Matt Butler: From Dubai to Fury... An afternoon of tales from Twitter
Saturday's sport, Twitter
What can you learn from Twitter, aside from groan-inducing puns, libellous allegations and discovering which minor celebrity has managed to get their mitts on the latest BlackBerry? Quite a lot, if one Saturday's attempt to follow the day's sport is anything to go on.
Two days ago was an ideal time to ascertain how useful the application can be to keep tabs on sporting matters, as there were no fewer than seven Premier League games which kicked off in the broadcast no-go zone of three in the afternoon, plus a near full programme of Football League matches.
Of course, the disclaimer to this not-so-scientific study is that only one account was monitored (@mattbutler503, since you ask) and therefore any information gleaned – or missed – is based on one person's choice of users to follow.
And the first thing we learn is that the fabled pre-match anticipation begins early for players.
Not only that, it also appears that Jason Roberts (right), the Reading striker sidelined with a hip complaint, occupies some kind of utopian, early-1980s parallel universe.
His tweet from ten to nine in the morning: "Woke to Cyrille Regis goals being played, Dennis Brown on the radio and pot 'pon fire. Now three points for the boys." How the other half lives. Shame Reading lost 3-1.
More prosaic in his pre-match build-up was Robert Snodgrass, the Norwich forward: "Pub footballer or Premier League, nothing beats the feeling of waking up on game day." It probably was the best he felt all day, as his side lost 4-0 to Manchester United.
Of course, the story everyone was talking about on Saturday was Queen's Park Rangers' alleged alcohol-fuelled "stag party" antics in Dubai – and Twitter revealed there are few original thinkers when it comes to gags about Harry Redknapp's players getting excited at the manager's warning that there would be lots of boos before the match at his former club, Southampton.
QPR's official channels, on the other hand, were quick off the mark in reacting to the revelations, as the press officer tweeted, with ominous ellipsis, at around nine in the morning: "The club is aware of the article but the club's entire focus is on today's fixture with Southampton..."
Once the football actually started, there followed a relentless barrage of score and incident updates, but, such is the format of Twitter, there is always a gleaming nugget of randomness in the stream of cyber-consciousness.
On Saturday it was the turn of Tyson Fury, the heavyweight boxer, who revealed in 44 characters far more than was necessary at 3.15pm, as well as his disregard for apostrophe rules, when he tweeted: "Shout out to all my sexy lady's in da house." The mind boggles as to what he was up to.
But throughout the day QPR remained the only story in town, especially after they managed to post their third win of the season – and even more so when Redknapp let rip at "agents" spreading scurrilous rumours with regards to the Dubai booze-up story.
Newspaper hacks teasingly tweeted: "Never seen 'Arry so cross – read about it tomorrow." Pah. It was as if the age of instant information had passed them by. Oh.
Aside from score updates, embarrassing boxers and booze-hound gags – and that Rio Ferdinand is a bit of a statto regarding his team-mate Shinji Kagawa's hat-trick – Saturday's Twitter taught us something worth knowing: that you can express pathos in under 140 characters.
This from the local press photographers at the Kettering Town v AFC Totton match: "Tannoy announcement: 'Not sure the right person is going to get this, but a hearing aid has been found by the men's toilets.'"
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