Alice Jones: Don't deny me my sporting heroes' secrets

The thing is...
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The Independent Online

The thing is, I didn't get to watch the glorious fifth day's play unfold at Lord's this week, but I did get to hang out in the dressing room with the team. As such, I can tell you that Broady likes Grazia, Goober is looking for love and Swanny celebrated with a spot of Rolling Stones "caraoke" (karaoke in your car, keep up) on the way home.

OK, I didn't share their champagne and cucumber sandwiches in person but I do follow the England cricketers on Twitter so it was almost as good as being there in the pavilion. If you follow several of them, it's like eavesdropping on the kind of laddy, bar-room badinage that's designed to be overheard. It's no accident, surely, that the team's matey, quickfire repartee online is currently matched by superb timing and teamwork on the pitch. Perhaps Twitter is the new sledging – a means of psyching out the opposition with relaxed, look-how-close-we-are banter before the first over has begun.

Now, though, Mick McCarthy wants to spoil the fun. The Wolverhampton Wanderers manager has raised the prospect of Twitter joining alcohol, prescription medicine and WAGs on the pre-match banned list for sportsmen. He's worried about "twits tweeting" his dug-out secrets, the prospect of "some disgruntled numpty" who has been dropped from the team having his tweet revenge by revealing the starting line-up to the world.

Perhaps McCarthy's right to be anxious. More than any other demographic, it's sportsmen who land themselves in hot water when presented with the unimaginable freedom of a smartphone, 140 characters and an audience. Kevin Pietersen turned the site blue when he was dropped last summer and Shane Warne struggled to conceal his not-so-secret fling with Liz Hurley. Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney lurches from PR storm (threatening to put an abusive fan "asleep") to PR triumph (twitpic-ing his hair transplant) on a tweet-by-tweet basis.

None, though, rival Paul Gallagher for online own goals. The Leicester City striker joined up this week and seconds later announced, graphically, what he was going to do to his wife that evening to his 3,000 followers. These included his mother-in-law, who promptly, proudly retweeted the smutty message. Which just goes to show, when it comes to sports stars, there's no such thing as too much information.