Portuguese forward João Félix surprised fans a few days ago when he polled his followers via Instagram Stories about a possible group chat where they could talk directly with each other. The response was overwhelmingly positive and within an hour, the 23-year-old posted a second story with a link for fans to follow.
BREAKING: Joao Felix just posted on Instagram he’s going to create a giant group chat for everyone to join where he’ll also be able to interact with people.Lovely guy he is ❤️ pic.twitter.com/xcFg0czjoS
— Janty (@CFC_Janty) March 27, 2023
The link directs fans to download The Residency, an app designed to create group chats for professional soccer players and their fans to communicate with each other. Their tagline, “From Fans to Friends,” seems a bit too good to be true, especially when looking further into the app.
On their official social media, The Residency has posted videos with Félix and other stars including Enzo Fernández, Trevoh Chalobah and Warren Zaïre-Emery announcing that they will be using the app and that, “more players are coming soon!”
— The Residency (@TheResidncy) March 27, 2023
So does this mean that the Chelsea loanee didn’t actually come up with the idea to create a group chat on his own and instead was told to post the message on his social media to attract attention before plugging a service he was being paid to promote?
Yeah, it probably does, but really, is that really so unforgivable?
João Félix has created a groupchat to connect with fans: Rafael Leão & Trevor Chalobah are also involved. pic.twitter.com/7hxR7IDBsm— EuroFoot (@eurofootcom) March 27, 2023
There’s a chance that Félix fully intends to use the app to reach out to fans and have these conversations, but we have a feeling that much like the message on his story, the majority of his content is actually going to come from the people who manage his social media accounts.
With the rise in trolls and online abuse, this feels like a way to give racists and trolls even better access to do their horrible bidding. Some online criticized the idea and mocked the player with jokes about him opening the app after a poor match and receiving even more abuse.
Joao Felix checking the group chat after getting 0.13xG in a Chelsea defeat.
— Barstool Football (@StoolFootball) March 27, 2023
We really hope it doesn’t turn into that because, on the surface at least, it sounds like a great idea. Who wouldn’t want to have the chance to converse with their favorite stars in a group chat? These “relationships” that the platform promises are every fan’s dream and it would be great to bring fans closer to their heroes. Let’s just hope these promises aren’t empty.