O'Neill to take steps against Twitter - Will he be the only one?

Ex-Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill is evidently unhappy with James McClean's behaviour on Twitter, and may ban his players from using the site.

The Wigan winger, 24, has recently been involved in a number of very public spats on the social networking site, including with the Belfast Telegraph. A frequent offender during O'Neill's time at Sunderland, McClean has been warned time and time again about his conduct on Twitter, and now further action may be taken.

O’Neill said: “I wasn’t overly pleased and I’ve reminded James, but remember it’s been a fairly lengthy time since I last mentioned it to him. There’s been a lot of tweeting gone under the bridge since then. I don’t want to be a guru over this social media but I just think there has to be a bit of responsibility.

"Sometimes I don’t think [players] realise, after all this time, this is a public media and anything you say is just picked up. Even before I arrived here there was a match-day ban, or even a two-day ban, and I’m just experiencing these things again but let me have a look at it. If I’m going to leave players out if they’ve tweeted I’ll be in serious trouble down the line.”

A number of players have been caught out by Twitter rants in recent times, from Carlton Cole's racially insensitive tweets over two years ago that landed him a £20,000 fine, to Ashley Cole's huge £90,000 fine for tweets aimed at the FA over the John Terry racism saga.

It's time that players realised the world is watching what they tweet, and O'Neill wouldn't be the first manager to ban his players from using the social media site. Italy's Cesare Prandelli has now banned his players from using Twitter at the next World Cup, after Mario Balotelli was embroiled in a situation regarding the mafia.

Topics such as religion and race are always going to provoke a reaction from fans, and whilst a total Twitter ban may seem extreme, it seems that fines aren't quite working as a deterrent, despite seeing big name players docked wages as a result of their behaviour.

image: © West McGowan

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch