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Does Darragh MacAnthony go too far on Twitter?

To any football fan who regularly uses Twitter, the account of outspoken Peterborough United Chairman, Darragh MacAnthony, will be very familiar. He has quickly broken his promise not to comment on matchdays anymore to try and seem less controversial and he has been as opinionated as ever recently. 

His most recent tirade came in the wake of Peterborough’s 1-0 defeat at home to AFC Wimbledon which was such a poor performance, especially in the wake of their brilliant 3-0 win over local rivals Northampton in the week. It is the latest in a series of disappointing performances by the Posh this season that has seen the side fail to win consecutive games in the league so far. MacAnthony is clearly not happy about recent events. We ask, Does he go too far and are MacAnthony’s Twitter comments about his team really helping?

The unlucky recipient of MacAnthony’s wrath on Saturday night was Paul Taylor. MacAnthony ripped into him for his lack of goals and what he perceives to be his aversion to getting into the box.

These are just a few from the lengthy rant/impromptu Q&A session that took place following the game. While it is true that striker Paul Taylor has only scored twice in all competitions this season and needs to up his game, many have raised questions over whether Twitter is the best platform for criticism. Surely the player’s confidence will be knocked by seeing his chairman publically shame his performances, a word in his office or leaving it to the manager perhaps could have been a better course of action. Singling out just one player for such heavy criticism is certainly unusual but one thing you need to know about Darragh is that if he thinks something needs saying, he will say it.

MacAnthony has certainly created a reputation for himself and the club, players that join Peterborough know that they are expected to perform and if not they can expect to be slammed on the internet. MacAnthony is undoubtedly trying to get his message across to his players and he thinks that using this means will make sure that they take notice. It is hard to say that this tactic is working as the underperformance that has blighted Posh’s last three seasons shows no signs of abating.

It is hard to argue that he doesn’t have a right to do this, after all, it is his club and his money he’s pouring into it. I’m sure there are plenty of chairman who have similar thoughts after games but just don’t have the same platform to express their views. Should we really be complaining as this rant is giving us an insight into what’s really going on inside the club? Something fans of other clubs are crying out for.

I’ve always been one to think that players should accept criticism and work harder to prove the doubters wrong rather than sulking. So long as it isn’t a weekly barrage, I can’t see the problem but I’m sure many of you reading disagree, this subject is certainly the most controversial when dealing with MacAnthony’s Twitter use.

Sadly, whenever you interact with fans, inevitably there will be the ones just looking for a reaction. Unfortunately, MacAnthony can also be seen regularly getting drawn into arguments with fans. Perhaps most famously, he got into a heated exchange with journalist, talkSPORT presenter and Posh fan, Adrian Durham. The argument stemmed from a piece Durham had written that criticised MacAnthony and his decision-making at the club. 

This is the area I dislike the most about MacAnthony’s use of Twitter. I agree with a lot of the points Durham made in the piece he wrote but I don’t see the point in arguing about it with him online. He runs the club and it’s his job to make the decisions, one fans voice on Twitter isn’t going to make him change his mind and as is proven in this case. MacAnthony is arguing back just to tell Adrian Durham that he is wrong. I just think the whole exchange is pointless and I don’t like the damage it does to the club’s image. I worry what other fans must think when they see our chairman getting drawn into petty arguments with ‘keyboard warriors.’

However, there are positive ways MacAnthony uses Twitter. He often receives tweets of praise from opposition fans. Many of whom wish their own chairman was so open with the fans.

This honesty is soemthing that fans really value, Posh fans are very welcome to tweet him questions and they can expect a reply too. MacAnthony is very keen to keep the fans in the loop, one of his main reasons for using Twitter. He also gives insights into what’s going on behind the scenes at the club and tries to be honest with the fans whenever he can. When you support a club and invest so much of your life into supporting them it feels great when you see that love is reciporcated and you are able to get that bit closer.

Also, his Twitter account is well worth a follow on dealine day!

When it comes down to it, I love checking Darragh’s Twitter. There’s always something there that will make you laugh, make you happy, keep you informed and sometimes annoy you. Yes, sometimes I wish he didn’t get so drawn into petty little arguments but I’d much rather have it that way than not having the connection. We all know that fans are what make football, since the game would be nothing without them, all clubs should be looking for any way they can to connect with the fans and Darragh MacAnthony’s use of Twitter is one of the best I can think of.

Then when it comes to cririticing the team, I can sypatihse with him. This is a man that loves the club, the club owe him millions and all he wants from them is for them to give their all to work towards promotion. He, more than any of us, is entitled to an opinion and let’s be honest alot of the time he is agreeing with the fans criticisms and on this occasion (Wimbledon game) he was right. There is a time and a place for everything of course but every now and then footballer’s need reminding of their jobs and if they can’t handle criticism then they’re in the wrong profession.

Does he cross the line sometimes? Yes. However, surely we can forgive a man for simply showing his passion I’d much rather have it that way than him stop using Twitter altogether. Twitter is a massive part of modern football and Darragh MacAnthony is at the forefront of it, Posh fans should realise how lucky they are.

Feature image credit: Rodney Burton

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