Football Twitter 2020: The best football tweets of the year
2020: a year that proved that, with or without it, Twitter will always find ways of linking literally anything back to football
2020 has been shit. Yes, we're all aware. This considered, there's no need for the big, explanatory intro here, is there? This is exactly what it says on the tin: a collection of good tweets about football which tell the story of a year most of us would willingly forget.
Will that do? Are you even reading any of this or have you just scrolled on down to read the tweets and nothing else? You have, haven't you? Ah well. At least this will boost the word count a bit.
Ah, January... Wait, does anyone actually remember January 2020? Nah, us neither. Thankfully, we have Twitter to help remind us of what life was like before we were all plunged into a world of financial uncertainty, Zoom calls and seeing far, far too much of Matt Le Tissier and Denise Welsh.
Football was there in January, of course, but there were other things to occupy our tiny minds, too - important things like reality TV shows. In a time where no more than two football matches were televised in a day (unthinkable now), many of us were subjected to a winter-time dose of ITV's Love Island. Even here, though, there was football, with the male contestants whose names everyone has long since forgotten bearing a strong resemblance to a promising crop of Ajax youngsters. And Erling Haaland.
De Ligt/De Jong/Van de Beek/Håland https://t.co/uhmDbPZ4ic
— Иван (@ivan_i94) January 12, 2020
January was also a time for signings, and as Manchester United threatened to bungle the transfer of Bruno Fernandes (again), it briefly seemed Sander Berge was poised to join the club after being sighted on his way into the club's training ground. In actual fact, it was a case of mistaken identity; instead, Berge joined the United of the Sheffield variety, his arrival marked with Billy Sharp WhatsApping his own chant, to the tune of Oasis' She's Electric, to the club's social media team.
Even the Skip wanted to get involved 😂 pic.twitter.com/B6tHnDOCJv
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) January 30, 2020
Easter was still months away, but Manchester City gave us this Biblical substitution as a reminder as their title defence faltered with a draw at home to Crystal Palace.
— Toby Earle (@TobyonTV) January 18, 2020
With the new year blues beginning to fade, February was a time for optimism, a time when spring was around the corner and anything still felt possible in the world. The idea that Ballon d'Or-winning Kaka might cut back a pass to some mere mortal during a kick-about in London instead of arrowing a shot into the top corner also seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to assume. At least for the lad who demanded the pass.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 8, 2020
This was the month of Valentine's Day, too, and with that came beautiful poetry from north of the border.
Roses are red
Lilies are white pic.twitter.com/KF82i3F20A
— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) February 14, 2020
Sticking with the fitba theme, Ianis Hagi inadvertently destroyed a tender moment between mother and child by scoring for Rangers in a Europa League game with Braga.
Well done hagi ruining nice videos of ma baby and his mum.
— Copland Road (@CoplandRoad72) February 20, 2020
There was also this. A resemblance you simply cannot un-see once pointed out.
That baby is Phil Jones. https://t.co/4CktWgk9YO
— Jonny Sharples (@JonnyGabriel) February 1, 2020
By now the destination of the Premier League title already felt like a foregone conclusion as Liverpool's frankly ridiculous consistency helped them build a seemingly unassailable lead. While exits from all three cup competitions and a surprise tanking at relegation-threatened Watford had forced supporters to scale back their expectations for the season, surely nothing could possibly stop Liverpool from ending their three-decade wait for league success... Well, for at least a couple of weeks, it seemed the arrival of a global pandemic might just torpedo their title dreams. With some major European leagues opting to cancel the entire season, the possibility that the Premier League might do the same seemed, at least for a little while, like a genuine possibility.
- Villa 5-0 Liverpool
- Watford 3-0 Liverpool
- Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool
- Atletico 4-2 Liverpool
- Covid 19-18 Liverpool
— Will (@willreyner) March 12, 2020
Football across the world screeched to a halt. Finally, the gravity of the situation appeared to be sinking in:
NOW will you filthy non-hand-washers take this seriously? https://t.co/Fbkjm9EJbA
— Kelly Cates (@KellyCates) March 13, 2020
With no real football, those that would normally have been playing or watching it devised other ways of keeping themselves entertained. This included a viral keepy-uppy challenge with bog rolls, sometimes with disastrous consequences.
