Joey Barton: The Unlovable Rogue

Ah Joseph Anthony Barton, a man I’ve seen called ‘controversial and complicate’ too many times. “Footballer. Question Time Guest. Philosophy Student. Future Coach. Fluent French Speaker. What Has Become of Me?” as his website states (Seriously it does) and now, not for the first time, a very naughty boy. See Joey Barton is the sort of bloke that doesn’t seem to understand that just because you have a couple of millions twitter followers, they don’t all like you. He also is of the opinion because he’s read a couple of articles in the Guardian and a couple of philosophy/political books that he’s a credible philosopher and political commentator on the plight of the working class. As I said Joey Barton man of the people. What a world we live in where Joey Barton, a man convicted of assault, a man who also assaulted his own team-mate on the training ground, and now a man who to my mind could be found guilty of match-fixing (a criminal offence) could possibly represent the left as a man of the people on Question Time. Question Time!! Let that sink in Joey Barton has been on Question Time as a serious guest. Before I go any further I must say just for balance that he has been, at times a decent footballer. He has an England Cap and whilst in recent years those have less value than previously (see Jay Bothroyd & David Nugent) this is no mean feat. However, this was in the Steve McLaren era and the less said about that the better.

My main issue with Joey is that he portrays himself as some sort of victim, the heroic outcast footballer fighting for what is truly right in the world. The ‘I’m an intelligent footballer’ act belies his innate selfishness and pure malice. This is a man banned 3 times for violent conduct, one against his own team-mate during training! A man who’s been to prison a violent Assault against a member of the general public on a night out. But it’s all okay because he throws out some philosophical tweet every now again when he’s been an idiot and that, in his own mind, justifies his actions. Basically, young Joseph finds any sort of way to blame others for his own stupidity, malice and general lack of charm. Take his statement to his latest selfish act. “I think if the FA is truly serious about tackling the culture of gambling in football, it needs to look at its own dependence on the gambling companies, their role in football and in sports broadcasting, rather than just blaming the players who place a bet.” Let me get this straight football which is a business, one which you have profited greatly from, is the issue here. He also goes on to say the culture he grew up was always one of gambling, so it’s also now your family’s fault. Lovely bloke that Joey Barton, blames the family that raised him and supported him, then blames the game that has served him so well and allowed him more chances than any other sector would ever allow him. Only in sport can a convicted man earn £2m a year. Can you imagine the uproar if a senior banker had been found to be guilty of assault and breaking the FCA rules?!

Hopefully this is the last we see and hear of a deeply average footballer and a deeply average, narcissistic bloke who thinks he speaks for the people. Fortunately for the average man and woman he certainly does not.

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We need to start criticising Spurs like the Big Boys or they will never improve.

On a personal note the only problem I have with Tottenham right now is the way they have been given an easy ride by the press. I like a lot of people don’t always agree with Alan Shearer but his argument with Jermaine Jenas on Saturday showed the exact double standards that are coming with Spurs right now. Had Pep’s Ground Half Empty XI lost in the way Spurs did Saturday afternoon we would have been hammering their inability to defend against the top teams in the big games. However when it’s Spurs they were simply unlucky young, not overpaid, plucky, heroic English players, I was delighted to see Shearer put Jenas in his place on this hypocrisy.

The main issue I have with Pochettino’s boys is that they simply do not seem to turn up when the lights are brightest. Take their Champions League campaign, an appalling effort from a team that were supposed to be England’s best hope in the competition. Dele Alli & Harry Kane were non-existent, as they were for England last summer, and Tottenham were unceremoniously dumped out of the competition at the group stage despite having a relatively friendly group. Then there is the less than spectacular away record against the rest of the top 7; 3 losses and 3 draws. You cannot win a league with an away record like that against the other title challengers. The best defense in the league hasn’t kept a clean sheet in any of these games, and Kane & Alli have only scored 1 goal each in those 6 games. If they want to be seen as world class then they have to do it in these big games, not at home vs Sunderland or Burnley.

The secondary issue Spurs and Pochettino have is their squad depth, something which Pochettino and Daniel Levy have to take some blame for, they had a great chance to really push on this summer with the Champions League money and the new Premier League TV deal providing them with what should’ve been a war chest to really push on and win trophies. Instead they signed Moussa Sissoko, N’Koudou and Janssen for £57.8m all of whom have been underwhelming to say the least. For all the praise Pochettino deserves for his work this season has been a poor year for recruitment for Spurs and him. All the other major sides (bar cross-London rivals Arsenal) have added 2 quality starters. While we are on the subject of Arsenal it must be made clear that despite their obvious problems Arsenal still made it out of the group in the Champions League, have reached the FA Cup Final and are still in with a shout of top 4 for the 20th consecutive season. It shows the difference of standards that Arsenal are held to compared to Spurs. Spurs have to class this season as a failure if they do not win the league which, despite a recent wobble from Chelsea, looks unlikely.

We have to start holding Spurs to the standards of the rest of the Top 6, if you want to play with the big boys you have to be held to the same standard as them, not be treated like a slightly better Leicester. You cannot class players such as Dele Alli world-class until they start proving that they are not the bridesmaids’ that choke when it comes to the crunch. If they can do that and win a trophy then we can give them all the accolades that their talent undoubtedly deserve but until then this side and its players can only be described as very good, not great.