Scott Patterson: Bryan Robson is wrong to question Pogba’s use of social media

The Republik of Mancunia writer believes the United legend’s views are outdated and he’s here to tell us why…


There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and Paul Pogba posting videos of himself dancing on social media.

In fact, there’s a fourth certainty: said videos causing irrational fury in middle aged men.

Manchester United legend Bryan Robson is the latest to join the list of people who are sounding off about Pogba’s relationship with social media.

“He’s on social media a lot and he’s laughing and joking,” he said.

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“For me though, it’s a little bit too much. This isn’t a game, this is our living, we need to win and I think Paul’s got to get that a bit more into his character. This is a job.”

It’s interesting how two mutually exclusive things are repeatedly being used as a stick to beat Pogba with. Robson is apparently angry that Pogba has a job yet also has fun and shares that on social media. Imagine doing such a thing! It’s almost as if Pogba thinks he’s a young man who has a nice life and believes behaving like other people his age is an acceptable thing to do.

If only Pogba would get leathered all the time, like Robson and his teammates used to, and show what a professional he is.

If anything shows how little you care about your career it’s spending your free time going on Snapchat. What Pogba needs to do is put his phone away and get drunk at the Four Seasons instead.

Robson isn’t alone with his old-fashioned approach to social media, having a totally out of touch reaction to someone who is young behaving how every other young person behaves, with plenty of former pros queuing up to stick in the knife.

From Gary Neville to Graeme Souness, Christophe Dugarry to Paul Parker, the number of people who don’t understand the point of social media, and are mistakenly claiming the Frenchman’s use of it means he doesn’t care or isn’t professional, is continuing to grow.

When footballers first started earning a fortune, older pros were not impressed and voiced their displeasure.

“It’s gone over the top – from one extreme to the other,” said Johnny Haynes. “Clubs are going to find it hard to live with all this money they’re dishing out.”

The flash lifestyle and extortionate earnings were a source of confusion and frustration for those who had played years earlier and didn’t retire with a fraction of what players started earning during the Premier League era. Footballers started wearing designer clothes, driving fancy cars and dating celebrities.

They became the celebrities, with their names mentioned on the front pages of the newspaper as well as the back, and those from a different era didn’t get it. They were scared by it in the same way former players are confused by social media today.

“The wages are obscene nowadays,” said Barry Fry. “The wages frighten me to death. I fear for football.”

What was unacceptable for one generation becomes the norm for the next. Either you accept that or you desperately try to cling on to the good ol’ days and expose yourself as a dinosaur.

When football fans take to Twitter to complain about Pogba, a popular line of criticism is to wonder what Sir Alex Ferguson would have made of the midfielder’s behaviour.

While it’s difficult to know conclusively, it’s fair to suggest that he would have adapted to it, like he did so many changes in football during his long and successful career.

“The world has changed and so have players’ attitudes,” Ferguson said in 2010. “I’m dealing with more fragile human beings than I used to. Players are cocooned by modern parents, agents, even their own image at times. They need to be seen with their tattoos and earrings. It’s a different world for me so I have had to adapt.”

Others question how legendary captains of days gone by would have responded, but none of them were bothered about Ryan Giggs and Paul Ince’s rehearsed handshake, or Lee Sharpe’s exuberant celebrations or David Beckham changing his hairstyle every week.

Those having a pop at Pogba don’t seem to get social media, and that’s fine, but that’s because it’s not of their time. Your grandma not knowing how to text or reminiscing about the days when all conversations happened face to face doesn’t mean that we should delete Whatsaap from our phones.

Some fans claim that Pogba spending so much time on social media is evidence of him not having his eye on the game. There is the suggestion it’s unprofessional. Yet Cristiano Ronaldo updates his Instagram account more regularly than Pogba does.

We’re surely not suggesting that Ronaldo, the man who has worked tirelessly for years to become the best in the world, is unprofessional? How about Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who lets us know all about his zany personality with his online presence?

Others suggest Pogba should only behave this way on social media if his performances are top notch or if United are top of the league.

Imagine believing that people can only be happy in their personal lives if they are winning the Premier League title.

Pogba posted videos of him celebrating his birthday days after United were knocked out of the Champions League by Seville and some supporters were incensed. It would be interesting to know if those same people had ever cancelled their birthday celebrations with their friends and family because they’d had a bad day at the office earlier that week.

Did they refuse to put the pictures on Facebook for fear their boss or colleagues would see them and use this as evidence for their poor performance at work?

One thing that all United fans can likely agree with is that Pogba needs to play better than he is doing. He’s one of the most expensive players in the world and his performances in 2018 haven’t been value for money for the club. He was fantastic in the opening months of the season but he’s gone off the boil recently.

But to think that his social media presence has anything to do with that, or he should change his personality because some old bloke from Timperley doesn’t understand it, is total madness.

Times change. Things move on. Just like Pogba would be horrified by the drinking culture Robson was involved in, Robson is baffled by Pogba’s behaviour on Snapchat. And that’s OK.

But Robson being a club legend doesn’t mean that he’s right on this one. He’s way off the mark and showing his age. And likely so are you, if you support his take on Pogba.

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