Deep in the lowest levels of the English soccer pyramid, the modern club needs its players to fill multiple roles in order to survive. Your backup striker might need to double as the electrician when the lights in the locker room go out. Your utility defender might be called upon to check the team bus’s engine when the thing dies on the side of the road halfway between Holbeach and Kirby Muxloe.
Sleaford Town, playing in England’s ninth-tier league called the United Counties League Premier Division, benefitted from one of their players’ occupational versatility just yesterday. With the Greens’ regular social media guy indisposed, the club turned to their 18-year-old midfielder, Harrison Allen.
Probably wanting to capitalize on his inherent teen social media savviness, Allen asked for and received permission to live-tweet their match against Boston Town for their throng of online supporters (Sleaford’s follower count currently stands at 2,297).
Things began well enough, with Allen tapping out your usual in-game updates at a steady clip:
However, as Allen later explained to the BBC, his new Twitter duties were handed down to him on top of his playing responsibilities. Thus he performed the task not in a cushy press box with a nice laptop in front of him, but instead on the substitutes bench itself, phone in hand, eligible to be called into the game himself should the manager deem it prudent. That is how we got this tweet—
—and heard nothing else for another hour, before Allen cleared things up:
Here’s what Allen told the BBC about the gap:
“There were only three of us on the bench. I was planning on passing the phone to someone else but we all pretty much came on at the same time.”
Sleaford were leading 3-1 when midfielder Allen entered the United Counties League Premier Division game, but went on to draw 3-3.
“After the game, we went back in and showered and I decided to bring everyone up to date,” said Allen, who has been distracted from his A-level revision by the publicity.
Comparing the success of the tweet to Allen’s performance on the pitch, you might feel that the youngster would be wiser to stick with Twitter than soccer, but that would be harsh. The important thing to remember is that this kid is so dedicated to his boyhood club that he’s not just able, but willing, to fill in at any spot required.
Even more impressive than his sacrifice and determination is his humble attitude in the face of the plaudits he’s received: “I was just doing my job really.”