LONDON — Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson’s social networking experiment proved short-lived when he closed his Twitter account on Monday just two hours after opening it following a flood of abusive comments.
Gibson, a bit-part player at Old Trafford, followed United teammates Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen in joining Twitter, and Ferdinand encouraged his followers to “show him some love.”
Instead Gibson was greeted by some less-than-welcoming remarks, many of which appeared to be from United supporters. One of the posts said “nothing would make me happier than if we sold you this summer.”
Two hours after joining, Gibson’s account had been deleted, although he did not say why.
Ferdinand offered an explanation via Twitter: “Darron Gibson says he came on to see what the lads were up to….he came off because he couldn’t be bothered with it not any other reason.”
Sports stars and celebrities are often the target of abusive comments on Twitter — but not usually from their own fans. Gibson’s abrupt departure prompted some Twitter users to start a campaign to bring him back.
The Irish player is currently with the United squad in Germany preparing for the first leg of the Champions League semifinal against Schalke on Tuesday.
Rooney has had his own issues with the United fans after threatening to leave the club earlier in the season. The 25-year-old striker joined Twitter on Saturday. By Monday he had amassed more than 180,000 followers but still has a long way to go to catch up with Ferdinand, who has more than 800,000.