February 20, 2011 Leave a comment
The social networking phenomenon amongst footballers has divided many. Some see it as a chance to talk to their heroes, some prefer to ignore the banal ‘banter’ between the so-called professionals (I’m looking at you, Messrs Ferdinand and Savage).
But Rule No.1 of using a social networking platform is not to bring the game into disrepute and undermine any person within football.
We’ve seen it recently with former Liverpool player Ryan Babel displaying some shoddy Photoshopping skills, with a picture of referee Howard Webb sporting a Manchester United shirt. Yesterday, albeit funny, Wojciech Szczesny tweeted “Is it a bird? Is it an aeroplane? No, it’s just Ashley throwing Chelsea out of the FA Cup” as Ashley Cole skied a penalty against Everton.
Now this is all very minor in comparison to goings-on in Belgium this weekend. Club Brugge keeper Stijn Stijnen has been demoted to the reserves after it was found that he had been posting messages on the unofficial Club Brugge blauzwart forum defaming not only his competition for the No.1 spot, but also the management too. Not exactly the smartest career move.
Club Brugge have had a season to forget. Out of the title race quite early on and their best player Ronald Vargas suffering a severe knee injury, Adrie Koster has somehow held onto his job throughout the season when it appeared he would lose it. Brugge enjoyed a renaissance recently, with Ivan Perisic banging in the goals for them but it only takes a bit of scandal for everything to unravel.
Former international keeper, Stijnen has been at the Brugge club for more than a decade but has been rotated with Colin Coosemans and veteran Geert De Vlieger this year, with no keeper showing enough to maintain his place in the side. But on the forum, he anonymously questioned the ability of Coosemans claiming he looked uncertain between the sticks, whilst also glorifying himself.
Stijnen didn’t stop there though, saying “shame on you Henk and Sven” which most likely referring to Club Brugge’s youth coaches Henk Mariman and Sven Vermant who train 18-year old Coosemans. Just possibly.
Strangely, on Club Brugge’s website, there’s a video entitled – Stjin Stijnen – I’m 100% behind Coosemans. Hmmm.
Now, unfortunately for Mr Stijnen, it soon became obvious who was behind the smear campaign as Sporza’s Peter Vandenbemptlaan exposed his trolling. A recent statement to Sporza from revealed that it was his brother and his girlfriend who had been behind the forum posts. Whether this is merely a cover-up, we are yet to know.
So, moral of the story kids, if you want to remain at a top Belgian club, don’t masquerade onto internet forums to defame those challenging your spot. It’s just not a good idea. He would have got away with it too if hadn’t been for those pesky meddling fans. Or hadn’t done it all.
On a serious note, this does expose Club Brugge’s inner policies and an apparent disharmony. This weekend they faced Lokeren and won, but the interesting point was that as well as Stijnen, Wilfried Dalmat (brother of Stephane) was fined for comments against manager Adrie Koster, despite his recent impressive form.
All in all, one of Belgian’s premier clubs looks a mess after these revelations. Koster’s role at the club seems almost untenable, and it will be interesting to see what Stijnen has to say once he inevitably leaves.
Here’s the posts he sent within this Facebook group. Dutch fluency helpful
UPDATE: Stijn Stijnen was released from his contract on Monday 21st 2011. If you’d like to read more of the posts made on the Club Brugge forum, they are translated here. Some quite shocking, some absolutely hilarious