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Swansea ballboy suffers at feet of social media

Published: 10:56AM Friday January 25, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

Football stars have continued to put the boot into the local ballboy after his time-wasting antics during yesterday's League Cup semi-final between hometown Swansea and visiting Chelsea.

Swansea held their rivals to a scoreless draw yesterday to win the tie on aggregate and earn a trip to Wembley to face Bradford City in next month's final.

The game made a star of ballboy Charlie Morgan, who refused to promptly provide the ball to Chelsea's Eden Hazard for a throw-in.

Instead, he lay on the ball and when Hazard used his foot to dislodge it from Morgan's grasp, he was sent off for his trouble. The pair met again after the game and apologised to each other, but Hazard faces ongoing judicial consequences for his red card.

The incident has catapulted Morgan, the 17-year-old son of a Swansea club director, into instant social media stardom.

His Twitter account, which boasted of his plans to hijack the game beforehand, went from a few hundred followers to many thousands within minutes of the game ending.

He now has nearly 100,000 followers and his actions have spawned several parody accounts, but he's discovering the price of fame can be public ridicule.

The BBC is reporting its tweet of the video footage has been re-tweeted more than 15,000 times - one of its most popular posts ever.

While Morgan is now a local hero, professional football players have, predictably, slammed his behaviour, which could see the role of ballboys reviewed for the future.

"Both the kid and Hazard were in the wrong. Not having Hazard tried to hurt him though. He just tried to poke it out of his grip," tweeted Stoke City and former England striker Michael Owen.

Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale also backed Hazard: "Unbelievable decision by the referee to send Hazard off but congrats to Swansea".

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin told BBC Radio he would have done the same as Hazard and described Morgan's performance as "disgraceful".

"I was very, very disappointed by the way the ball boy acted and I say 'acted'," he said. "He must have been watching footballers, the way he rolled around and pretended to be more injured."

But the Professional Footballers' Association chairman Gordon Taylor said Hazard's approach was unacceptable.

"You can't take the law into your own hands," he said. "You can understand the frustration of wanting to get the ball back, but his actions were unacceptable and the referee had no alternative."

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