Former Premier League manager Alan Pardew has revealed how the rise of social media application WhatsApp has created toxic dressing rooms.
In modern football, player power has become increasingly influential over the futures of head coaches and managers — which Pardew experienced first hand at Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion.
Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho, during his time at Manchester United, highlighted the manner in which an influential player could end a tenure of a manager.
And Pardew, speaking on the Eamon Holmes podcast, the Englishman revealed inside details about how the squad morale was affected by the new-age forms of communication.
“When I was a player, and you’re at the training ground, and you think the manager has picked on you . . . you’d finish training, you’d talk in the shower maybe to a fellow player (and say): ‘I’m not sure about the gaffer there, what was he going on about that for? That was out of order’. Blah, blah, blah.
“(Then) you’d get in your car and you’d go home, and actually by the time you’d had a sleep and everything else (and) you’re back to the training ground, you’re over it. In football you’ve got to move on quickly, so you’re okay again.
“Now, when players are leaving the training ground, they’re not leaving the training ground, they’re WhatsApp-ing each other . . . the guy that’s really toxic is now being very toxic to the whole group and he’s bringing people in.
“Suddenly, you arrive at the training ground and there’s a strange atmosphere . . . they’ve all made a different outcome to what you as a manager perceived would be the outcome.
“And it’s completely out of your control, of course. You can’t infiltrate it, you don’t want to infiltrate it really because then you’re asking for even more problems I would guess. The senior players and toxic players now have a bigger control over the dressing room.”