🤣Best one yet 🧻 🍷 pic.twitter.com/2LdZQgLeJr
— Stephen Elliott (@SleevesElliott) March 23, 2020
Then there was José Mourinho, whose facial expression perfectly encapsulated the feelings of every single football-deprived one of us.
Mourinho looking like he's been confronted by Rogue Traders for a series of double glazing scams. pic.twitter.com/1z16IYRrBw
— Andy Ha (@AndyHa_) March 23, 2020
With no football to keep us occupied, word that the game may return behind closed doors - at least in countries with semi-competent governments - had started to surface in the press. It prompted this excellent thread:
Football Behind Closed Doors
No.1 - Eric Cantona pic.twitter.com/OmmMA4v0Rs
— The Graphic Bomb (@thegraphicbomb) April 20, 2020
But mostly, April was a month where a lack of games meant any football-related content on Twitter was completely out of context. Take former Arsenal winger turned sensible, highly-respected Ajax technical director Marc Overmars smashing a ball into the face of a cyclist, for example. No idea but brilliant, nevertheless.
Overmars still has the class he used to have pic.twitter.com/XQUBUhmJOp
— Thomas (@ArchitectHughes) April 7, 2020
With the country doing its best to follow the pandemic rules, the prime minister's chief adviser didn't. Dominic Cummings' infamous drive to Barnard Castle and frankly insane attempts to provide a legitimate explanation provided opportunity aplenty for football-related tweets.
Dominic Cummings travelled further in lockdown with coronavirus than Crewe Alexandra have ever gone for a competitive game in their 143-year history.
— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) May 23, 2020
The resulting press conference was even enough to prompt Gary Neville to revisit a particularly damaging event in his short-lived managerial career.
The most uncomfortable I’ve seen an Englishman in a press conference since a 7-0 defeat in Barcelona
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) May 25, 2020
There was good news, though. Instead of inexplicably blaming football for not doing enough to help, government had realised that its return was a useful tool in distracting a good chunk of the population from their general incompetence, or the fact they were handing out multi-billion pound contracts to their mates while simultaneously allowing kids to starve.
Not only was it coming back, but some Premier League fixtures would be broadcast on the BBC. This really would take some getting used to...
Going to be a bit weird watching Premier League games on the BBC without assuming that every oncoming substitute is about to score and that every yellow-carded player is guaranteed to be sent off later on
— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) May 28, 2020
There was also a five-substitution rule which, while raising Dele Alli's hopes of making it off the Tottenham bench, also increased the possibility that he'd instantly be hooked off again minutes later, simply because Jose Mourinho now had the luxury to do so and some kind of point to prove.
Can't wait for five substitutions all at the same time by a furious Jose Mourinho after 35 minutes of their first game.
— Max Rushden 💙 (@maxrushden) May 29, 2020
Finally, the long wait was over. Football in England did return, albeit without fans.
Meanwhile, as the world continued to struggle to adapt to life in a pandemic, Marcus Rashford forced the government to have a good hard look at their approach - or lack of one - to helping feed some of the nation's children throughout the summer holidays. The Manchester United forward used his platform to hold the powers that be to account, ultimately forcing a change in policy from Boris Johnson that was celebrated across football twitter and beyond.
— Jasmine Baba 🇨🇾🇹🇿 (@_jasminebaba) June 16, 2020
Finally, after a nervy few weeks in the spring, Liverpool were able to clinch league glory for the first time since 1990. Manchester City's defeat at Chelsea was enough for Jurgen Klopp's side to mathematically seal what had realistically been theirs since the previous November.
The crowds began to gather outside Anfield...
LIVE at Anfield pic.twitter.com/puDm0Anh83
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) June 25, 2020
And Kenny Dalglish forgot to set his phone to silent before speaking live to BT Sport. His phone is still pinging.
"Onwards and upwards, I think they've got a lot more happy days to look forward to!"
Kenny Dalglish has nothing but praise on Jurgen Klopp for finally bringing the league title back to Liverpool
As the congratulations fly in for King Kenny! 📲😅 pic.twitter.com/9nQ1fLKR9I
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) June 25, 2020
Naturally, it was an opportunity for some to have a dig at Steven Gerrard.
