Daniel Gregory’s weekly column: Twitter debate rolls on as Cotterill warns his players

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OUR sporting stars have never been so detached from mainstream society as they are right now.

So surely the social media networks like Twitter and Facebook are a good medium to bring them closer to their fans and let them know what they’re up to?

Try and tell new Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cotterill (below) that Twitter is a positive tool.

The new manager won’t have endeered himself to his new squad at the City Ground with a strict new rule that will see players fined £1,000 per word if they discuss their club on Twitter.

Cotterill was quoted as saying: “I don’t want any players or staff Facebooking or Twittering about the club or they will be fined that’s for sure.

“They can Twitter about anything else, talk about their cars or anything else they want to do — but not about the club.”

He’s not the only ‘old head’ in football that sees Twitter as a new evil, but his old-school beliefs could be potentially damaging for both his tenure at Forest, and the club itself.

Surely his players will be on legally binding contracts that I’m guessing won’t have any rules about using social media on them.

Should he decide to fine one of his stars for having the nerve to talk about their day-to-day job online, then surely the player in question’s agent could spin it in his favour.

The issue of players using Twitter has reared its head before and several managers have urged the game’s governing bodies to offer advice on how club’s can handle the issue.

Joey Barton’s infamous spell at Newcastle United was rife with controversial scribings on Twitter - so much so that he ended up with a nice deduction of two weeks wages from his pay slip as well as a spell training with the reserves.

Yes, there are lines the players shouldn’t cross, topics they shouldn’t discuss - and Barton probably crossed that line and deserved his punishment.

But I totally disagree with Cotterill on this one. Fans are constantly becoming disenchanted by the lack of access they get to players, and Twitter is a fantastic way of bridging the gap between our sporting stars and the average fan who shells out good money to watch them play and embalazon their name on the back of their new £40 replica shirt.

Yes, the Football Association need to offer guidlines on what can and can’t be said by the players, but to totally ban players interacting with supporters is ridiculous.