Twitter making headlines in football and cricket

Sports journalists have long monitored the websites of top footballers and other sportsmen and women for the latest “updates”, but now, it seems, Twitter – the micro-messaging social networking tool – is de rigeur for back page exclusives. Yesterday, Twitter delivered headline news on a major football transfer (oh, alright… it involved Tottenham) and a shock Ashes cricket selection.

Sun Online’s Andrew Haigh, a SJA member, got today’s back page splash in The Sun after he noticed that Darren Bent, the surplus-to-requirements Tottenham striker, was beginning to complain on Twitter about the slow progress in his transfer to Sunderland.

Yesterday, according to Haigh’s Sun story, Bent used his Twitter feed – db10thetruth – to embark on a “F-word rant” (he’d used the word “fucking”) against the Spurs chairman Daniel Levy: “Do I wanna go Sunderland YES. So stop fucking around, Levy,” the paper reports Bent as Tweeting.

10AM UPDATE: It is now being reported that Tottenham are “investigating” the remarks which Bent is “supposed to have made” about his club chairman. Oh, and the Darren Bent Twitter profile where the comments were made has been closed.

In an age when regular access by traditional journalistic means to leading sports stars, and footballers such as Bent, is becoming increasingly rare, Twitter-following is becoming part of the sports journalist’s daily routine.

During the Tour de France, seven-time winner Lance Armstrong used Twitter to complain about his daily drug tests and to announce his plans for a new team in 2010, while Ryder Cup player Ian Poulter has drawn nearly 360,000 followers to his rather pink page of Tweets about life on the golf tour.

The greatest sports news coup yet, surely, came on the same day that Bent was expressing his transfer frustrations, when Phil Hughes, the Australian cricketer, revealed on Twitter that he had been dropped from the team for the third Ashes Test match, which began in Birmingham yesterday.

According to the Daily Mail‘s Charlie Sale, Hughes had 1,200 followers when news of his Test demise was posted at around 7am yesterday. Eight hours later, his following had tripled. As Sale observed, if only Hughes could collect runs as easily.

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