If Chelsea beat or draw Manchester City, then its inevitable that Frank Lampard has helped Liverpool win more league titles than Steven Gerrard ever did. I love this game😂. #CHEMCI
— Kevin J. (@CFC__Kevin) June 25, 2020
Liverpool's success dominated FT for days and was a far bigger deal than two or three tweets will ever do justice. As things settled down a bit, there was also a magnificently put-together thread on how every single Premier League manager would get on as your step dad before the month of June was done. Because, well, why not?
Current Premier league managers rated as yer step dad
— Caddys_wmc (@CaddysWmc) June 29, 2020
Remember this time a year ago, when none of us even knew what a Zoom call was? Working from home and chatting to friends and family probably wouldn't have been possible without it these past few months. That said, it remains a complete and utter pain in the arse, as was highlighted in this extremely relatable video featuring Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Absolutely no chance the Glazer family were ever going to sanction an upgrade to the pro plan in this financial climate - not at $14.99-a-month.
Every single Zoom meeting in 2020. pic.twitter.com/hZWNwW6M3I
— Kristian (@vonstrenginho) July 3, 2020
After Liverpool sealed Premier League glory in June, another long wait reached its end for Leeds United, as they returned to the top flight. While this sparked joyous scenes in and around the city, Marcelo Bielsa's forensic approach to every single aspect of match preparation meant their promotion would only spell bad news for his coaching staff.
Spare a thought for Marcelo Bielsa’s coaching staff, whilst we all celebrate they’re just about to start binge watching every Burnley game since 2007.
— Ben (@BenF86) July 17, 2020
Also in July, restrictions were eased in English pubs, providing the perfect opportunity for more football-related tweets. Neil Warnock, incidentally, really would make an excellent landlord.
Every pub landlord on Saturday 4th July pic.twitter.com/w2qLw1BeJ4
— Nathan 🤙 (@SevenNathanArmy) July 3, 2020
We also said goodbye to a football legend in July as 1966 World Cup winner Jack Charlton passed away. Breaking away from the tone of many of the tweets included in this round-up, here is one of the more wholesome things we saw on our timelines all year.
Some day I’ll tell Blake about the nice old gent who calmed him down when he had a meltdown in the supermarket. Sad to hear about Jack Charlton’s passing, RIP Jack. pic.twitter.com/zzg9PdzjGh
— Jamie Smith (@Mr_Dolf) July 11, 2020
In early August, Fulham were promoted via the play-offs. More importantly, manager Scott Parker's post-match interview was used to replaced Mike Skinner's vocals in this version of The Streets' Dry Your Eyes. Near seamless, and one of many Parker-Streets mashups to appear on Twitter during the second half of 2020.
Dry your eyes mate by Scott Parker 😂🎧🎵 pic.twitter.com/nULLh9ryYx
— Mark Pickard (@MarkyPickard) August 6, 2020
With all major domestic European leagues concluded, the final stages of the Champions League and Europa League were finished off in Portugal and Germany respectively. The most talked-about game was undoubtedly the one in which a ruthless Bayern Munich side humiliated Barcelona 8-2 in Lisbon. Amongst a sea of pictures of Lionel Messi looking very sad, football twitter enjoyed itself.
— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) August 14, 2020
Unexpectedly, even Tottenham came out of this well.
— Grace Robertson 🏳️⚧️ (@GraceOnFootball) August 14, 2020
Even more unexpectedly given the way the last couple of years had panned out, so did on-loan Barça midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who came on as a Bayern sub and scored a couple of goals. All the excuse needed to resurface that old tweet.
Coutinho after today's game: https://t.co/gS5eL2Omtv
— 𝕽²⁴ (@R24AFC) August 14, 2020
Despite a first Champions League final appearance for Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern were victorious. Manuel Neuer, in true Manuel Neuer fashion, came off his line a few times, prompting one of our favourite tweets of the year.
Manuel Neuer coming off his line to save yet another 1v1 pic.twitter.com/WQprDfZnle
— Kyle Picknell (@kylepicknell) August 23, 2020
With an established European superpower's name etched onto the European Cup, there was also a comforting familiarity about the latter stages of the 2020 Europa League.
