Mason Mount’s Twitter exit speaks volumes about supporters’ toxic relationship with social media

Chelsea and England midfielder Mason Mount has taken the decision to delete his Twitter account.
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I was always raised to believe that if you can’t say anything nice or constructive, you shouldn’t say anything at all. Good advice for day-to-day life perhaps, maybe not so good for an opinion columnist on a constant crusade for traffic in a mean old world. I was also taught from a young age that empty barrels make the most noise. Again, I’m not really sure where I sit on the spectrum of that particular idiom; I tend to keep quiet and polite when I can, but the truth is that I feel as if I’ve been scraping away at the bottom of my own personal cask for an awful long time now. Anyways, I digress.

The point I’m loosely fiddling with here is that there are a lot of people who like the sound of their own voice, or indeed the shape of their own written words, and who will do anything and everything they can to propagate and amplify it whenever possible, regardless of the effect their conviction might have on those who come into contact with it. And y’know, maybe they shouldn’t.

On a related note, Mason Mount has deleted his Twitter account. Or at least, I think it’s related. You never want to assume too readily in these situations, but there are fewer spheres with a higher concentration of ill-informed mouthpieces and enthused haters than social media, and even fewer figures in professional football who have been subjected to the kind of ceaseless, almost ritualistic, online slaughtering that the Chelsea midfielder has in recent months. (Harry Maguire, definitely. Trent Alexander-Arnold... perhaps?)

Mount’s own justification for his depature from the app is unsurprisingly vague and diplomatic. Writing in what we can likely assume will be his last tweet, the England international said: “Over the years I’ve thoroughly enjoyed connecting with you all on Twitter. Sadly, the platform is changing so I have decided to delete my account. Take care, Mason.”

Chelsea interim manager Frank Lampard hailed Brighton & Hove Albion as a ‘fantastic model’ for how to run a Premier League club – but admitted the two teams’ projects were incomparable. Picture by Alex Pantling/Getty ImagesChelsea interim manager Frank Lampard hailed Brighton & Hove Albion as a ‘fantastic model’ for how to run a Premier League club – but admitted the two teams’ projects were incomparable. Picture by Alex Pantling/Getty Images
Chelsea interim manager Frank Lampard hailed Brighton & Hove Albion as a ‘fantastic model’ for how to run a Premier League club – but admitted the two teams’ projects were incomparable. Picture by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

The easy read on his self-penned epitaph is that he’s quite simply had enough; enough of the jibes and the digs from anonymous accounts with Kai Havertz avis and no real clue about the game beyond the confines of FIFA Ultimate Team, enough of the put-downs and inanity from keyboard warriors whose idea of stellar wit is to call him Pason Pount and accuse him of being the fraudulent son of Frank Lampard. Burn.

But again, that might not be true. Maybe Mount, like the rest of us, is just sick to the back teeth of Elon Musk’s never-ending meme-stealing tinker tantrums, and would rather spend his free time doing something other than doomscrolling through an infinite sewer pipe ghost train of alt right histrionics and dog whistle transphobia. The timing of his exit, coinciding perfectly with the exact moment at which the complete removal of the blue check verification system sounded the death knell for any kind of logic or reason in the Twittersphere, certainly stacks up.

Gun to my head though, if I had to hypothesise purely on the basis of a hunch, I’d probably plump for a 90/10 split in favour of the trolls finally taking their toll. And now I’m going to be singing ‘Dayman’ from It’s Always Sunny all afternoon.

Mount certainly wouldn’t be the first player to quit social media in pursuit of a quieter life. Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard, for instance, canned his account in November 2021, citing a ‘lot of s***’ as the main contributing factor. Footballers have been taking the same decision for years and years now. Some have returned, others haven’t bothered.

And for the ones who remain offline, who can really blame them? By any metric, Mount has not had his best season in a Chelsea shirt. Three goals in 35 outings is the return of a player in something of a slump, and the continued speculation surrounding his future at Stamford Bridge is doing little to settle his form or endear himself to a frustrated and baying fanbase. Nevertheless, there is no excuse for the barrage of abuse he has received at times.

Accountability is fine. Measured and justified criticism is part and parcel of the professional game, and should remain so. But sniping and bear-baiting, whether it be for the sake of cheap engagement or the venting of hissing spleens, is not acceptable. Maybe it’s a rote point by now, but this doesn’t happen to anywhere near the same extent in any other profession. It should go without saying, but footballers are people too. Imagine your postman put a letter addressed to you through your neighbour’s front door and you responded by going online and instructing them to resign from Royal Mail on the spot, or far worse. It’s irrationality to the point of insanity.

Of course, it is worth reiterating one final time that Mount’s specific reasons for leaving Twitter remain private, as is his prerogative, but the fact that the most likely motive is as a response to prolonged maltreatment from so-called supporters speaks volumes about the state of football fandom and its permissibly toxic relationship with social media.