MARTIN SAMUEL: Dulux ‘banter’ and Phil Foden’s call-out tweet to PSG’s Kylian Mbappe highlight fakery of social media… it is becoming a worthless exchange
- Spurs announced on Thursday that Dulux are their new official paint supplier
- However the paint brand mocked the club minutes after the deal was announced
- Just a day earlier Phil Foden was left furious at a tweet sent on his twitter account
- Earlier this season Joe Hart apologised after his social media team made an error
- These ‘banter’ interactions show just how fake social media has now become
Even paint manufacturers, it would seem, have a department responsible for banter.
No sooner had Tottenham announced Dulux as their official paint supplier, their new partners were cracking wise on social media at the expense of Jose Mourinho and his team.
When one fan remarked the empty trophy room could be utilised to store cans of paints, Dulux agreed and posted a picture of an unused trophy cabinet, complete with Tottenham branding.
‘Paint the dusty trophy cabinet,’ they were then advised. ‘Don’t be silly, surfaces should be dust free before painting,’ Dulux guffawed.
Tottenham announced its new partnership with paint brand Dulux on Thursday morning
However, Dulux’s official Twitter account mocked the club’s lack of silverware soon after
It was later suggested the way Tottenham are playing, the Dulux dog — there have been 14, the original was Dash, the most famous Digby and Madison is the incumbent — could play centre-half.
‘He might do a better job,’ mocked Dulux. This appears to be the bantz that broke the camel’s back and Spurs-related posts were swiftly removed. It would have been fun to have heard the talk preceding that decision.
So what have we learned? Perhaps Madison is a closet Arsenal season ticket holder; or that there is now a media studies graduate in the Slough area seeking fresh employment; or that when a subsidiary of AkzoNobel, a Dutch multinational paint and performance coatings company that hit sales of £7.37billion in 2020, is muscling in on the banter game, maybe we’ve reached a peak.
Meanwhile, in Dortmund, Phil Foden was celebrating Manchester City’s arrival in the Champions League semi-finals by winding up their next opponents, Paris Saint-Germain.
Foden appears self-effacing despite his enormous talent. So just the type of person to post a picture of himself scoring with the message, ‘@KMbappe are you ready?’ As the winner of a World Cup and four French titles at the age of 22, Kylian Mbappe looks like he might be.
Is it wise to wind him up — or try to turn this into a personal shoot-out, which may ruffle a few feathers at camp Neymar? No wonder City were furious — as was Foden who, we are led to believe, would only have seen it when it was already in the public domain.
Foden doesn’t manage his own feed. He has a person pretending to be him, just like Joe Hart, who sent a post congratulating his Tottenham team-mates on getting knocked out of the Europa League by Dinamo Zagreb, and Jesse Lingard, who posted about playing football PlayStation games while at a memorial service for the dead of Munich.
On both occasions, social media managers were blamed. ‘Joe Hart’ was not even watching the game and was under the impression it was Tottenham that had won 3-0. ‘Jesse Lingard’ was unaware of his master’s movements.
Phil Foden was furious with the tweet sent without his approval, which tagged Kylian Mbappe
‘People don’t know us, people judge us from social media,’ the real Lingard later observed.
If so, why let someone else send your personality into the world? ‘Can you tweet something like… Unbelievable support yesterday and great effort by the lads! Hard result to take! But we go again!’ posted Victor Anichebe after Sunderland’s 1-0 defeat by West Ham in 2016, shining light on the magic.
Maybe post less, think more, is the moral. And if you’re worried about your spelling, don’t be. ‘Jesse Lingard’ can’t spell either.
The only thing that is real on social media, it seems, is the racism. But is that even true? There are plenty of racist creeps out there, undoubtedly, and sending an anonymous monkey emoji is clearly a racist act. But it’s not one requiring a great deal of commitment. It’s not exactly a march through the Oldham powder keg; hardly risking arrest or confronting Antifa through the barricades. Wait for Manchester United to lose, ping off a gorilla to Fred or Marcus Rashford, sit back and wait for the morning’s headlines.
It’s horrible; but it’s also a spiteful wind-up, an obvious triggering device. It’s racism for dummies —well, all racism’s that — or Racism 1.0. And, most likely, the person that sees it first isn’t the intended target, but a monitoring doppelganger.
