Have your say: Jones happy to leave ‘sad’ world of Twitter to others

Dave Jones is an old-school professional when being called a ‘twit’ was a derogatory term if you had under-performed in a match.

The 56-year-old former Everton defender, now manager at Sheffield Wednesday, has witnessed numerous changes over the decades since he started out as a Goodison Park youngster in the Seventies.

But the advent of social media websites like Twitter leaves Jones bemused at times, although in recent weeks he has discovered his normal pre-match press conferences have been hindered by having to explain or defuse online activity from some of his players.

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Two weeks ago, former England striker Jay Bothroyd got involved in a Twitter rant with Owls fans unhappy at the loan striker’s displays as Wednesday found themselves in the middle of a six-game losing streak.

They ended that worrying run at Burnley on Tuesday evening, but after the game he found himself having to answer questions after crocked defender Reda Johnson had dropped a bombshell on Twitter that he was ruled out for two weeks after playing with an injury against Huddersfield Town last month.

It all adds up to continual distractions for a manager fighting to kick-start an Owls season which sees them near the foot of the Championship heading into tomorrow’s Yorkshire derby with Hull City at Hillsborough.

“The medical information that was given out on Twitter, it shouldn’t have been, it’s wrong,” said Jones yesterday at his midweek press conference at the Owls’ Middlewood Road training ground.

“Every time I sit in a press conference, and am asked about Twitter, I might as well go on it myself, do the press conference on Twitter so we don’t have to sit here.

“Don’t ask me any more things about Twitter, because my time seems to have been taken up a lot of late with stuff that has passed on from this website, or whatever you call it.

“If it’s an easy way of doing my press conferences, believe me I will do it.”

Jones said he was unaware how long Johnson was ruled out for, but no further tests were planned on his bruised foot.

While the Football Association have handed out guidelines to players on what is acceptable banter on Twitter, Jones is unimpressed by players’ online activity.

“It’s not in my remit to ban players (from using Twitter),” he said. “What they are banned from doing is talking about football things, job wise. But if they want to put out that they have had breakfast, Coco Pops or whatever, what am I banning them for?

“What they should be doing is realising that there are FA rules which say you are not allowed to say anything derogatory, swear, or whatever. They are the things that there is such a fine line.

“Sometimes we might have to re-iterate to players when they walk in the place that they are not allowed to talk about their job.

“Listen, if you work for the MoD, you wouldn’t want them on Twitter would you? It’s exactly the same.

“The FA set out guidelines on what can and cannot be said. Because I don’t go on it, I don’t understand why people want to do it.

“I find it difficult, but Jay (Bothroyd) said to me the other day that he has 100,000 followers. How sad to have 100,000 followers telling them you are having breakfast or driving down the motorway. Surely they have got something better to do?

“The only twitter I knew was when you called somebody a twit, no more, maybe a bird?”

Online banter can sometimes overstep the mark, Owls striker Gary Madine coming out on Twitter this week to reveal it was ‘soul destroying’ to read criticism of him on Owls message board Owlstalk.

“This Owlstalk is hilarious!” said Madine. “I reckon 90 per cent of them don’t go to the games, 5 per cent have bad eyesight and the other 5 per cent know what they are talking about.

“Don’t get me wrong I love the Wednesday fans, but that Owlstalk is mental!!! Soul destroying.

“Hope my mother hasn’t read it she’ll (cry) her eyes out at everyone abusing her little boy.”

Jones accepts Twitter is here to stay – even his children use it – but believes players have to use common sense when they venture online.

“Listen, I have children and they are all on it, I am not saying it’s wrong in any way whatsover, I think there is a place for it.” he said. “The message boards, there is a place for it.

“But it makes reporters lazy, it’s a lazy way of journalism, but it’s in the world and everyone’s going to use it. I’m not saying stop it, because it will have a place somewhere.

“But the first question I was asked the other week when Jay (Bothroyd) was on it, was have I fined him? What about the person he was arguing with, is he getting fined, who’s going to fine him?

“I think it can be good for information, but I think there are far more worse things in the world going on than somebody bouncing off Twitter somewhere.

“But it seems to be a massive, big thing.

“I am not going to say it’s wrong because someone has probably made a lot of money out of it. I just don’t go on it.”