Love how the Europa League starts with 3,726 teams and yet the last four is always Sevilla, Shakthar, a dark horse and whichever Premier League club had a poor domestic season the year before.
— GeorgeWeahsCousin (@WeahsCousin) August 17, 2020
Their season ending in a disappointing semi-final defeat to Sevilla, Manchester United stars jetted off for short holidays before reporting back for pre-season. In the circumstances, several opted for Greece which, given it was within Europe and classed as a safe place to visit, seemed a sensible choice. I mean, what could possibly go wrong, right?
Harry Maguire's arrest made big news. With United's long and ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of Jadon Sancho already incredibly tedious by this stage, it was also an opportunity for a few barbed tweets about the club's latest transfer failings.
Harry Maguire still in police custody as Manchester United express reluctance at paying the entrie bail fee this summer. They prefer to spread the cost over two years with a series of add-ons.
— Si Lloyd (@SmnLlyd5) August 21, 2020
Dear @ManUtd, the home shirt is £64.95. Whilst I’m willing to pay the £64.95, I’d rather pay £30 up front, £10 when I’ve worn it 10 times, £10 when the team finish in the top 4 wearing it, £10 when Jadon Sancho scores a hat-trick wearing it and £4.95 if I win the Ballon d’Or.
— Nora Calder (@NoraUtd) August 21, 2020
Back in Barcelona, Lionel Messi made it known that he wanted out of Barcelona after growing tired of the the way in which the club had been run. Thankfully, newly appointed manager Ronaldo Koeman would be able to draw on similar experiences when at Everton if Messi got his wish.
Good thing for Barcelona is that Koeman has shown he can deal with club legends departing when Everton lost Tony Hibbert and Leon Osman in the same summer
— Matthew Stanger (@MatthewStanger) August 25, 2020
Alternatively, changing career was all the rage in the UK at this point. Perhaps that might provide Messi with a way out.
If I were Messi I’d give up on football and learn coding, it’s the future
— Alex Stewart (@AFHStewart) August 25, 2020
Messi remained at Barca, at least for another year.
With TV broadcasters and various sponsors to satisfy and little care about unimportant stuff like player welfare, football busily pressed ahead stuffing every possible game from every possible competition into an already congested calendar.
The Premier League returned in September after only a few weeks, with Eric Dier leaving the field to go to the toilet one of the highlights of the early weeks.
Dier must have left the toilet in some state pic.twitter.com/NFQyuRQsMF
— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) September 29, 2020
Staying with Tottenham, Daniel Levy orchestrated a particularly eventful end to the transfer window - the highlight being the homecoming of Gareth Bale, who ended a turbulent 12 months at Real Madrid with a season-long loan back in north London.
Gareth Bale leaving Madrid’s training ground https://t.co/JaWqSDDzw9
— karl (@afckarl) September 16, 2020
With Mick McCarthy still a month off sealing his Championship Manager 2001/02 long save-like move to APOEL, the former Ireland boss' vocals were added to a deep house track, just in case anyone was missing him.
Made a deep house track with Mick McCarthy vocals pic.twitter.com/BUApw2SyaL
— Jamie (@_Jamaha) September 22, 2020
September 2020 also saw Burnley boss Sean Dyche brought up a managerial milestone...
Sean Dyche’s 400th game as a manager tomorrow, so he’s done 399 post match interviews roughly speaking
— Paul_Ed (@eddo75) September 25, 2020
And even more perplexing pandemic restrictions fuelled more football-themed tweets.
Corona when it sees a large gathering but then realises it’s for work or school so doesn’t count pic.twitter.com/HffYa50V0e
— Jake (@jakeperry97) September 8, 2020
With October came the news that the incessant stream of live football would be coming to an end, with football authorities deeming it perfectly fine to charge £15-per-game on top of subscription packages for fans to watch games they had no way of attending. Because, y'know, football without fans is nothing and all that. In actual fact...
— Major Charles Innocent (@JoeStephenson96) October 9, 2020
Marcus Rashford was awarded an MBE in October for his services to vulnerable children. Despite his high-profile campaigning to help those most in need, it still wasn't enough to stop Rio Ferdinand from coming out with a terrible, terrible analogy.
