Marvin Sordell is young. He's 23 years old at the moment. When he signed with Bolton Wanderers he was 20 years old. In truth, Marvin was no different from any other 20-year-old when he signed with Bolton. That was his downfall. Like many people, young and old alike, Marvin was active on social media, most notably Twitter. This was never an issue when he played for Watford. But when he moved to Bolton, he became rather well-known for it.
Marvin Sordell missed his friends and family in London after he moved to the northwest. His homesickness is well-documented. Perhaps this caused him to increase his participation on Twitter. Like any 20-year-old, Sordell did a variety of things with his Twitter account. He made jokes. He commented on world events. He posted photos of his friends, including his girlfriend (We will come back to that). And, perhaps most importantly, he interacted with fans. A lot. He answered questions. He offered occasional giveaways. He thanked them for their support. He even reacted to the trolls and critics. This would be his downfall.
Marvin Sordell had the misfortune of coming to Bolton Wanderers a few short months before they were relegated. He had nothing to do with the relegation. He made three appearances, all of the sub's bench, and spent a grand total of 39 minutes on the pitch, most of it during the second half of a 3-0 loss to Chelsea that was pretty much pre-ordained.
During Sordell's first year with Bolton he saw beloved captain Kevin Davies driven off Twitter by the trolling and insults of the internet at large, so it is fair to say that no one is immune. So he probably thought it was just another troll when he saw on his timeline "You'll never be as good as John McGinlay."
Sordell had a lot of options at this point. He could have ignored it. He could have responded "Thank you for your support." He could have written "The guy who played for the Cincinnati Riverhawks?! That's quite a compliment." All of that would have been fine. But he chose another option.
Marvin Sordell wrote "I don't know who that is." It seems innocent enough. For those who share Sordell's befuddlement, here is a quick biography: John McGinlay was a journeyman striker who played for about a dozen clubs from the early 80's until the late 90's, almost entirely in the lower divisions of English football. He did manage to make 13 appearances for Scotland, but is best known for his time with Bolton Wanderers in the mid-90's. His best season was 1996-97, when Bolton won the old first division and McGinlay scored 30 goals. As Bolton were celebrating promotion, Sordell was a 6-year-old living in London.
He was branded a discontent. He had an "attitude problem." He was "addicted to Twitter." All this because he had never heard of John McGinlay. There were other things said as well. Things like, "he's lazy." "He doesn't train hard." Sometimes these sort of statements might be true, but usually they are code. Code for, "He is a black player, and he doesn't know his place." Several people on Twitter didn't even bother with the code. Especially when Sordell posted photos of himself with his girlfriend. His white girlfriend. Protest if you would like, but the truth is that many of the old prejudices have never died.
Notice I am approaching 600 words and I have not mentioned Marvin Sordell's performance on the pitch. I have not mentioned how many goals he has scored, or what his work rate has been. Marvin Sordell will have a physical at Burnley in a few hours. They will offer Bolton a fraction of what was paid for Sordell. And Bolton will have to take it. Blame Owen Coyle if you like. Blame Phil Gartside if you must. Blame Dougie Freedman if it makes you feel better. It's all an illusion. The trolls have run a talented young striker out of town, and I am damn near certain that they are very proud of themselves.