Over the past few weeks there has been increased animosity towards Jack Sullivan, David Sullivan’s son, for his tweets in relation to transfer targets coming and going from the club.
Although we all like to be kept in the know, there are some pieces of information that a chairman’s son should not be privy to and certainly not be sharing them over social media. I am a huge fan of Twitter. Not only is it useful for picking up bits of transfer news that otherwise would have passed me by; I have also got to talk to a huge range of different West Ham fans, all around the world.
Furthermore, it is useful for having discussions about players, transfers, matches etc. However, where Twitter fails is with the sources of information. Where it has become increasingly worrying is with Jack Sullivan’s tweets. It is fairly safe to presume that he is tweeting directly what he hears from David Sullivan, therefore, it must be 100% correct. But herein lies the problem, a 13-year-old boy should not be the clubs’ main source of transfer information or privy to such advanced stages of negotiation.
It is incredibly unprofessional and has become a burden for supporters because of the information released. A prime example of the problem Jack’s account has created is something he posted on August 4. He tweeted: “How would you feel if we signed Mboyo of Gent? Terrible crime when he was 16, can he ever be forgiven? What do you think?” For those who don’t know Mboyo was convicted of gang raping at 14-year-old girl when he was 16 and he was sentenced to 10 years of which he served three.
Fair to say the response was very anti his joining but the fact this was question was even asked raised some serious questions. It is worrying for a number of reasons: Firstly is Jack’s Twitter account now just a channel for David Sullivan to gauge fans’ opinions and voice his own? Secondly the club should not be asking fans for their opinions on players; they have scouts for that surely?
And thirdly are the club now so desperate to find a striker that they have to look at such undesirables? These are all problems that need addressing. Furthermore Jack tweeted recently that we would sign a player within seven to 10 days and then we would sign one within 48 hours, he then revealed that we wouldn’t be signing anyone and then revealed the name of the player, Marko Arnautovic from Werder Bremen.
David Sullivan has a history of saying things out of turn that he should not be saying, the manager saga during our relegation year involving Martin O’Neill (Sullivan said he was going to be our new manager before he had signed and O’Neill turned round and said no I am not). Arnautovic is a quality player and had Jack, in revealing that the player in question was him, then jeopardised the deal then there would have been uproar.
If Jack is being told to tweet this by his father then it is evident that David Sullivan should not set up his own account as similar problems may arise, as Sullivan himself admitted on his son’s Q and A session. This problem clearly needs rectifying so I propose this solution: both David Sullivan and David Gold need to make sure that Jack’s account needs to become just his personal account rather than one that tweets transfer news or inside information from the club.
Perhaps in the same vein as his brother’s (@davesulley) account. This would not only remove the possibility of him threatening a deal by saying something he shouldn’t but it will also remove the unprofessional state that the club seems to have found itself in over this fiasco. Furthermore, it will hopefully put a full stop to the abhorrent abuse that Jack has been receiving because of this.
If Jack’s account becomes as proposed, then the club needs to revamp their own Twitter feed or create a new one that is singularly dedicated to transfer news. Nothing to the extent that Jack has been tweeting, instead for example, it should be to inform fans when a player is undergoing a medical or when players have officially signed on the dotted line, perhaps this is something that the Supporter’s Advisory Board can pitch to the club.
What this would do is make sure that we as West Ham fans do not overreact, read into too much or get our hopes up over something which may never happen. Instead we only get the facts and a far more professional social media system that such a great fan base deserves. Sometimes less is more and in this case I think we would all gain more from Jack going silent on all things transfer related.