Allan Saint-Maximin caused a social media storm when he played while wearing a Gucci headband at former club Nice – now a growing trend of online abuse towards footballers threatens a boycott. But Newcastle’s new No 10 wants to use Twitter for good.
Representatives from Manchester United and Kick It Out will meet with Twitter within the next few weeks to discuss the racist abuse aimed at Paul Pogba after he missed a penalty in Monday night’s game with Wolves.
The incident came less than a week after Tammy Abraham received similar abuse following the UEFA Super Cup final, and prompted England Women head coach Phil Neville to call for a player boycott of social media.
Saint-Maximin has no plans to stop using the platform though. The £20m signing is an instant hit with the Toon Army’s online following. One recent video he posted of a child trampolining in Newcastle’s Metro Centre received almost 4,000 likes.
Why can’t I talk to fans?
“It’s my character,” the 22-year-old tells Sky Sports News. “I am a normal person, why can’t I talk with the supporters?
“I can talk normally, do some jokes – I do a lot of jokes! For me, it’s good. I know I am a footballer, it’s my job, but life is good and it’s short. I want to enjoy it.”
He presented the charity with a signed Newcastle home shirt to be used for a fundraiser, chatted to staff, and was making cups of tea.
“I’m happy to be here to help, give some food, to talk.
“Some people think you are different, but for me, the money is nothing. The relationship is really important for me. I am normal and I love to come to this place to talk with a lot of people.”
Food banks have become part of the furniture on match days at St James’ Park since the ‘NUFC Fans Food Bank’ movement began successfully collecting donations from supporters before kick-offs.
“A lot of people can’t come to the stadium every week,” he adds. “But if they see players [in the community], they might be happy.
“I come here to help because when you see the face, the smile, for me it’s really important.”
Tottenham vs Newcastle
August 25, 2019, 4:00pm
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass
After years of austerity at Newcastle, owner Mike Ashley allowed the club to spend more than £60m this summer. The £40m signing of Joelinton meant the club broke their transfer record for the second time in less than 12 months – following the arrival of Miguel Almiron in January for £21m.
But Newcastle are yet to earn a Premier League point since Rafa Benitez left for China, to be replaced by Steve Bruce.