In April 2011 Darron Gibson was traveling with Manchester United's first team squad to a Champions League semi-final with Schalke. Over the course of the away trip he was persuaded by Twitter addicts Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen to sign up to the site.
Just two hours later he had deleted his account. Why?
Gibson was a man who split opinion among United supporters, and as all footballers will tell you, the benefits of interacting with fans brings with it the drawbacks of opening yourself up to hundreds of abusive messages.
It was more than Gibson bargained for, who received Tweets criticising his shooting for 'hitting row Z', with another describing a recent performance as 'the worst he had ever seen in a United shirt.'
For a 23-year-old player struggling for form and confidence, it was hardly inspiring to read, and you can't blame him for packing it in before he'd even begun.
Rio Ferdinand later claimed in Gibson's mitigation for the embarassing episode it was the 'frequent notifications on his phone' which led to the midfielder deleting his account, but the it was the abuse which was cited as the real reason in the Guardian and the Telegraph among others.
After failing to win round the United support, and gain regular first time football, Gibson was sold to Everton in January where he has re-established his career. He instantly gave United fans something to cheer by scoring a winning goal against City at Goodison Park.
The midfielder had a good start to the season at Everton, playing in the club's opening two games, one against United, which they both won, until he got injured, but he is turning into an important part of David Moyes' side.
So with his popularity on an upwards trend, it shouldn't be much surprise to see Gibson sign back up to Twitter, which was confirmed by his club.
Can confirm that Darron Gibson @d_gibson4 is an official account. Welcome back to Twitter Gibbo!— Official Everton (@Everton) September 24, 2012
And the Irishman even had a joke about his previous episode, confirming even that it was indeed him before, with some United fans even doubting if he did ever sign up, jokingly responding to Wayne Rooney's wife Colleen's welcome, acknowledging his previous dalliance with the site.
@coleenroo haha yes Cols! Managed 2 stay on here for more than an hour this time :)— Darron Gibson (@D_gibson4) September 24, 2012
So its onwards and upwards from here for Gibson, on a serious note being prepared to interact with the fans indicates he is enjoying his football and is confident in his own performances that there will be more praise than flak coming his way, and that he has matured enough to take it.
His next comeback will be to the Everton first team, with him due back from his thigh injury in just under one month's time.
image: © gordonflood