If you’re on Twitter, and you’ve so much as mentioned in passing one of many popular topics of conversation— say, Donald Trump, or videogames, or feminism— you’ve probably encountered one of the most pernicious features of modern life: the Egg. If you so much as have an opinion online, even a fairly innocuous one such as “I like my new Apple Watch,” you open yourself up to an Eggundation. Encounters with Eggs range from annoying to potentially dangerous. If you’ve never had to deal with them, count your lucky stars. And if you want to see how Eggs function in the wild, there are some fascinating Twitter bots that lure them out of their spider-holes and keep them occupied so they don’t bother anyone else. Which is good, because Twitter doesn’t plan on doing anything about them any time soon.
Soccer Twitter has its share of trolls as well. Some of them strike at even the faintest mention of promotion/relegation. Others leverage mainstream celebrity to make sure everyone has to hear their bad opinions. And now, one of Soccer Twitter’s most notorious eggs has picked a fight with one of the Premier League’s biggest managers.
Ever since he was appointed to an assistant manager position with Wales, fitness coach Raymond Verheijen has made a name for himself by criticizing managers and clubs throughout Europe. From Chelsea’s and Manchester City’s training regimens, to David Moyes’ “overtraining” of Robin van Persie, to Real Madrid’s handling of Gareth Bale, few within the tight circles of elite European football have escaped Verheijen’s witherng opprobrium. He hit his trolling peak in late 2011 and early 2012 when he started publicly angling to replace his boss Gary Speed just two days after he passed away. The Football Association of Wales ultimately appointed Chris Coleman; a month later he resigned from Wales and, later in the year, he said the FAW “destroyed” Speed’s legacy. (Coleman has since led Wales to a wildly successful run at Euro 2016.)
Now, Verheijen has a new target of his ire— Jürgen Klopp.
Last week, the Dutch coach tweeted this:
He sent out several versions of that tweet in a short amount of time with names replaced— Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino, Arsène Wenger. It was part trolling, part spammy self-promotion. Easy enough to ignore but for Verheijen's, uh, persistence. At press time, it's unclear whether Verheijen thinks any of these managers have the range.
During his pre-weekend press conference, Klopp— who won the Premier League's Manager of the Month Award for September— commented on fixture congestion around the holiday/festive season. In the midst of his criticism, Klopp also made a subtle dig at Verheijen.
”We play two games in 48 hours [around Boxing Day], there will be injuries and then some Dutch guy [on Twitter] will say things. Our job is to do everything we can to work games. I would never say Boxing Day is not a good idea because I love it. Now having a match day with two days between [Manchester City and Sunderland], I don't know why we play on Monday. Is it special, a day off in school?”
Verheijen heard about Klopp's comment and moved quickly to hit back.
Ahh yes, the classic Egg power move. “U mad?”
Klopp is deep in preparations to host Manchester United on Monday in one of the biggest games of the season. Verheijen, presumably, will continue to be Mad Online. Or maybe he’s not actually mad, and that this is all very funny to him, and he’s laughing right now. Or, something.