Over the weekend the Guardian printed an article entitled The Great Pretenders about fake twitterers.
Ever since I read it I’ve been suffering a guilty twinge (its my catholic upbringing!)
Bless me father for I have sinned.
Over the latter part of the British cricket season I have been sporadically responsible for a bogus twitter account. I’ve been tweeting as first @theViscount – and then when I got nervous my bogus account metamorphosed into the @ViscountsKitboy . The Viscount being the nick name of Surrey cricketer Tim Linley (his nick name rather stuck after it got printed in The Guardian.
Here though is the really heinous bit the Viscount isn’t just anybody – he’s my younger brother!
It started innocently enough. I’m listening to the online commentary of a game between Surrey and Middlesex . Surrey return to the dressing room and I think it will be funny to suggest that Tim who has just returned unflattering figures of 2-96 off 25 is distraught to find his sandwiches have gone missing . Once started you feel duty bound to carry on – so like all good bowlers Tim stretches out for a kip only wickets begin to fall and as evening draws in and as the perilous position of night watchman looms large the viscount feels the best option is to lock himself in the Lords loo. It being Lords the players loos are complete with golden toilet roll holders And so the story went on …over night the Viscount dreams of a Bothamesque style rescue innings (continuity error there as Tim is hardly old enough to remember 1981 where as I am). Later the Viscount would dream that Surrey had engaged WG Grace for the 2020 competition ‘ .In the nets his very fine beard was putting me off my line & length’ . Thankfully with gags like that @Viscountskitboy never really took off and recently hes been very, very quiet.
It has of course been the year of cricketing twitterers. It’s hit the headlines several times as the likes of Bresnan, Pieterson and Rafiq have all found themselves in hot water. Even @vaughnnycricket managed to upset some with a few ill chosen words. But much more importantly its become a way in which the every day cricket fan can feel really engaged. As a Yorkshire fan I appreciated being able to send @jaquesrudolph a message of thanks and good luck after he left the club at the end of the season. I wonder how many more have sent messages to Haider (@cricketplayer1) who fled to the uk after death threats in the last couple of days. Even in the digital age the spirit of cricket still applies
Its also been a great source of information. Breaking news sure, but other things too. From tweeters at games you get that unique insight that commentators and match reports never can quite capture. And even in this wonderful age when nearly every game has a real time score card and online commentary there still remains a few that are uncovered. I relied on twitter for score updates from the nail biting second XI final when Surrey pipped Warwickshire. Even more extraordinarily on a day trip to Chichester I get engrossed in a local league game but had to leave early to go to the theatre. Desperate to know the result I turn to twitter and lo and behold @lorainneflee provides the answer – a very tight draw!
Above all though its been great fun being in the digital company of the likes of @aggersbracken and @swannyscat. BoycottBingo was twitter genius and a real highlight and all credit to @aggerscricket for running with it. Long may it – and other ruses – continue! Just as importantly I hope clubs and our administrators recognise the value of twitter (and similar digital tools) in keeping fans engaged.
What more to say – one thing really – an over due apology to Tim. I may have taught you every thing you know about the beautiful game (sic) down in the mecca that is the Ash Grove Bowl but its still no excuse for shameful impersonation and I promise… well I would promise not to do it again if I was absolutely sure I could but when spring comes round again….