The internet is a weird place. Perhaps you already knew this, but if you didn’t, let me tell you it is.
Not only is it populated by strange folk, it also makes perfectly reasonable people act unreasonably.
Whether you could put me in the category of ‘perfectly reasonable’ is up for some debate, but I’m not immune to the negative effects of the internet myself.
Far from it. I’m as susceptible to a combustive reaction as anyone, believe me. And as a now 42-year-old man, I’m under no illusion that I should know better, but in my defence I haven’t always been this age and the person I used to be in my younger years, partially stays with me.
You see, I may be old now, but I’m still made up of the many parts of the people I once was, and all put together they make me. That’s the way I look at it anyway.
Fortunately, I can tend to keep my more immature instincts in check. For some though, it doesn’t seem to be so easy.
Needless to say, this particular part of the internet I’m talking about is Twitter.
To me, Twitter is like the nice housing estate you grew up on as a kid that has been left unloved and unpoliced and now there’s graffiti everywhere and the elderly are afraid to go to the shops.
Basically, Twitter is now Hell’s Kitchen, New York in the 1970s.
If you want to take the analogy a little further, then you’d probably see me on the street corner, chewing gum suggestively, prostituting my work to everyone who passes.
That last sentence is incredibly close to the truth, but then again, if I don’t self-promote there’ll be no promotion at all.
In all fairness, Twitter has been kind to me. The main reason you’re reading these words now is because of Twitter and the platform it gave me to showcase my work.
And by ‘work’, I mean telling people their opinion about goalkeeping is wrong. Kind of.
Up to now, I haven’t been too troubled by negativity. The only grief I’ve got from Twitter has been from my girlfriends for the inordinate amount of time I spend staring into my iPhone rather than into their eyes, but I’ve just about managed to convince them that longing looks won’t pay the bills, but explaining why Michel Vorm cost Spurs a goal at the weekend does. That’s my excuse for being on Twitter and I’m sticking to it.
Now though, it’s just part of coming on Twitter. People are now in their metaphorical starting blocks, ready to jump on you. There’s no allowance for a difference of opinion.
There has to be a right and a wrong, a black and a white, with no shades of grey in between. Every opinion disagreed with is mocked.
And this is the thing. It’s ok to disagree. It really is. But you shouldn’t fall into the same trap I used to of thinking there has to be a winner in a two-sided discussion.
I’ve got all the time in the world for reasoned discussion and if I’m being told something I don’t know, then all the better.
But when it comes to straight personal opinions, how can anyone be wrong? Especially when it comes to something as objective as football.
Two pairs of eyes can see totally different games and the brain appreciates what it sees through your own personal prism.
Example. I made a comment about a crunching tackle from last week’s games saying it’s as good as any goal. A sentiment that many agreed with.
Both players 100% committed, the striker somersaulting in the air as contact is made and he dusts himself off and gets on with the game. As it should be.
So what did someone comment? ‘So in your mind that’s as good as Ronaldo’s bicycle kick?’ and then proceeded to tell me I should be ‘more open to being wrong’.
So just to recap here, this is me saying that I like a particular thing and a stranger from the internet telling me I’m wrong for liking it.
It doesn’t stop there though. Craig Russell included me in a tweet with a picture of Burton keeper Dimi Evtimov’s challenge with Charlie Wyke saying that goalkeepers tend to get away with challenges like this more often than not.
A statement that I couldn’t disagree with, but as a sometime spokesman for the Goalkeepers Union™️ I’d have to say that in our defence, we only play to the boundaries allowed by the officials.
Now, I’d been working elsewhere on Saturday and I hadn’t seen the incident, so I just commented to say so, but that it did indeed look a sore one.
A fair response? You’d think so, but apparently not good enough for some.
“Sore one? It deserves more than just a flippant ‘looks a sore one’ IMO!”. Castigated for not saying the Burton keeper should be on Death Row for his tackle.
Now I have seen it though, and unfortunate as the injury to Charlie is, it’s difficult to see that it’s anything other than two players committed to winning the ball, and in that situation a keeper HAS to win the ball or it’s likely to end in a goal, so of course he is going to put everything in to it.
In my opinion, the likelihood of any intent is negligible.
In fact, the keeper does get to the ball first. Granted, the still photos don’t look great, but you cannot say that from the angle shown on TV it was anything other than a full-blooded tackle.
It’s difficult to see the full details of whether anything untoward has occurred. And if that’s the case from TV footage, it’s reasonable for the referee to think the same.
All that’s left to say is to wish Charlie a speedy recovery and hope that was a good enough explanation for everyone.
I apologise if it isn’t to everyone’s liking, and I’m sure if it isn’t, you’ll be sure to let me know.