 100% ready so he can be LANS in August could be the best way.
Of course there’s that whole summer tournament thing, with Euro 2012 looming and Wilshere no doubt keen to be a part of that, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.
Speaking of Jack, he’s one of the most active Arsenal players in the social media field, and there’s an interesting video on Arsenal Player featuring head of communications, Mark Gonnella, talking about how the youngsters at the club are given training regarding Twitter, Facebook and so on. He says:
From day one when they start wearing the Arsenal badge they become people that everybody is interested to hear from.
There can sometimes be problems, while sometimes there can be a great story and it’s all good. What we’re here to do is make sure they get it right more than they get it wrong.
And you really have to give credit to the club for the way they’re going about this. There are positives and negatives to having a social media presence as a footballer. On one hand you can build a connection with fans that was never previously possible, on the other you open yourself up to the very worst of what the internet can offer. A goal one week and you’re a hero, a couple of bad performances and your own ‘fans’ are wishing death on you.
Of course, it’s best to ignore anyone for whom that seems a reasonable thing to tweet at a player of the club they support, but I’m sure it’s easier said than done when you’re the one upon whom death is being wished. Was it Darron Gibson (at Man Utd at the time) who opened and closed his Twitter account within 90 minutes of opening, such was the abuse leveled at him? I’ve likened it before to a great big pub where everyone, from all walks of life is allowed, there are no bouncers on the door, no security inside, and it is a real online melting pot.
From the club’s point of view though, it’s good that they’re being so realistic about it. Simply preventing players from using it would be wrong, teaching them how to use it given their positions and profiles is by far the most productive way to deal with things. In general the club have embraced social media like no other Premier League club, they use Twitter and Facebook very well, they have good connections with blogs and bloggers, and realise that this is a dynamic and necessary medium, despite the pitfalls it has.
We live in an age where everything is a story, from the smallest utterance on Twitter to things which are actually news, and I guess there’s an onus on fans as well to realise that this is what’s happening. How many times have we seen the most banal of Tweets end up as a story in the Daily Mail or Metro? For this reason the players, young and old, have to be aware that what they say is being monitored at all times, but fans should realise that not everything is worth getting knickers in a twist about.
We also need to remember that a player’s perspective is different to ours. We can be as visceral as we like, they might like to be (at times one or two have come close – when you look at Frimpong’s spats with Piers Morgan, for example), but generally speaking they don’t have the same outlook, something Tim Stillman touches on his column from last night.
Speaking of which, there’s further discussion of this topic in today’s Arsecast with Tim and Andrew Allen. Overall though, I think it’s a huge positive that as a club we encourage education rather than inhibit through prohibition, and while I’m sure there’ll be a mistake or two along the way – that’s inevitable, especially with young players – it’s a much more sensible and enlightened approach to take than managers and who refuse to understand how the world is changing.
And finally for today, Sol Campbell talks about how recent results, and the spirit show, augur well for the future. Worth a read.
Right then, onto this week’s Arsecast, and as well as discussion of social media, I chat with Tim Stillman and Andrew Allen about the Newcastle game, maybe trying to win games differently, and Robin van Persie’s spat with Tim Krul. Also, your chance to win some prints from the store in a competition and the usual waffle.
You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (23mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.
Right, that’s about that, have a good Friday, till tomorrow.