Twitter Ye Not! Ryan Babel, Glen Johnson and 10 great football Twitter controversies
It's been a Tweet-tastic weekend for footballers - particularly Liverpool's social-media savvy stars Glen Johnson and Ryan Babel.
On Saturday Reds full-back Johnson sparked a row after referring to Paul Merson as an "alcoholic drug abuser" after the former Arsenal midfielder had questioned his attitude on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday programme .
But toilet seat enthusiast Johnson and Photoshop expert Babel are far from the first football Tweeters to be caught out by the tricky world of instant brain dump, as this Top 10 proves:
1) Darren Bent (
Proof that being an early adopter is not always an advantage, then Tottenham striker Bent became the first major footballer to make a Twit of himself when he embarked on a foul-mouthed rant aimed at Spurs chairman Daniel Levy in July 2009: "Do I wanna go Hull City. No. Do I wanna go Stoke. No. Do I wanna go Sunderland. Yes. So stop ******* around Levy." Seemingly unable to stop digging his own hole, Darren then posted again: "Why can't anything be simple? It's so frustrating hanging around doing jack ****. Seriously getting ****** off right now. Sunderland are not the problem in the slightest." It worked, mind: despite talk of an £80,000 club fine, Bent eventually got his Mackem move.
2) Kaka (
The Brazilian's hit and miss first season at Real Madrid took a significant downturn in March when, after being replaced by Raul in the Champions League-ending defeat to Lyon, Kaka appeared to attack coach Manuel Pellegrini in a Tweet saying: "A cowardly coach always substitutes a player to try to divert attention from his own powerlessness." The midfielder's Twitter page was usually updated by his wife Carolina Celico, but it transpired that this particular message actually came courtesy of the player's media manager Diogo Kotscho. "From now on I will only comment on cooking recipes," he subsequently promised.
3) Danny Gabbidon (
As anyone who's tried posting in a hurry will know, the Twitter spelling and punctuation police are one of the most formidable forces known to man. West Ham centre back Gabbidon fell foul of their long arms at the end of 2009 when he Tweeted the following after yet another hapless Hammers showing: "Sorry you had to witness that last night West Ham fans need to start showing the dedication that you have & things might start to improve!x". The lack of a crucial comma after the word 'fans' changed his attempt at self-deprecation into an attack on the Upton Park faithful, and Gabbs - temporally - quit the service in the resulting Twit-storm.
4) Jozy Altidore (
After being dropped for turning up late ahead of Hull's Premier League game against Portsmouth in October 2009, dozy Jozy Tweeted: "Apologise to all of you. I showed up late. Made a big mistake I'm very very sorry". Notoriously publicity-shy Tigers boss Phil Brown went ballistic and fined the on-loan 19-year-old, ranting: "That for me is information that stays in house. The reason he wasn't on the bench was our business."
5) Robbie Savage (
MirrorFootball's very own King of Banter found himself on the receiving end earlier this month when a lively discussion about footballers' wages was quoted out of context in another tabloid newspaper. Despite reasoning that "People who save lives and fight for their country and put their lives on the line should be on more than me but that's not my choice", Sav was slammed for supposedly backing mega-contracts like the one recently handed out to Wayne Rooney. Robbie quit Twitter in style, lambasting the paper's "lazy journalism" and telling them: "You finally won something! Well done!" You can't keep a good man down, however, and Sav reversed his retirement a few days later.
6) Gregory van der Wiel (
In October 2009, the Ajax full-back was ruled out of an international friendly in Australia with concussion. The injury didn't prevent him from going to see rapper Lil' Wayne in concert, although it might explain why he then decided to post pictures of himself enjoying said gig on Twitter. Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk failed to see the funny side and van der Wiel threatened to delete his account soon afterwards.
7) Ryan Babel (
Yes, him again. His indiscretion on Sunday isn't even his first Twitter offence. One of the more farcical moments in the dog days of Rafa Benitez's Liverpool tenure saw winger Ryan Babel express his displeasure at being dropped from the squad to face Stoke last January on Twitter - before the Spaniard had even held his pre-match press conference. "The Boss left me out. No explanation" Tweeted Babel. "Everyone has a Twitter," sighed Rafa in response. "It's impossible to stop people talking. It's not like in the past. It is more than just football."
8) The Dutch 2010 World Cup squad
What is it with the Oranjes and Twitter? The entire squad were banned from using it after winger Eljero Elia appeared to insult Moroccans while being streamed live online playing a video game. Gregory van der Wiel and Ryan Babel - them again! - confirmed that Dutch chiefs had issued a cease and desist order by, yes, revealing it on Twitter.
9) Darren Byfield (
Being divorced by Jamelia would do strange things to the minds of even the mightiest men, so you can perhaps forgive journeyman striker Byfield for going ever-so-slightly off the rails while watching Liverpool's 2009 Champions League exit at Lyon. Even so, there's no excusing the Tweet he aimed at Rafa Benitez: "Shud ov kept torres on silly peter kay lookalike'. Honestly, even Danny Gabbidon would have blanched at spelling like that.
10) Cristiano Ronaldo (
Perhaps the most surprising Tweet of modern times came last July when one of the world's most famous footballers - if not person - scooped the world by announcing not that he was expecting a baby, but that he had already had one: "It is with great joy and emotion that I inform I have recently become father to a baby boy" wrote Ronaldo, accompanied by the sound of a billion jaws dropping around the world.