On Tuesday the Twittersphere was full of people prophesising the demise of Kenny Dalglish. After a bitterly disappointing season with Liverpool, rumour was rife that the Reds legend was on his way out of Anfield.
The rumours were sparked by news Dalglish was winging his way to Boston to talk to the club’s American owner John Henry.
With the growing usage of social media, everyone is a football ‘pundit’. Whether it is Joey Barton, the Anfield Cat or my fine self, online prophets rush to be the first to tell everyone about sporting developments.
We have far too much to say for ourselves when left alone with a keyboard in front of us and the whole world behind the screen eager to know what we think.
The fact everyday thousands of fake stories are broken over Twitter is one thing but another issue is how it is the negative stories that spread like wildfire – whether that's Barton’s ridiculous kung-fu act against Manchester City on Sunday or the sacking of Alex McLeish.
It seems there is no news better than bad news but wouldn't it be lovely if sport was reported on in a more positive and fun way. However serious we believe football is it never will be. Don't we have enough depressing and negative stories at the front of our newspapers?
The self-appointed Twitter sackeratti take far too much enjoyment about spreading news of another football manager’s demise. Andre Villas-Boas is out! Hoorah! Fabio Capello is out! Hoorah! McCarthy! Hoorah! Warnock! Hoorah (that was Joey Barton). You get the picture.
Why is there this obsession with managers who get the sack? Seriously, why? They will just be replaced with another manager who will get the sack. And then another manager who will get the sack. Is it simply a case of enjoying the downfall of someone else or is it to congratulate ourselves because we saw it coming.
"At any one moment the Liverpool legend found himself in the air and sacked, in America and sacked, at home and sacked, in the sack and sacked, on Twitter and finding out he was sacked, and then that he wasn’t"
But did we really see it coming? Without being party to what is going on behind the scenes, it is the blind that lead the blind on Twitter.
Throughout the day, the absurdity of online commentary was revealed to its full extent as the footballing world pondered the fate of Dalglish.
At any one moment the Liverpool legend found himself in the air and sacked, in America and sacked, at home and sacked, in the sack and sacked, on Twitter and finding out he was sacked, and then that he wasn’t.
One positive to come out of this negative Twitter twaddle is that it strengthens the more traditional forms of news broadcasting. Even though social media has gatecrashed the newsrooms of the world, fact still dominates the agenda. Rumours may be referred to but news isn’t put out there until it is official.
Broadcasters such as Al Jazeera have rules, regulations and a framework to adhere to but it is the Wild West on sites such as Twitter. Al Jazeera also has to protect its reputation and the reputation of the people it represents but individuals on Twitter give up their own credibility to share rumours on the off-chance they might be right.
But so what if you are right? And so what if he has been sacked? This is not what sport should be about.
The English Premier League was so remarkable this season we have run out of adjectives, so why are people interested in the banner Carlos Tevez held up at the parade or where in the world Kenny Dalglish was when he wasn’t/was sacked.
Twitter is a great way for people to communicate but when it comes to football one wishes it wouldn’t take itself so seriously.
The clue is, and always has been, in the title.
Follow Joey Barton (@Joey7Barton), the Anfield Cat (@AnfieldCat) and my fine self (@joannatilley).
Joanna Tilley is a freelance journalist working with Al Jazeera on the Sport website. She has worked at Sky News, Sky Sports News, LBC Radio. Sportasylum.com, TNT Down Under and Wanderlust magazine. Follow her on Twitter (@joannatilley) or her website, mythoughtonsport.com.
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