Eventually, the individual will be reached and then what? He posts his disgust, or is that left to a social media team, too?
Increasingly, the whole experience is fake. The personas, the responses, the casual, easy racism. It is a worthless exchange, zero value, zero engagement. If your account is a magnet for racists and it’s not even your account, you are almost providing a service, a platform for these horrors of human beings. Why feed that monster?
Joe Hart apologised for his social media gaffe (right) after Tottenham’s Europa League exit
Say what you like about Gary Lineker but at least that account is his own. Same with Stan Collymore and Gary Neville, who fiercely advocates taking personal charge and mocked England players who appeared to send choreographed messages after the win in Albania.
There is now talk of social media boycotts to address the issue of online abuse, although it is hard to imagine the impact even seven days of silence will have. Collymore spoke of a year out, and of the players taking the clubs with them, but the type of controls being advocated — an end to online anonymity for instance — could have a catastrophic effect in countries where freedom of speech is not prized.
Equally interesting has been the reaction of the coaches. Jurgen Klopp, Mourinho, Steve Bruce, Dean Smith were all strong in their criticism. Yet Thomas Tuchel went further. ‘My advice is very clear,’ he said. ‘Shut it off, don’t do it, talk. Talk to people, talk to your friends, be close to your real friends.’
Not as a way of fighting racism, or sexism, but to improve the planet by returning authenticity to human interaction. So what we know of Foden or Lingard, or Tottenham, or Madison the Dulux dog, is what we see, not what is projected for us.
Alternately we carry on along this path — spitting out monkey emojis and verbally sparring with Old English Sheepdogs, as gradually our world becomes a zoo.
CRACKS IN UNITED’S RED WALL
Manchester United have changed the decor surrounding the pitch at Old Trafford after the players complained the red backdrops made it hard to pick out a team-mate during the game.
Makes you wonder why the club works so hard at selling those red shirts, the red leisure wear and all manner of red paraphernalia.
When fans come back, maybe they should ban the wearing of red. They could all come in Manchester City’s colours and make it easier.
The lower tier seating at Old Trafford has been covered with a red wrapping with supporters not permitted to attend amid the Covid-19 pandemic – but it is said to have distracted players
TUCHEL NOT THE FIRST DRIVEN POTTY BY PORTO
When Barcelona played a European Cup tie in Porto in 1985, the team arrived at their hotel to discover they had been allocated rooms on the upper floors.
‘They told us there was a problem with the lifts,’ recalled Terry Venables. ‘We had to lug all the kit, everything we needed, up these huge flights of stairs.’ Barcelona progressed, but it’s fair to say Venables didn’t see the engineering issue as coincidental.
Jose Mourinho was surprised on arriving at Chelsea to find out that English clubs could not bend the schedule to suit their European commitments as Porto could, bringing matches forward to allow for maximum preparation time. Fast forward again and, in 2012, after a cordial lunchtime gathering between the clubs, Porto’s mood turned distinctly frosty when that night Manchester City complained of racist chanting towards their players Mario Balotelli and Yaya Toure.
The fall-out from that incident continues, with Porto sending a newsletter to supporters containing an extraordinary 529-word attack on Manchester City, when they were paired together in this season’s Champions League group stage. Porto coach Sergio Conceicao also claimed Pep Guardiola had bad-mouthed him during the game – he said much the same about Thomas Tuchel, of Chelsea, this week.
There were also false claims that Chelsea players celebrated getting Porto in the draw and, before both matches against English opposition this season, ugly jibes about Premier League wealth.
So while we cannot know whether Tuchel did indeed tell Conceicao and his club to f*** off, as is claimed, he would be speaking for an awful lot of people if he did.
DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES WITH BORIS CONDUCTING THE TOON
Boris Johnson’s involvement in the Saudi Arabians’ frustrated and to here unsuccessful attempts to buy out Newcastle smacks of desperation on all sides.
Newcastle fans are desperate for a wealthy new owner, even one who has been implicated in murder. Harry Redknapp had it right. Saddam Hussein would have been a popular custodian, or manager, of a Premier League club as long as he kept winning.
