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Neale Fenn: The abuse is a lot more personal when it is on social media

Mon, Aug 10 2020

Dylan O'Connell reporting from Cork City's pre-match press conference in Bishopstown.

Cork City manager Neale Fenn has hit out at the abuse that his young squad has received on social media in recent weeks.

The Rebel Army are currently bottom of the League of Ireland Premier Division having only picked up four points all season.

The City boss, who was a member of their 2005 title winning team, has defended his young team in the face of the online trolls.

“The abuse is a lot more personal when it is on social media,” Fenn said, “It means that someone took time out out of their day to type something personal to the player over a performance. Whereas at a match, if someone shouts at you, you’re a bit used to that.

“When you’re getting personal messages it just feels so much more personal. It is so much more insulting when it comes directly at you.

“It is hard because of the generation these lads have grown up in. They all go look on their social media accounts and read what is said about them. They have to learn to deal with it. It is going to happen unfortunately. If they want to go on to be professional footballers, this is something they have to learn to deal with.”

Cork City chairman Declan Carey recently asked for supporters to stop sending negative messages to players on social media in an interview with The Echo in Cork.

“We have a young squad who are being thrown into a first team, possibly when they are not ready. But this is the squad we have,” Fenn continued.

“I sat down and explained to them that they are playing for one of the biggest clubs in the country which get the most scrutiny. Nearly everyone in the city has an interest in the football club. When you are losing, regardless of how old you are or where you are from, if you’re not doing it on the pitch when playing for the first team, the fans will let you know.

“I tell them that the abuse isn’t personal. It is just a demanding crowd in Cork. I know because I played here myself. We have to protect the players and we have to give them the confidence that they are the good players we know they are.”

City will return to competive action on Tuesday evening with a visit of Longford Town to Turner’s Cross in the first round of the 2020 Extra.ie FAI Cup.