A Word in your Ear - November 10, 2011

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BREAKING news at The Gazette this week – I finally joined Twitter.

I know, I know, given my reluctance through this very column in the past it will come as something as a shock/disappointment to some, but I was forced into a corner.

But when I got myself out of the Editor’s office I decided to ask advice from Will “Follow Me” Watt, The Gazette’s resident multi-media guru and editor of that little known publication Strawberry Blonde Today.

After signing up – @Gazetterhodes – and given my disdain of the mundane “I’m just off to the toilet” kind of Tweet, I thought of something thought provoking and Stephen Fry-esque to write.

An hour later I was still sat there with fingers hovering over keyboard. I decided to do what I do best and take the Michael out of a colleague, Will again actually, midway through one of his web chats.

Then something suddenly happened, three people “followed me” and I have to say, being the social media misfit I am, I was suddenly hooked like a raver on internet-bought plant food.

By the end of the day I had 25 followers and was sharing my thoughts on why giving up a night to go and watch Will Young would get my shirts ironed for a week at home.

As the week draws to a close there are only seven billion more followers in the world I can possibly get. Yeah, I’m still on 25.

Anyhow, given I wanted to say something meaningful I opted for an easy target with my next Tweet – Fifa.

Having a pop at football’s so-called governing body has seemingly become something of a national past time since they snubbed us and gave the World Cup to Russia.

But their refusal to allow the England team to wear a poppy on their shirts for this Saturday’s friendly against Spain at Wembley is as insulting as it is totally unsurprising.

All week we’ve had the FA and Government writing carefully worded letters politely asking Fifa to reconsider its position on the issue after it deemed the poppy a political symbol.

All came to no avail, apart from a late offer to allow the poppies on armbands, but it really is time for FA chiefs, as they say in football circles, to grow a pair and do the right thing.

That’s right put their hand in their pocket, spend 11 quid from a British Legion seller outside Morrisons, pin the floral tribute on the lads and send them onto the field defying any sanction by Fifa. It really is that easy.

It’s not like they can take the World Cup off us for a second time is it?

Not that it matters even if they could.

Politics, sport and international differences are intertwined, they always will be.

What will be next? National flags (is there more of a political statement ?) or even nations themselves (should we become one inoffensive homogenised rabble).

As for Fifa, if they wanted to get involved in players’ kit they are a little late. Who can forget the Fifa-sanctioned goalkeeper shirts David Seaman used to sport in the mid-90s?

Surely there is nothing more offensive and in need of political debate than a bloke with a tache and ponytail heading into a World Cup qualifier dressed in shocking lemon with a dash of pink flashing.

What has been pleasing this week has been the nation’s response to the poppy row.

In an era when we all too quickly get caught up in the next big thing – Twitter included – it’s heartening to see what really brings British people together – national pride and remembrance. And we do it so well.

* Follow Jon Rhodes (@GazetteRhodes) on Twitter