How I lost a Twitter follower

I lost a Twitter follower this week. I know, because it hit me hard. I’ve been teetering on the edge of fifty (which I know is nothing) for a while now, and now it feels like I’ll never get there. Still, I made an amateur mistake, and I’m glad I realised before things got any worse.

As I mention in my profile, I go through phases. My cricket phase temporarily sated by England’s test series victory in India, I needed something to get wound up about, and fell back on my old love, football.

I can be mildly ridiculous regarding football. I once stayed up until three o’clock in the morning explaining the entire game to someone who’d never really come across it. They ended up going to a match with me, and loved it. If you’re reading, I fancy going again in March if you’re up for it, though I’m not a member any more.

I have been known to sit rigid in the pub when my team is playing, not really moving, drinking or calming down from my state of elevated panic until I’m quite sure the final whistle has gone. Even if it’s 3-1 at 90 minutes, I tend to assume we will lose.

Football is something I care about. I find it difficult not to. Even my team’s rather convincing four-goal-difference win at the weekend was marred by a) the fact they had to come back from behind, b) the horrendous off-the-field politics and c) the fact my heart was breaking every time I caught the lyrics to a chant because I wished I was there.

It wasn’t my own team’s exploits, however, that cost me my follower.

There is a certain figure, in football, who I cannot stand. I think he is smug, dishonest, racist, plays for the wrong team and is downright evil. So I may have wrote the following:

“See [player] pulled out the [trademark illegal goalscoring technique] today. #cheat”

Okay, I did write it. It was true, he did cheat, but I shouldn’t have said it. Because I’m not a football fan. I’m trying to become a sports journalist, and it’s not appropriate.

The person who dropped me based on that tweet, I probably wouldn’t like them in real life. Anyone who is so petty as to unfollow me on the basis of the fact I don’t like one of their players is not worth my time. There are plenty of people who don’t like certain players from my team, and if I unfollowed all of them I probably wouldn’t have an awful lot of tweets to read.

Still, I shouldn’t care about who this person was- they’re just a number to me. Networking, even on a platform so flimsy as Twitter, is a vital part of a whole selection of careers these days. I can’t afford to voice opinions on something as contentious as football. I’ll just stick to the rightful ownership of Gaza or something- it’s likely to get me in less trouble.

I have decided to keep my love of a certain team secret. Yes, go back a few posts and you’ll find out, but that’s not the point. The point is, from now on, my allegiance will only be made known to those I see in the flesh.


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