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Keys change? [part 3]: The new boors, same as the old boors

February 15, 2011

The worrying thing, for those hoping for real change in football coverage, is the emergence of another generation of players turning pundits, having only really known the culture of the sport as defined by Keys and Sky.

One of the most aggressive players when it comes to carving out a post-retirement place in the media is Rohan Ricketts. Released by Arsenal without appearing for them, the journeyman writes a regular column for The Sabotage Times, and is preparing to release an e-book directed at young footballers’ parents.

Ricketts’ response to the sacking of Andy Gray? To Tweet: “ #AndyGray was completely shafted by SKY! There were women making the same shallow comments he made. Bring him bk SKY!!” It’s always dangerous to feel slighted on behalf of minorities, but one might hoe for more understanding from a black player who has played extensively in Eastern Europe.

Rio Ferdinand was widely praised for his own Tweet on the subject, which sparked a ‘Rio Debate’ with his followers:  “I’m all for women refereeing in football, discrimination should not happen in our game at all…prehistoric views if u think otherwise.”

This would, of course, be the same Rio Ferdinand who was part of that holiday on Ayia Napa after not being selected for Euro 2000. And, of course, the Man Utd captain who organised the Christmas party in 2007 with the “handpicked” girls, which led to lurid headlines and allegations of rape. Prehistoric, moi?

Ferdinand is one of the most precocious Tweeters in football, as well as having fingers in magazine and film production pies. He likes to refer to his followers as a “Movement”, even going si far as to ally them in his mind with the anti-Mubarak movement in Egypt. He advises newcomer Adam Johnson to refrain from swearing on Twitter in order to increase his followers, though “ffs” and “wtf?” are allright.  Ferdinand then performs the cyber version of thumping his chest and reminds Robbie Savage of knocking him to the floor in the Old Trafford tunnel, before bemoaning (quite rightly) the rate of violence amongst young men in his native.

If he wants to make it in the rarefied atmosphere of professional punditry, or anything similar, then his retirement will have to bring about more self-awareness and consideration for others than he has displayed so far.

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