The delivery of a foosball table was the first clue. Then David Bernstein bought the guys a lava lamp, which he ferried to the Wembley boardroom via his new scooter, stopping off to grab some sushi from the huddle room, where a brown bag breakout session was in full swing.
@bernstein_rulz @BarryBright78 OMG! ROFL at Brooking’s new cardie. Fix up Trev
The FA Disciplinary Commission just went social – and Ryan Babel is its first victim. The job adverts should be in the papers this weekend.
Wanted: Thousands of social media experts
Job Spec: Scour the Twitter timelines of every footballer in the Premier and Football Leagues for offensive remarks or images.
Requirements: Must speak 85 languages and whatever lingo it is @RioFerdy5 appears to be using.
Already @thefadotcom has made a start on the long haul. In the last few days, they’ve started following Rio, while @henri_lansbury and @jaybothroyd should also begin to exercise extra vigilance. Though it’s the music world that seems more likely to be brought into disrepute by Jay and teammates, judging by this video, and this one.
A little done, a lot more to do then for the footballing campaigners for social justice.
Or might there just be another way? Cancel that consignment of ergonomic mice. Hold the delivery of that Space Invaders cabinet.
What if – just hear me out now – what if, the angry men can find a way to replicate online the beautifully efficient system that served them so well when tweeting was what happened when Roy Hodgson bought dinner at Malmo?
You know the model, pretty straightforward really; do nothing about anything unless Alan Hansen mentions it on MOTD or Jim White sticks it on an hourly loop.
A little random, perhaps. A system that sees Lee Bowyer charged with stamping on Bacary Sagna but ignores a similar prod by Cameron Jerome on Laurent Koscielny in the same game because nobody on the telly seemed to care.
The kind of system that allows Darren Fletcher push Howard Webb because nobody on the telly seemed to care.
The kind of system that meant Fernando Torres could kick up the Old Trafford penalty spot as if looking for somewhere to bury his litter because nobody on the telly seemed to care.
But hey, who wants to stay in all weekend watching videos of Premier League games? The old ways were mighty labour-saving.
All the Disciplinary Commission needs to do is find Twitter’s answer to MOTD or Sky Sports News. A social judge and jury. @thefadotcom looks to have put the feelers out already by following @ParryandGraham, the motor-mouth Talksport pairing, who will not see anybody stuck for a snap judgment. The only downside is having to wade through lots of Tweets about dodgy builders.
@henrywinter looks a better bet, a prodigious Tweeter with a view on every controversy. And having famously launched a campaign to have Thierry Henry banned from the World Cup for his handball against Ireland, but strangely refused to demand similar sanction for every handball since, he espouses the kind of inconsistency the FA holds dear. Yes, Henry could be the man.
There’s no getting away from the fact that Ryan Babel was caught bang to rights. In a document outlining its disciplinary processes, the FA says it:
“…expects certain standards to be upheld in relation to public comments by participants. Whilst this area is most commonly associated with post-match comments about referees, it is not limited to such considerations.”
“By way of general guidance, the following types of public comment may lead to
disciplinary charges (although this is obviously not exhaustive):
â€¢ Implication of bias – where a comment implies bias by another Participant.
â€¢ Questioning integrity – where a comment calls into question the integrity of another Participant.”
Posting a picture of Howard Webb in a Manchester United shirt is probably covered there alright.
“What’s the difference between this handball and my one versus Spurs? Referees don’t want us to complain about them but they make life difficult for themselves.”
With thousands of footballers Tweeting all kinds of nonsense at all hours of the day and night, in every conceivable mental state, it seems odd that Ryan Babel is the only one being served with an FASBO for anti-social behaviour.
But that is how it’s always been at the FA.
This article first appeared on the Irish Examiner Sports Blog