Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver writes an exclusive column for the Harrogate Advertiser Series each week. This week he discusses the perils of social media, captain Shane Killock’s exit and Saturday’s defeat to Gloucester City.
Social media is a great outlet for debate in all forms of sport.
With football being watched by millions across the globe reactions to incidents are instantaneously reacted to and debated on forms of social media.
Before the recent World Cup many thousand England fans were picking their own team, eager to learn if their selections were to be the chosen ones by the actual manager to start for the national team.
So much emotion was stirred by the disappointment of the early exit of Roy Hodgson’s men and as expected this caused anger and resentment in the reaction of many.
In the 1980s and 90s this would have led to anger on the terraces and great pub debate amongst friends and football fans.
These days that hasn’t stopped but been added to with huge numbers of opinions being typed on computers before, during and after games.
There are people who can form their own opinion based on their experiences of watching football and be adamant about it and that’s more than fair play. In social media, with it being so immediate and reactive the dangers are out there however.
Emotions can run high because so many people are passionate about the game.
It can become an outlet to vent frustration, at times on someone they don’t even know. This frustration can sometimes lead to hatred and extreme behaviour and comments can follow which isn’t healthy for anyone if all rationale is lost.
I actually advise players to stay away from reading comments that may appear about them on Twitter or fans forums.
Even if the comments are good I want the players to stay level headed and focused on the job.
If the comments are negative or even worse personal then I’m not sure what the motivation is to read it. We have a code of conduct at the club that all players sign up to and this includes not reacting to social media comments. We had a player last year who reacted angrily to the comments of his former club’s supporters, hours after we played them.
I received a call from someone mentioning the fact that he’d responded and rang him immediately. Within half an hour he had wiped his comments off. There is just no need to fuel the fire. If you don’t like the comments about you then you shouldn’t read them, simple as that. It doesn’t make it right that some keyboard warriors vent their anger and turn it into personal abuse.
Opinions are fine, but abuse or vendettas aren’t. To be honest, I don’t spend my time on Twitter or reading anything where disparaging comments about me or my team may be common place.
A couple of years ago someone at the club came up close to me and asked me if I was Superman. I told him I wish I was but I thought he’d lost the plot by asking me that question. He informed me that someone was writing on a forum sounding like me under the pseudonym Superman.
Recently, another person asked me if I was the Voice of Reason, again I said thanks, but no, my name is Simon.
This weekend we will be going all out for a win.
We had two outgoings on the playing front. Ryan Kendall returned to Ferriby. He’s a good lad but things didn’t quite work out for him on the pitch and the return of Louis Swain meant that he had slipped further down the pecking order.
I was up front about this and this coincided with Ferriby’s interest. Secondly, Shane Killock has been loaned out to Guiseley.
Shane has been my club captain for more than a couple of seasons and conducts himself as a true professional. Guiseley were a center-half short and would have filled the void anyway and Shane had found himself out of the team due to the form of others such as Dave McGurk.
I wasn’t going to deny Shane the opportunity to join Guiseley on loan and this ensures that he has the next two months playing week in, week out. We have brought in Seb Carole on a non-contract basis and we decided to extend his trial over the next couple of weeks. Also, Luke Shiels joins us from Worksop.
He’s a big defender who is aggressive and athletic. Whilst Worksop are at a lower level I am keen to watch games at every level and not just scout players from higher up the pyramid.
There are gems out there with real desire and it is up to us to go out and find them.