Rio Ferdinand just compared Rashford’s performance to an older kid bullying younger kids and “taking their dinner money”, in the context of the last few weeks that may genuinely be the worst analogy I’ve ever heard
— Seán O’Sullivan (@OSullivanMUFC) October 28, 2020
By this stage, it was also clear that a second national lockdown was on the horizon in England.
“There’s been a second lockdown, but for who, Chris Kamara?” pic.twitter.com/4MNd8arxGD
— Jasmine Baba 🇨🇾🇹🇿 (@_jasminebaba) October 30, 2020
With various other restrictions changing in other parts of the UK.
When Nicola Sturgeon announces increased quarantine measures in the middle of yer haircut pic.twitter.com/UAscdEOaRA
— Rosa Zambonini (@ROSAZAMBONINI) October 17, 2020
News that Gunnersaurus has temporarily been made redundant was all the excuse needed to resurface an old and particularly brilliant Shawshank Redemption-inspired David Squires cartoon.
One can only hope. pic.twitter.com/dd8FmG8QxF
— Hugh Brechin (@HughRBrechin) October 5, 2020
The fallout from the 2020 US elections in November provided a welcome change in news headlines as infection rates escalated across the globe while also reminding us that, whichever way we look at it, humanity is well and truly fucked. The Twitter rantings of Donald Trump did at least provide Southampton with the perfect way of marking their brief spell at the Premier League summit.
STOP THE COUNT pic.twitter.com/rS94knWEhO
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) November 6, 2020
And as if 2020 couldn't possibly seem any further from reality, then came the news that National League Wrexham AFC were the subject of a takeover bid from Hollywood duo Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. The pair have already proved popular owners-elect at the north Wales club, and set about further ingratiating themselves with club sponsor Ifor Williams trailers - Britain's leading trailer manufacturer, we should add - with the following video.
— Wrexham AFC (@Wrexham_AFC) November 16, 2020
This was good. Very good.
Tfw you get shot by James Bond https://t.co/Ohag7wL9FC
— Tom Victor (@tomvictor) November 7, 2020
Diego Maradona's death saw tributes flood in from across the football world. Peter Shilton, the man he famously beat with his Hand of God in 1986 and who has spent the past 34 years banging on about it to anyone who will listen, offered one of his own. Though it was enough for the former goalkeeper's name to trend on Twitter, fittingly, he was not able to get quite as high as Diego.
For one final time he’s lept above Peter Shilton. pic.twitter.com/iixftjD6eB
— Rich 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@BatesInThePlace) November 25, 2020
November also saw the 'news' that, in between being a professional footballer and pressurising the government into feeding hungry children, Marcus Rashford had had the audacity to invest his own hard-earned money in some nice houses. The Daily Mail did a report on it (of course the Daily Mail did a report on it) and in response, The Exploding Heads did this.
The moment the wrong type of footballer bought an expensive house. pic.twitter.com/fe35iyOaLq
— The Exploding Heads (@Exploding_Heads) November 16, 2020
And so, December. We're nearly done with 2020.
The vaccine may have provided genuine light at the end of the Covid tunnel, but we're not through it yet. Christmas may not be the one we were hoping for, but this year's football has at least shown us that we can improvise.
Going to pipe fake "extended family" noise into my house from the 25th-27th
— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) December 20, 2020
In the meantime, football rumbles on, relatively unperturbed. As 2020 has shown, with or without it, Twitter will always find a way of making anything - literally anything - about football.
Gerrard is doing some job. https://t.co/eNNjVrQ8aP
— No Context Scouse (@NoContextScouse) December 4, 2020
(And if one Steven Gerrard-animal tweet wasn't enough, here's a bonus one...)
— Mag ☭ 🐟 (@Mangis1891) December 21, 2020
And as has been shown by the recent collapse of Mikel Arteta's Arsenal, no matter how bad things seem, there's always someone much worse off.
I think we can all agree that the last thing Twitter needs is more Arsenal fans https://t.co/SQj6CUa4o3
— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) December 16, 2020
— Regan Cotter (@Regan_Cotter) December 13, 2020
Stay safe. Good riddance, 2020.