Manchester United's Darron Gibson shuts Twitter account after fans’ abuse
Northern Ireland-born Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson was forced to delete his Twitter account less than two hours after joining the site after being subjected to a tidal wave of personal abuse.
The latest display of bigotry from so-called football fans comes days after it was revealed Lurgan man and Celtic boss Neil Lennon was targeted by parcel bombers.
Darron Gibson, set up the account @dgibbo28 shortly after midday yesterday but instead of affection and sporting chat, he was inundated with abuse.
In 2007 Gibson was at the centre of a dispute over his international allegiance.
He was involved in a tug of war between the Irish Football Association and the Football Association of Ireland.
His decision to play for the Republic of Ireland instead of Northern Ireland infuriated some football fans.
At the time of his decision Gibson told the Belfast Telegraph: “I don’t see why there is a problem, or why people have to make such a big deal of it.”
Last night chief executive of the IFA, Patrick Nelson, told the Belfast Telegraph the abusive Twitter comments were “unacceptable” and said it was completely “inappropriate behaviour.”
“I do not condone any negative comments. There is no place for this sort of abuse,” he said.
Gibson has had limited success since his Old Trafford debut in a League Cup match in 2005.
He is currently in Gelsen-kirchen, Germany, as part of the Manchester United squad for |the Champions’ League semi-final first leg against Schalke tonight.
A number of Manchester United players use Twitter to communicate with their fans.
Wayne Rooney joined the site at around the same time on Saturday and now has more than 207,000 followers on his @Wazzaroon08 account.
Piers Morgan jumped on Rooney's repeated grammatical errors and text slang.
After Rooney sent a mangled message to United teammate Michael Owen, Morgan wrote, "It's 'You're', 'have' and 'you'" before adding, "Amazed @Wazzaroon08 hasn't been suspended from Twitter yet - for repeated fouling of basic grammar & spelling."
Rooney took the jibe in good spirit, though, replying, " @piersmorgan yes sir thank YOU for correcting me."
Some of the messages posted on Gibson’s Twitter page included:
@dgibbo28 the biggest compliment i can give you is that you are better than Carrick
@dgibbo28 is on Twitter, a traitor to his country and a s**** footballer #gawa #mufc
@dgibbo28 You are a (sic) abysmal excuse for a footballer. You're a one trick pony - a s*** one at that. What Fergie sees in you I do not know...”
@dgibbo28 Nothing would make me happier than if we sold you this summer.
Other Manchester United fans were dismayed by the abuse directed at Gibson and created a page in an effort to encourage the midfielder to return to the site.
Gibson was unavailable for comment last night.