Man City show why using their players strengths off the pitch is important too

Injuries are the bane of the sporting life. No matter how much elite sportspeople are paid, no one likes to be injured: children growing up dream of playing, not looking on as their teammates win games.

At the moment, that’s exactly the position that Benjamin Mendy finds himself in. Manchester City paid the guts of £50m for the left-back in the summer, and just as he was getting into his stride, the Frenchman was waylaid by injury. It’s frustrating for everyone involved, of course, and not just the player. The club will have been disappointed to learn of a long-term injury to an important player and, indeed, an important asset.

Since his arrival, Mendy has quickly become a fan-favourite. His inimitable and honest social media style have made him a must-follow for everyone, not just City fans, and his willingness to engage with his teammates as well as his fans is infectious.

But just because a player is injured doesn’t mean that he can’t be useful to a club. You might have to get creative, but then City have always been at the forefront of digital innovation when it comes to football clubs. And during last weekend’s victory over Stoke City – a 7-2 drubbing which featured so much high-quality football that it may well have been an enjoyable watch even for Stoke fans – the Premier League leaders essentially decided to unleash Mendy as a £50m social media influencer for a day.

Sitting at home watching the game and cheering on his team, Mendy took to Twitter and Instagram, posting videos of himself watching the game and sent posts cheering on his teammates in a way that only he can. He even began building up to the weekend by encouraging fans to take inflatable sharks to the game – City fans have been known for taking inflatables to games over the years, sparked by an inflatable banana craze in the late 1980s.

It looks like it’ll soon be taking off again, and that’s all down to Mendy’s personal hashtag #SharkTeam.

If you think this is all a little bit bizarre, then you might well be right. But the lesson is to be original, because the strangest thing about all of this isn’t the content itself but surely the fact that a player can become so beloved by his team’s fans after having played in only four league games before a long-term injury.

It’s also a lesson to other clubs. Social media takeovers aren’t new, and have been a club in most social media teams’ bag for years by now. But using your players to their fullest by playing to their strengths isn’t just a job for managers on the pitch, it’s also – clearly, given the results – something that should be done on social media, too.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 831 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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