If you thought the saga between ex-Arsenal’s Paul Merson and Liverpool’s Glen Johnson was over, then you would be wrong. For those of you who may not be aware of what happened and how it escalated, Liverpool’s star defender Johnson reacted to comments made by Merson who was appearing on Sky Sports last week. The tweet made by Johnson was soon removed by Twitter.
As we reported last week, it comes as Merson spoke of Johnson’s footballing abilities by saying that he “couldn’t defend for toffee.” Instantly Johnson hit back by turning to social networking Twitter and said, “Comments from alcoholic drug abusers are not really gonna upset me and who is Paul Merson to judge players, he was average at the best of times,” he added, “The only reason he’s on that show is coz he gambled all his money away. The clown!” As iol.co.za reported, Paul Merson was only doing his job, working for a pundit for the sports channel, he was making a professional judgement. The ex-player has admitted to past problems and that he has overcome them, at the end of the day Merson is entitled to his opinion, Johnson can disagree but perhaps not in the way he did?
As tribalfootball.com reported, following on from this controversial statement, Merson himself has now hit back in the newspapers.
The ex-midfielder who played for the Gunners, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough has been reported as making quite a lengthy statement in his Daily Star column today, “Johnson’s job is to play football and defend for Liverpool. His job isn’t to get on Twitter, start having a go at me and bringing up my past. He didn’t talk about all of the medals I’ve won, he was only interested in calling me an alcoholic and a drug addict.
Personally, I think he embarrassed himself. If you are playing for one of the greatest clubs in the world and earning £80,000 a week, why are you worrying about a drug addict and alcoholic? I hope he has sat down and said to himself, “That wasn’t right.” He could easily have called me up this week to have a chat. If I felt I had said something wrong, I would have found his number to call him and say sorry.
But his reaction reminded me of a spoilt little kid who throws his toys out of the pram the minute someone annoys him. He also called me an average footballer and, to be fair, that’s his opinion. If that’s his honest opinion, then I can’t deny him that. But at the same time – and I’m not blowing my own trumpet – I don’t think there would be many people who would share the same opinion.”
What are your opinions on this? Are players taking criticism too far? Should they react in this manner? Let us know.