Footballers and Twitter have proved to have a fairly questionable relationship since a significant proportion of those in the professional game have opened accounts with the social networking platform. On the positive side - and thankfully Yeovil Town's players fit universally into this category - they are a means for players to get across their own messages to the fans before and after games. The negative side comes with the steady stream of high profile cases that the Football Association are having to deal with - the FA's disciplinary page seems to be filled just as much with players off the field tweeting as it is for their on the field misdemeanours.
Former Northampton Town midfielder Ryan Gilligan is the latest to say things he may later regret, even if the FA can't touch him on this occasion, given that he is currently plying his trade at Swedish Third Division side Ostersunds FK, having signed for them a few weeks ago. Gilligan has launched into an attack on his last two Cobblers managers, Aidy Boothroyd and Gary Johnson. The Northampton Evening Telegraph have tonight printed a sanitised version of the tweets.
Provoked by a pair of his former team-mates being left out of Boothroyd's opening day League Two side, Gilligan has laid into both managers. Of Johnson he is particularly venomous (we've asterisked out a couple of words) saying:
"The fat p***k was something else ... Gary Johnson was a disgraceful human being. A nasty selfish little p***k, with not a genuine bone in his body! ... Everyone knew he was a reptile ... GJ was a just an outright moron. Just my opinions though, I'm sure others love him!"
As for Boothroyd, who is still first team boss at Sixfields, and was the manager to show Gilligan the door, the midfielder is hardly more diplomatic:
"He just isnít keen on personalities! If the players were allowed to voice an opinion without being fined it would all be revealed trust me! Boothroyd is far more calculated (than Johnson). You only see a fraction! And that fraction is what the manager/media allow you to see, itís all manipulated to there advantage to create excuses! Trust me."
It should be noted that Gilligan played just one first team match under Gary Johnson, and only two games under Aidy Boothroyd. Johnson's predecessor Ian Sampson had shipped the midfielder out on loan to Torquay United during the month leading to Sampson's departure, meaning that he was down at Plainmoor when Johnson arrived in the hotseat.
Boothroyd also loaned him out, with a deal with Newport County lasting just six games, instead of the half season loan, followed by a permanent move that it was intended to be. He was therefore released from his contract at the end of the 2011-12 season, having not featured for any clubs from the end of January onwards, and having managed three Cobblers appearances in 17 months. This could go a long way to explaining his attitude to both managers.
Quite a sizeable number of players use the Scandanavian Leagues as a stop-gap for games whilst they are 'in between' clubs before making their return to the English leagues. Given that Gilligan has only played for a limited number of football clubs, he may have some interesting times seeking references from his former managers, if he decides to return from Sweden in the near future.
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