Fans who tweet abuse are twits

Monday 11th February 2013 13:41

Kyle Bennett: Has been the victim of criticism in recent weeks

Kyle Bennett: Has been the victim of criticism in recent weeks

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FanZoner Daniel Nice feels saddened by Doncaster fans who take to Twitter to post abuse to players they should be supporting.

Fans are always entitled to an opinion but it appears that traditional methods for discussion have been replaced - and it isn't necessarily for the better.

Rather than chewing the fat after a defeat over a pint, people now take to shouting their views at matches, or posting on Twitter or fan forums.

I will always fight for freedom of speech but when it becomes personally abusive, then it goes too far. Doncaster Rovers winger Kyle Bennett has been the victim of criticism in recent weeks.

Some of that criticism has been constructive but there has also been a fair amount of unsavoury incidents.

Before I start, let me make it clear that such tweets are obviously from a minority of people. The people who post on Twitter may not even be Doncaster Rovers fans.

Bennett was jeered off during the 2-0 defeat at Bury and then had his effort questioned on Twitter after the game. Clearly hurt by the accusation, Bennett himself took to the social media platform to voice his displeasure.

That to me is a natural reaction and while it may have been best for him not to pass comment from a PR perspective, players are only human.

I'm sure by Kyle's own admission he didn't have his best game for us at Gigg Lane but it certainly wasn't for the lack of effort. Things just didn't work out on the day. This 'he wasn't trying' is a statement fans often come out with when the team has lost.

The whole team had an off-day at Bury and the home side deserved to win. Why can't we just admit that? Why must it always be an individual's fault?

Brian Flynn defended Kyle in the media but then opted to put him on the bench ahead of Saturday's 2-1 loss to Walsall. This raised an interesting question to me: was he left out because of a lack of form, or because Flynn was protecting him?

Given Flynn's buzzword since taking over from Dean Saunders has been 'continuity' - players have only been left out when injured so far - it seems to be highly plausible that Bennett was taken out of the line of supporters' fire.

Perhaps that was a sensible decision by an experienced manager who played as a wide midfielder? Or could it be that those who shout loudest or tweet with the most impact are listened to the most in effect? Did Flynn feel he had to leave him out because of the reaction?

If that was the case, it is a sad state of affairs in many ways.

I like Bennett as a player because I feel he offers us something different. Creative wingers will often frustrate because they try things. Without him, James Husband, Dave Syers and Iain Hume, Rovers had no pace against a lively, in-form Walsall outfit. The performance was subsequently lethargic.

Am I writing this article to defend Kyle? Not specifically - I'd do it to any player win the same circumstances.

Kyle being a good player is just my opinion and I'll listen to anybody who feels that he shouldn't be in the team at the moment. But under all circumstances, there is no need for people to tweet abusively towards individuals.

There have been other recent examples where David Cotterill's wife Sasha and right-back Paul Quinn have been the victims of abusive tweets. Sasha comes to watch her husband and offers her thoughts on the game. She engages with the fans yet was then victim to an unprovoked attack by a 'fan'. It is pathetic.

I use Twitter to post messages of encouragement to individual players and many have replied with nice comments back. It is great to be able to pass messages on and I enjoy receiving replies. That is the positive side of the process.

I often voice my opinions on performance, tactics, selection etc but all of it is constructive. I won't blame a manager or individual for any given defeat but I will post on how I think the situation can be improved.

Many of us fans are frustrated managers who think we can do better, after all! But Flynn has coached Gareth Bale, Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey among others, so I'll bow to his greater knowledge!

I am not a big fan of Paul Keegan and James Harper playing together in central midfield, for example. That is purely my opinion. It is neither right nor wrong. I won't personally attack either player and I don't expect to be attacked by any fan who thinks otherwise.

Some will disagree and I enjoy the debate that different opinions create. That is what football is all about; a modern-day version of the 19th century coffee houses. We buy a latte, put down the newspaper and talk. We pays our money, we takes our choice. We either change our argument or agree to disagree. We move on.

What we don't do is post personally abusive messages. The fact I'm writing this as Doncaster Rovers sit joint top of the table speaks volumes about the ridiculous kneejerk reactions to a couple of defeats.

If you wanted to win every week, you wouldn't support Doncaster Rovers after all.

After 20 years as a Rover, I can assure you we're not in for the glory!

You can follow Dan on Twitter here

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