“He brings rugby fans together like no one else I know. I’m not sure he really knows the extent of his powers but he’s a bit like Jesus.”
Those are the incredible words of Andre Crevice who is Head of Rugby Twitter and a man who knows exactly how to convey his meaning in less than 280 characters. The extraordinary quote comes as Stephen Jones, The Times’ Rugby Writer, blocked his one billionth user, a world record, which is likely to remain unsurpassed.
Amongst those recently blocked is fiesty former Ireland international Neil Best, who took issue with Jones’ most recent claim that Saracens, the new Premiership Champions, would probably beat anyone on the world rugby stage.
Neil Best used a quote from John F Kennedy to suggest that Jones may have been a little hasty to opine. Perhaps correctly, in light of Leinster’s victory in the Champions Cup, the Pro 14 final, and indeed their comprehensive victory over Saracens on their way to lift the former trophy. Jones, naturally, because Best was suggesting an alternative point of view, blocked him. And Best didn’t seem in the least bit worried. In fact, many rallied around him.
“And this is what I mean,” continued Crevice. “Jones creates a unity that is hard to replicate. More people have been blocked by Stephen Jones than have ever played rugby, and the camaraderie which is created when people announce that they too have been touched by Jones’ malignant finger, is there for all to see. Jones only follows fourteen people on twitter and five of those are bots created by The Times that just retweet Jones’ own work. He is, however, a much needed bringing of joy and togetherness for all those whom get blocked. In fact, you aren’t really anyone on the social media platform until the Newport narcissist tells you he isn’t open to your views.”
Gary McTallperson, from the think tank ‘Does Stephen Jones know how Twitter works?’ has conducted extensive research in to Jones’ blocking. “Many people thought it was just the Irish that he blocked. Then there was a big push on anyone who disagreed with his views on ringfencing the Premiership. Over the last six months, Jones has been on a big purge and blocked people whose names started with consonants. We are not really sure what he stands to gain in blocking so many people so arbitrarily. In fact, we are thinking of closing up our think tank, because the answer is, quite simply, no.”
But the last and most revealing words of this piece belong to Crevice. “What Jones is seemingly unaware of, is that most of his actual followers are people he’s blocked. They just create a fake account, and follow him again. He thinks the people who actually follow him agree with what he says. They don’t. They just disagree in silence. His echo chamber has holes in it; he just doesn’t realise. It’s all very sad really. And, when you think about it, not like Jesus in the slightest.”