Aston Villa defender Joleon Lescott has reiterated his claim that a tweet sent in the immediate aftermath of the club’s 6-0 defeat to Liverpool earlier this month was an accident.
Lescott has endured a miserable time of late, firstly coming in for criticism when he was seen laughing from the bench when Villa conceded in their televised FA Cup tie at League Two Wycombe last month.
The 33-year-old then posted a photograph of a £120,000 Mercedes on his Twitter feed shortly after the Midlands club had been humiliated by Liverpool at Villa Park which provoked another angry response from fans.
And most recently Lescott hit the headlines when he offered a supporter down to the club’s training ground to fight him via Instagram.
The centre-back insists that incident was manipulated in the press as the fan had earlier messaged the player saying he wanted to “carve me a new scar on my face”.
Speaking about the Liverpool post-match furore, Lescott told The Times: “What happened afterwards was an honest mistake. I was driving home and got a call from my brother (Aaron, his agent and a former Bristol Rovers defender), saying: ‘What have you done? Have you just sent out a tweet?’ ‘No, I’m driving home.’
“I was on my phone in the changing room, said goodbye to my family, put the phone into my pocket, got in the car, I didn’t lock my phone. It must have accidentally gone off, I don’t know how, whether you believe it or not.
“It’s not the first time I’ve put my phone in my pocket and accidentally dialled someone.
“I don’t own that car. I wouldn’t tweet that picture. A young player, a friend of mine, said: ‘I’m thinking of getting this car, what do you think?’ ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘it’s a nice car but be careful because the insurance might be high.’
“That was the only reason the picture was on my phone. Whether things have gone well or not, I’d never tweeted (after a game). There was no comment on the tweet. Just a picture.
“I don’t see why people don’t believe it was a genuine mistake.
“My brother said: ‘It’s been retweeted and the fans are going off. It doesn’t look good.’ I said: ‘I’ll be home in an hour and I’ll address it then.’ By that time I hadn’t deleted it straight away or commented straight away, everyone had blown it out of all proportion.
“With results and the performance it wasn’t great timing.”
Lescott admits criticism from fans is part and parcel of football but claims reaction to recent events has been “intense”.
He added: “I can take the criticism of on the field. I’m a grown man, I can look in the mirror and know I’ve worked hard in my career. I don’t get carried away by criticism or praise.
“But the reaction was intense. People had a lot to say. Pundits, critics – these people act like they’ve never made a mistake before.
“For me to accidentally tweet a picture is not the biggest crime that a footballer has ever committed. But I can understand the feeling of the fans who feel let down.”