The tea was hot, milky and very sweet, just the way Byron liked it. He took a sip as he stared at the screen. The match was not five minutes over and already the furore had begun on the forums.
Red4eva2001 had posted the first inflammatory comments about the game, citing the poor refereeing decisions as the main reason for the ‘Reds’ defeat.
Uptheblus04 had been quick to respond to the slight, suggesting that the Reds had benefited from more than their fair share of dodgy refereeing decisions in other games that season.
The forum continued to be abuzz with comments, many about the game itself, some about the ramifications for other games, still others lamenting the sport as a whole, deliberately trying to provoke a reaction from die-hards who couldn’t see that their enraged responses to these comments were exactly the reason they had been written in the first place.
“Don’t feed the trolls” Byron said to himself, taking another sip of tea and continuing to watch more and more comments appear on the screen.
Some commenters had already descended into personal battles with others, some were posters they had jousted with before, although there were also newbies who had been naively sucked into a war of words with some of the more experienced wind-up merchants on the forum.
Byron had yet to post anything himself that afternoon. Partly this was because he was enjoying the vitriol that had already been unleashed by others and partly because he hadn’t actually seen the game in question, and was trying to get a feel for the main areas of controversy before diving in with his own words of wisdom.
The main crux of a lot of the arguments was whether a penalty that had been given in the 38th minute was really a penalty, or whether the Blues striker had gone down a little too easily. There also seemed to be a contentious tackle in the 73rd minute which perhaps should have resulted in a Blues player being sent off.
In truth, Byron was ill-equipped to comment on either of these incidents, but, in the absence of any other information to go on, he was more than prepared to nail his colours to the mast. He took another swig of his tea and, assuming his identity of blueboy439, he began typing.
Typical whinging pinks, can’t take losing to a better team. Always got to blame the ref #pathetic
He was particularly proud of the ‘pinks’ slight – the emasculating of the Reds was always guaranteed a response.
Indeed he needed only wait a few minutes before he’d reeled in his first catch of the day. Redking2005 responded with a very personal attack, indeed so full of vitriol was it that Byron was certain the moderators would take the comment down after a few minutes. He took a quick screenshot of the comment just in case it was deleted. He saved the image into a folder he had named ‘The Trophy Cabinet’. There were already well over a thousand such screenshots in there, but he was particularly proud of this one. It was always fun to get under the skin of a ‘Red’.
He was all set to type a response, partly to further incense Redking2005, but also with the hope of sucking in more prey when he heard a call from downstairs.
“Byron sweetheart, dinner’s ready!”
Byron sighed. The forum would be overloaded with comments by the time he made it back upstairs. Still, there was bound to be another comments section opening up on another news site, as various pundits wrote up their post-match analysis. There’d be another Redking2005 to irritate that day.
He closed his laptop and went down to dinner.