Sadly even at this early stage of the season there have been problems to talk about, not just for one football club but for the sport in general.

My age group will probably, like me, not understand too much about what is called social media.

People can make comments on there about anyone they like, call them whatever they want, criticise them, or even praise them I suppose, but can do so without giving their real name, instead just hiding anonymously behind a made-up username.

The reason it’s hit the football headlines is because in one week, three players who had missed penalties or been in a team which lost, were not just criticised but were abused because of their race, background etc.

Any manager knows that in a normal week there will be some sort of fallout on the training pitch or in the dressing room, especially if a game has just been lost.

If someone has made a mistake or missed a penalty, for instance, which would have made a difference, there are flashpoints, but it is always sorted out and you move on before the next game.

But this sort of criticism and abuse is far over and above football.

The player not only lives with it at the ground but when he leaves there both him and his family have to deal with it.

They are well aware that everyone else knows about it but they will never find out the person online who has said these things.

There has been a move already from people like the PFA to meet up with executives from Twitter to ask them to control these criticisms.

In a much more minor way, I can understand because apparently for quite a while now there has been one person who hides behind the name of a road in Southampton criticising me on the comments section of the Daily Echo website. People who tell me about it call him ‘potholes.’ He criticises on a regular basis comments that I make in the column, but apparently gets his facts wrong and at times it goes beyond talking about views and opinions on football and gets quite personal.

Whilst it doesn’t bother me, of course I hear about this from family and friends who are much more upset about it, and it leads me to wonder why do people not put their real names on?

I hope that the PFA can sort things out because Gordon Taylor more than anyone will understand this affects not only the player and his family but when he is playing he will be more concerned about making a mistake than he needs to be.

  • Last week I paid my annual visit to the gathering of the Southampton Disabled Supporters’ Association, organised so well by Paul Lucas.

There were more people there this year than ever.

Some of our ex-players such as Jim Steele, Hughie Fisher, Mike Earls and FA Cup winning captain Peter Rodrigues turned up as usual.

A lot of time was spent signing autographs and of course everyone has a camera these days, which was helpful because this year Paul had organised not only the FA Cup but also the World Cup to be there, so you can imagine how many youngsters and their parents were happy to have their picture taken on the day.