Saturday, April 29, 2017

Bartons Banned

This is far from the first piece of controversy surrounding Joey Barton but it may very well be his last as a professional footballer. That’s right, Joey Barton has been handed an 18 month ban for placing 1,260 bets over the course of 10 years and at the tender age of 34, it’s unlikely he’ll be up to the task when he returns…

The Burnley man has called the ban “excessive” which I can’t really agree with as he knew what the rules were and has repeatedly broke them since 2006. Of course the only reason he’s saying it’s excessive is because this ban effectively forces him into retirement.

Is this the end or just the beginning of something new?

Let’s be honest though, this doesn’t really come as much of a surprise, his retirement was always gonna be a big fiasco. Barton has been in the papers for more bad reasons than good over the years, whether it be stubbing out a cigar in a youth player’s eye, starting a 10-man brawl in a friendly or just plain kicking the shit out of his own players he’s rarely in the headlines for his footballing brilliance…

Which is a shame because he was actually a good player. Not a great player. I don’t want people getting confused that because I’ve complimented Barton I’m comparing him to the likes of N’Golo Kante and Luka Modric. I think Barton holds a much closer comparison to Robbie Savage, a seemingly constant starter in the Premier League but was never a Premier League great.

He’s a very direct kind of player which is a perfect fit for Burnley as they are a much more direct team that like to try and get the ball moving forward as quickly as possible with little regard towards the possession stats. Joey’s best qualities though are in his defensive capabilities.

As many people know he’s a very strong tackler, he’s surprisingly good in the air considering he’s only 5ft9 and is a unselfish player, not being afraid to throw his body in the way of a shot or cross to the benefit of his side. All traits that suit hard working Burnley team.

Another positive on Barton’s game is his dead ball ability. He can whip in a good ball from either a free kick or a corner which is an ability needed in any side in my opinion. It pisses me off when teams don’t have a player who can whip in a cross, like England in the 2016 Euro’s...not even one of our wingers could’s embarrassing. I’m not saying we should have called up Joey Barton but it’d have been better than putting Kane on dead balls. But I digress.

Barton celebrating after scoring a free kick against Southampton earlier this season.

And despite some fans opinion’s on him, he is actually an intelligent player. Off the pitch he likes to make people believe he is this profound philosopher, a regular Aristotle. When in actual fact he’s just an average Joe with a large Twitter following gained from his career as a footballer and not his “profound” opinions.

...But despite his questionably intelligence off the pitch, his intelligence on it is impressive. He reads the game well, has good positional sense and know’s when a tactical foul is needed. And that is not just to the opposition, Joey Barton is the kind of player who knows if his team are under the cosh, sometimes the best course of action is to just go down. Not dive per se, more just leave a leg dangling and go down when your man touches it...ok dive, whatever…

Fouling actually brings me onto Barton’s first negative point; his discipline. Barton has received 8 yellow cards in 23 games this season. If that was a goal scoring stat, you’d think this kid isn’t half bad. Sadly for the 34 year old it's not a goal scoring stat and can put his manager in a tricky situation if (or should I say when) he gets a ban.

Again to be fair to Joey it is a bit of an occupational hazard when you play in a midfield of a side battling relegation, it can’t always be helped. But one thing that can be help is his sudden outbursts of aggression on the pitch...I think most fans of Premier League football know what I’m talking about there.

I think everyone at some point has though "dick head" when thinking of Joey Barton.

I mean just look at that. He goes from “this is a disappointing development” to “I’m going to end all life as we know it” in less than a second. A lot of people can look back on it now and laugh but might I remind you that this was the game where City needed a win to become Premier League Champions. Tensions were running so high, this act could have started a riot…

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Barton’s career, there were times where Barton could make us piss ourselves just simply by having the attitude of a Sunday League footballer. The time he got his arse out to Everton supporters was and still is funny. Putting on a French accent when speaking to the media was another corker from the Scouser.

In fact you could probably bring out a DVD of all the antics this guy has got up to including; making comments about Zlatan Ibrahimovic's nose to Zlatan, calling Torres a ‘cock-smoker’, comparing Neil ‘wanker’ Warnock to Mike Bassett and even a comical jab to Morten Gamst Pedersen’s chest when the referee wasn’t looking.

A much more recent comedy moment from Barton was when he tried to get a non-league striker sent off in the FA Cup but walking into his arm and saying he was elbowed. The really hilarious part was the fact that he denied diving on Twitter, saying the player “moved his arm back and hit him on the head”...I’ll let you guys be the judge of that one.

How Matt Rhead stayed on the pitch I don't know. Disgusting elbow...

On another note, I bet the Burnley man is having a feeling of deja vu this season as this is the third time he has let a club down at the business end of the season, where the club is really looking for him to step up. This season he will miss the remaining four games of the season which were all very winnable matches.

The last time he let his club down was in the same game as the aforementioned Aguero kick, where he was sent off for elbowing Carlos Tevez in the face. QPR were not yet guaranteed safety but thankfully games went their way and The Rs managed to stave off relegation, at least for another year that is.

The time before that was when he played for Newcastle and was sent off in the 77th minute when already 2-0 down after a very stupid lunged tackle on Xabi Alonso. With three tough fixtures to follow this it was important that the Geordies had the best squad available. This is also what sparked Alan Shearer to call Joey Barton, and I quote, “shit”...

Where does this ban leave Burnley? The Clarets are currently 5 points off relegation with Swansea looking like the only team with a chance of escaping the drop. They have four winnable games and I think that just one more win will see them steer clear of the bottom three.

This is gonna seem like a random question does this ban only stops him from playing football or does it stops him from any footballing activities? Like can he still be a pundit on TV? Or can he go and apply for any manager/coaching jobs if they became available? Can he still collect Panini stickers? If anyone has any answers please comment below.

But for now, it looks like that is the end of Joseph Barton’s footballing career. He may not have reached the top of world football but I’m sure he’ll look back with fondness of his time in football but, in my eyes, will always be remembered as a player who left the phrase “what if” on many fans’ lips.

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Cheers for reading.

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