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Joey Barton… Should a big club take a chance on the Premier League’s most notorious man?

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Joey Barton... England's best midfielder?For someone who dubs himself the best midfielder in the land, Joey Barton can hardly be accused of lacking in self-confidence, yet is this a justified assessment of his skills and ability as a player? Purely looking at the boy as a midfielder, it is fair to say he had a good season for Newcastle last term, being a key figure and often influencing games in a positive way. Yet it was hardly a season that was worthy of nominations for accolades, and when comparing to someone like Scott Parker, Barton pales in comparison.

According to the player himself, he is better than Lampard, Gerrard and Barry combined, with the latter a ‘teacher’s pet’ and the former two over rated and ‘past it’. However, Barton seems to have forgotten the fact that he has won very little, and when you compare Lampard’s two premier league trophies and Ballon d’or nominations, Gerrard’s Champions League winners medal and the fact that Barry is now an FA cup winner and part of a city squad that are sure to add to their haul of trophies in the future, Barton’s claim begins to fall apart. Joey Barton is not a proven winner, and has never performed at the very highest level, and if there is any justice in the world, will never get the opportunity to do so.

When players such as Ashley Cole, Ryan Giggs and Rooney get vilified by the media for their off the field antics, whilst not condonable, failing to keep their trousers on is hardly in the same league as Joey Barton’s past misdemeanours, which include stubbing a cigarette out on a team mate’s face, leaving another in hospital following a training ground bust up, being arrested for criminal damage and assault more than once, making Fascist salutes after scoring goals and having spent time in prison.

What kind of role model is this for young players or children? Should a club such as Manchester United – a rumoured potential suitor –  sign Joey Barton, they are not only taking a huge gamble on the player’s somewhat questionable character, but are excusing his past conduct both on and off the field.

Barton claims to have found religion and philosophy, and is now apparently a reformed character, with a calmer personality and without an eye for trouble. However, one decent season does not mean this is the case, and whilst the player and his fans – if there are any – may call for him to solely be judged on his on the field actions, in modern day football this is not the case. Players are role models and held to higher standards that they may feel is fair, but when considering the endorsement deals and wages they receive, not to mention the adulation from youngsters trying to emulate them, it is not unreasonable to see why.

As late as November 2010 Barton found himself in trouble after punching Morten Gamst Pederson in the ribs, showing that the reformed character is not as good as the player and PR team around him would have us believe. Alan Pardew has supported Barton’s attempt at reformation, saying the boy is now a ‘different person than two years ago’, and has displayed leadership qualities this season both on and off the field. Yet how long is this sustainable for?

From both a domestic and international viewpoint, is it really wise to take a gamble on a player who could be sent off at any moment for losing his temper and making an audacious challenge or starting a physical fight? Moreover how long Barton manages to stay out of court and possibly prison is anyone’s guess, something which again would impact any club he played for, whether it be his current club of Newcastle or one of the top four, or even England.

How Barton’s career progresses since his discovery or religion and philosophy remains to be seen, yet for someone who has achieved a greater criminal record than trophy list, Barton should be careful before criticising players who have already been there and done it in the game – something he is yet to do, and in reality, is unlikely to do at all.

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6 comments

  • MoonSteve says:

    Just a few corrections, Ashley cole shot a teammate, that ‘facist’ salute was actually signing that his tache was gonna be shaved, pederson accepted bartons immeidate apology. You may not forgive over one good season but you’re quick to condemn over one incident.

  • whistleblower says:

    Any top club should avoid racist Barton like the plague.

  • Terry says:

    He did not do a fascist salute…..he was trying to show he was getting rid of his moustache. However people will always go for the worst in everything.

  • Aussie Dave says:

    A Club like Manu? Joey’s past in not bad enough to play for Manure. A fews fights is nothing compared to his potential illustrious team mates.
    Rio Needles drug cheat ferdinand. Johnny the rapist Evans, Wayne granny shagger Rooney, and all around scum bag. Ryan Giggs (no explanation needed. Nemanja Vidic well again no need to explain

    So Joey if you want to play for the great manure then its simple, stop fighting, and start taking drugs and start raping woman or grandmothers, Sir Alec will snap you up.

  • aaron says:

    i think bartons point was he is CURRENTLY a better player than lampard etc so citing they were nominated for awards years ago is irrelevent and a player cant be judged on trophies alone. i’d say matt le tissier and david ginola were better than john o’shea and world cup winner stephane guivarch

  • Richard Hillman says:

    “Making Fascist salutes”

    Laughable, utterly laughable…
    Rebecca Knight is certainly a few sarnies short of a full picnic basket.

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