Manchester United’s Paul Pogba is telling us to dab our way out of a pandemic and John McGinn’s asking you stay indoors in the midst of crisis. Who’d have thought that would be a sentence this time last month?
Covid-19 is affecting us all as we prepare for three weeks with what on paper is a lockdown, even if British leaders aren’t keen on using the term. It obviously means that football is on hold for now and public gatherings too.
That didn’t stop people heading out in their droves over the weekend. Foolishly, many headed out to public parks and other places on mass despite strong warnings from health experts to do the exact opposite.
We are supposed to be keeping apart from one another to help slow the spread of disease. It’s completely transparent now what has to be done but some still seem incapable of listening.
Whilst selected people may not listen to Boris Johnson or Nicola Sturgeon, football players can step up to the mark.
Not as odd as it sounds
Yes, your humble Aston Villa star or Dundee United hotshot might have more chance of getting through to people than public leaders. Well, that’s the society we live in.
Many have taken to social media to urge their followers to practice the government guidelines put in place. Liverpool’s Allison was even in on a World Health Organisation press conference yesterday, speaking for the football community.
It seems as if even world leaders have seen the potential a footballer, however high-profile, sharing these messages has. Manchester United midfielder Pogba’s example is probably the most notable.
He has 7.3 million Twitter followers, with his ‘Dab to beat Coronavirus’ post gathering 23.6k retweets and over 80K likes. This was taken to town by the footballing community on the ruthless social media site as you’d expect, but it did get the key messages across from WHO to millions of people.
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) March 13, 2020
And that’s what really matters. By any means necessary, the powers that be have to get through to the public. Clearly in Britain, some people believe they are indestructable and can walk through what they’ll likely refer to as a cold.
That’s why SPFL stars like Lawrence Shankland, Niall McGinn, Murray Davidson, Scott Brown and Christy Manzinga all sharing messages through their own social media feeds or club accounts is key.
A couple scenarios. You’ve got a young, impressionable Aberdeen fan scrolling through Twitter. Who are they likely to listen to, the plump, blonde Etonian or a winger they see firing in the goals for the Dons?
Take an Aston Villa fan. Is McGinn urging them to stay inside more effective than Michael Gove running through the procedure of what not to do and what to do? I’ll hazard a guess and say yes.
This is why it’s so important for players, especially those with big platforms, to share urgent and necessary government guidelines. Politicians are much-maligned and clearly aren’t being listened to by members of the public.
Perhaps someone they look up to on a weekly basis providing the message may swing it for some.