Gary Neville has trashed the sanitized and carefully organized world of footballers on social media and told players to “fire public relations officials”.
Sky Sports expert and former Manchester United right-back has expressed deep frustration at the lack of authenticity from players online.
Many stars have teams of people running their Twitter and Instagram accounts, carefully crafting their production while the individuals themselves have nothing to do with it.
Bruno Fernandes missed his penalty late in the game against Aston Villa and apologized
Fernandes has come up with a carefully crafted apology and Neville wants players to be genuine online rather than having PR officials running their accounts.
Neville’s last remarks came during a question-and-answer session on Twitter when asked if players should really apologize for mistakes like missed penalties after games.
And following Bruno Fernandes’ long Instagram lament over his kick in the death against Villa, Neville has signaled his intention to call the PR men.
He wrote: “It’s embarrassing! They need to fire their PR staff, speak with some authenticity, and move on.
“I will go further in this area in the coming weeks. They all have these communications managers, who create personalities that don’t exist! ‘
He then added: “The culture of apologies that engulfs football would be okay if it came from an authentic place. More often than not, however, this is a smokescreen and a diversionary tactic designed to hide the shitty performance of the experts! Losing a game = Crisis communications meet! How do we run this one our way? ‘
“Final message of the day on apologies and wise advice to players. If you’re going to say something after a game, go on TV (I accept that players don’t always want to) or post a video on social media where everyone can see it’s you.
Fernandes blew his penalty over the bar when he could have won a point at United
It’s unclear how much Fernandes had to do with writing or posting his 187-word apology online, but his Instagram story read, “No one is more frustrated or disappointed than I am for missing out.” the penalty and the resulting loss.
“I have always lived up to my responsibilities and have always embraced them under pressure at times like this. Today I failed, but took a step forward and took on the challenge with the same ambition and responsibility as when on many other occasions the ball found its way to the bottom nets.
“Critics are mixed and opinions are a big part of football. I’ve learned to live with them, even use them to motivate myself, and I consider it a very big part of my commitment to never stop trying to improve myself and become the best player I can. to be, for me and for the team.
“Today I have taken over the responsibility that was entrusted to me when I joined United and I will take it back without fear or dread every time we are called upon to do so.
Fernandes walked away from Old Trafford after skiing his attempt but said he would take them back
It is not known if Fernandes wrote the apology himself or if a public relations team prepared them.
“The most important thing for me is to win together and I will always do my best to help my teammates and the club be the best they can be.
“Thanks for all the support after the final whistle! It was very moving to hear you sing my name in the stadium. I will come back stronger for myself, because these are the standards I hold myself to but also for my teammates and the fans who have always supported me.
This isn’t the first time Neville has called players for lack of authenticity online.
Earlier this year, a number of England players posted almost identical messages following a win against Albania.
Jesse Lingard wrote: “The job is done. We’re going back on Wednesday ”, while Mason Mount’s profile shared:“ The job is done, I’m looking forward to Wednesday!
Neville then tweeted: “Reading some of the English players’ tweets last night. Do any of the guys show up? They don’t look genuine. It’s a shame that they don’t manage their personal connection with the fans and the media. ‘
Jesse Lingard toast ‘job done’ on social media after another key victory for the Three Lions earlier in the year
Mason Mount produced almost identical tweet as he reacted to victory over Albania
Harry Maguire focused on ‘two out of two wins’ ahead of crucial Poland game next
Man City’s Phil Foden also posted a ‘two out of two’ post as fans saw a trend in the team’s tweets
Gary Neville was frustrated by similar tweets, believing it to show a lack of authenticity
Following his latest review of the football PR flood, a number of fans agreed with Neville.
One wrote: “Gary, an idea that told players it was a good idea to post action photos of themselves after games in which they were beaten and n ‘haven’t been kicked, accompanied by a horrible phrase like “We’re going back” ?? ‘
Another posted: “It sets a precedent that when not followed by others leaves them open to suggesting that they ‘don’t care’ or engage with fans. It’s ridiculous.’
Cristiano Ronaldo (right) used to be the penalty taker at his previous clubs
It seems the lack of discernible personality in many players’ online presence has struck a chord with fans and Fernandes is just the latest example of a growing apology culture.
Before taking the penalty, Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez tried playing mind games, telling Cristiano Ronaldo loudly that he should be the one to take it.
Fernandes’ position as the team’s penalty taker has been in the spotlight since his Portuguese team-mate joined United, as the legendary striker is used to taking responsibility for it.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has denied that Martinez’s mind games had an impact on Fernandes and it will be fascinating to see if the midfielder stays on one-off kicks, as his apology has implied that he would.