The world of football has learnt two important lessons about the Internet in as many days. After yesterday’s announcement that Tranmere Rovers were available to buy on eBay, Tottenham Hotspur striker Darren Bent made the kind of Twitter faux pas that would shame Habitat.
First up Tranmere Rovers though. The small Wirral based club with a big reputation for giant killing may be League 1 also-rans, but they came into focus when their owner reacted furiously to their attempted sale on eBay. At $10m for an opening bid you wouldn’t have thought it would be much of an issue, but Chairman Peter Johnson thinks differently suggesting it’s “not a second hand bike we’re selling.”
Unfortunately that statement was later brought into doubt, when in response to questioning over how much publicity they had raised Johnson stated that “the local paper mentioned it at the start of last year.” However, regardless of whether it was the right way to go about selling the club, or even if it was Dornoch Capital, a US firm in charge of finding new owners, it seems to have got people talking about Tranmere once again.
Next on the online hit list is Spurs hotshot Darren Bent. Despite netting 17 goals (the highest tally at the club) in another mediocre season for the North London based outfit, Bent has rarely garnered much in the way of popularity since his big money move from Charlton. Sadly, his status has taken a further battering since revelations leaked to the Tottenham hierarchy about his supposed Twitter messages.
First he criticised the Spurs board handling his transfer stating “Sunderland are not the problem in the slightest” and questioning “why can’t anything be simple?” Unwisely Bent then followed this up with “Do I wanna go to Hull? No. Do I wanna go to Stoke? No. Do I wanna go to Sunderland? Yes.” Bad news for Stoke, Hull and of course the player himself, who is now in serious hot water.
This is just the latest in a long running issue with Twitter and Facebook comments landing employees in trouble. Whilst Bent maybe a multi-millionaire footballer, the same kind of outbursts can have similar repercussions at any level. Monitoring what you are writing, particularly in such a public forum is essential, employers aren’t as blinkered as you may imagine.
As for the eBay situation, well, this is both good and bad news. In terms of a unique sales technique it’s right up there. It has also got the attention of media and thus potential buyers, making for a pretty useful marketing campaign. With Darren Bent trying to engineer a move to Wearside, perhaps his too was a moment of clouded inspiration. Unfortunately in both cases, there is a little bit left to be desired in terms of discretion. We will have to wait and see the outcome for both; although I wouldn’t expect to see either party Tweeting about it any time soon.