If Alex ferguson’s dealings with star players who dared step out of line at Manchester United is anything to go by, then Wayne Rooney’s ticket to Spain should already have been booked.
england’s star forward broke ranks in extraordinary fashion last week, publicly contradicting ferguson’s statements about him having an ankle injury, and then refusing to sign a new contract.
Add to that the lack of effort he’s displayed on the pitch ever since the World Cup, his public drinking, smoking and urinating escapades, and his sobbing threesome with two prostitutes while his wife Coleen was five months pregnant, and one would think: ferguson has sold star players for much, much less. for example:
Ince was one of the best all-round midfielders in the world, and he formed a formidable partnership with Roy Keane.
But he was also a volatile character, a big player with a big ego and that made for a tense relationship with his manager.
finally, in 1995, ferguson decided enough was enough and sold him to Inter Milan in spite of an uproar from United fans. They got even angrier when ferguson replaced him with 20-year-old Nicky Butt.
Ince’s teammate Kanchelskis was also sold after falling out with ferguson, and it didn’t matter one bit that he was the side’s top scorer during his final season, and one of the Premier league’s best foreign imports at the time.
He was irresistible in his first season at United, topping the league’s goal-scoring charts and forming one of the best strike partnerships in Premier league history with Andy Cole.
But then he got involved in a relationship with Jordan, aka Katie Price, the topless model and attention whore everybody in Britain loves to hate; and his penchant for Jordan’s celebrity lifestyle led to a falling-out with ferguson.
In less than three seasons after being IF YOU thought that social media is only a passing phase, the announcement of several collaborations between Internet bigwigs might just change your mind.
At the centre of most of these collaborations is the master of the social media (with these collaborations, soon to be of the whole Internet) universe, Facebook.
Just a few days ago, Facebook and Microsoft came together to announce a collaboration between the social media network and the latter’s search engine, Bing. This would allow searches on the Internet to be more “social”, tapping on the huge user database that Facebook already had.
There are two main elements to this collaboration. Firstly, your searches will be associate to your friends’ “Like” choices based on Facebook’s social graph.
So if you were to do a Bing search on a restaurant, for example, your search results would show you if any of your friends “Like” the place. This is of course ideal if you can’t, let’s say, decide where to take your date and can use those “Like” notices as recommendations.
The other element is when you are searching for an individual. Say you are searching for a friend hailed one of the best strik-strikers in the world, Yorke’s United career was over.
The player who replaced Kanchelskis would also make a sensational departure. life-long United fan David Beckham was more than a star at United, he was a hero, an icon that symbolised the club’s spirit.
But ferguson grew tired of the constant distractions brought on by Beckham’s celebrity status, and their relationship began to sour.
even though Beckham was football’s most valuable commodity at the time, and probably still is, ferguson gave him the boot (pun intended) in 2003.
Though Beckham had uttered that dreaded line, “never say never” (which ironically requires you to say “never” twice), few United fans believed he would actually leave. But with his contract also coming danger- named John Terry; instead of your search just showing the Chelsea football player, it will also search into public profiles on Facebook and prioritise a “friend” or mutual friend.
This collaboration is great for Bing, which is struggling to compete with the more popular Google.
Google, too, recently announced a collaboration with social network Twitter. Google News can now be connected to your Twitter account, and will display a “Friends” box on its page showing you what kinds of news your friends are sharing.
This feature hasn’t been rolled out globally yet and reports are stating that it currently only display links which direct back to Google News. However, this is a big step for Google, especially since the rate of people sharing news on social media is fast on the rise.
In fact, CNN recently released research results which shows that an average user shares 13 stories each week. In turn, this user receives 26 stories via social media or e-mail.
Another major collaboration, which has been the subject of a lot of speculation, is between Facebook and Skype. The recently released Skype 5.0 put the speculation to rest.
One of the biggest improvements to Skype with this release is the group video chat (previously, you could do group conference calls but not videos). The one that has everyone talking, however, is the Facebook integration.
This integration will allow you to view the updates of all your Facebook friends who are also connected to you on Skype. There isn’t the ability at the moment to use Facebook chat within Skype, but it is really just a matter of time before everything is connected.
Naturally, this is a great effort for Skype to keep up with the new social environment; months ago, Google incorporated video capabilities and computer-to-phone calls into its Gmail chat feature. I’m also wondering when Facebook will take advantage of their collaboration with Skype and include calls and video conferencing capabilities within its chat feature.
And to think these are only the collaborations we’ve heard about over the past couple of weeks. Many more have happened, and are no doubt happening (such as reports of Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s dinner date sparking rumours about a Facebook/Ping, iTune’s new social music network, partnership).
If these are not indication of how social the Internet will be in the future, I don’t know what is. And while it may appear scary that Facebook seem to be taking over the world, I’m quite excited to see how far the competition will push each other, how many more collaborations will emerge and what we users will benefit from it in the long run.
Manchester United’s David Beckham (right) and Roy Keane in happier times in 2002.