How privacy has changed in football’s changing rooms

A while ago I was asked about what I thought was the main difference between the atmosphere in changing rooms during my career as a footballer compared to the atmosphere in changing rooms today, according to how I see it as a manager.

Many responses went through my head, from the kind of music played to the facilities. But I think what has changed the most is privacy.

The ‘social media effect’

Years ago, people never knew what happened in the changing rooms. You would often here the phrase “what happens in the changing rooms stays in the changing room”. This was good for the players as they could be themselves.

However, these days many things come to light through social media. Players now adhere to the new culture of being active on social media, and sometimes upload videos or say things that no one should see or hear outside the changing rooms.

For the public and the press this is great, whether it’s a photo of a player getting out of the shower (something irrelevant) or somebody privately criticising the club or insulting a teammate (which may harm the player or team’s reputation). The press will then talk about these stories in the following days and fill pages with them.

In my opinion as a manager and ex-player, privacy in the changing rooms must be upheld. There are things that must be fixed internally and should not come to light and be magnified by the press.

However, I do understand that we live in a hyper-connected society, and that we must adapt to it in a certain way. I think there’s still a lack of information for players on the danger of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and that they need to be more conscious of these dangers.

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