‘By the last match of the season the fans would have been singing, ‘There’s only one Saddam’,’ he said.
Mike Ashley is desperate too. He wants out and thought he had closed a deal at a good price, £300million, only to see it scuppered by the Premier League.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (left) wanted Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s (right) intervention on his failed £300million takeover attempt of Newcastle United
He considers the agreement concrete, however, and will not even enter into discussions with another suitor in case it is undermined. Yet most desperate of all is Johnson.
Post-Brexit Britain has lost strength in the global marketplace and needs allies. He cannot afford to upset America, he cannot afford to take on China, or India, or Saudi Arabia. If the crown prince wants to buy Newcastle, Johnson would rather have the Premier League sell out than risk insulting a trade partner. Welcome to the sunlit uplands. Still, they were an easier sell than the forelock-tugging reality.
Yet Johnson might get lucky. Saudi interest in Newcastle remains strong, and negotiations continue. The piracy issue affecting beIN Sports has largely subsided, although there are those within the league who do not believe a short period of recent good behaviour erases what went before.
They still want guarantees that Saudi-owned Newcastle could not wash their hands of responsibility if the Premier League’s TV deal was caught in hostilities between rival Gulf nations. There is certainly potential the deal can be resurrected, mind, and Johnson’s intervention would then be viewed as crucial even if it was probably not.
Whether he would want the credit for it, given who he has been cheerleading for, is another matter. Depends how desperate everybody is.
IT’S NOT A TARANTINO MOVIE, UEFA CAN’T ALLOW REVENGE
Evidence. That is what UEFA had against Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela. The word of Glen Kamara, the support of a witness, Bongani Zungu, and the footage that saw the Czech player cup a hand over his mouth before whispering in Kamara’s ear. Kamara’s fury was instantaneous, his accusations consistent.
Given Kudela’s denials and the fact the witness was Kamara’s Rangers’ team-mate it may not have been enough in a court of law, which is why UEFA settled for their standard 10-game ban.
A year, which is what Kamara’s lawyer wanted, would almost certainly have been challenged. We’ll see how far the police get.
Ondrej Kudela (right) was on Wednesday handed a 10-game ban by UEFA for his ‘racist behaviour’ towards Rangers’ Glen Kamara (left) during their Europa League tie last month
There was also controversy over the three-match suspension given to Kamara for striking Kudela in the tunnel. Yet UEFA were in an impossible position. The mitigating circumstances were understood but they couldn’t set a precedent in which players decide appropriate retribution for offences.
Quentin Tarantino can write about Nazi-scalping Jews and Django Unchained but, in the real world, UEFA cannot condone physical assault, no matter how righteous. Kamara’s reaction is only made palatable by events. What if the evidence against Kudela hadn’t been found?
By contrast, Mouctar Diakhaby’s claim against Juan Cala in LaLiga appears to have hit a wall.
Examination of audio recordings and lip-read transcriptions have found no evidence of racial abuse by the Cadiz defender. This does not mean it didn’t happen, but it cannot be proven. That’s where investigations end.
TIME FOR RUGBY TO SHOW THEY LOVE THE LIONS
The Premiership Rugby final coincides with the British and Irish Lions warm-up game on June 26.
Naturally, the players of the clubs involved are not going to be available for the match or the preceding weeks of training. That some Premiership clubs may cling on to players whose season is over, just because the training camp is scheduled outside the international window, however, appears wantonly obstructive. All rugby folk claim they love the Lions. Prove it.
CRICKET PERMEATES OUR LANGUAGE
Critics of the Hundred’s terminology — replacing existing means of scoring so that ‘wickets’ will become ‘outs’ — say the sport is being crassly turned into baseball. This isn’t true.
Baseball has always known its place in the American consciousness and no sport is more in touch with its history and traditions. That’s why its phrases — a ball park figure, stepping up to the plate, throwing a curve ball, three strikes and you’re out, coming out of left field, playing hard ball — endure in American English.
Cricket is our equivalent. On a sticky wicket, had a good innings, knocked for six, just not cricket — the sport permeates our language.
What a pity it now seems to be run by people who hate it.
The Hundred is a new 100-ball franchise cricket tournament set to begin in 100 days on July 21
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