By me writing this Joey Barton wins. It proves everything he says and justifies his opinions. It shows that people like me are inferior to people like him. It makes me a helmet, a nugget and, of course, an under achiever. That would be his opinion and, to avoid any doubt, you’re best slotting ‘Joey’s opinion’ and ‘fact’ in adjacent pigeon holes.
In the summer I had a Twitter quarrel with Joey, this isn’t rare for either of us. He’d said something along the lines of Mario Balotelli being mental and unstable. I questioned this, explaining Balotelli was young and we can all do stupid things – Joey included.
He disagreed, started arguing with me and played the ‘Do you know who I am?’ card by saying it was I who followed him and he had no idea who I was so my opinion didn’t matter. I explained that, likewise, Mario Balotelli probably had no idea who he was so it muted his standpoint. I left it there.
The following day I was walking my son around Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry and checked my phone to see Barton was still going on about it and messaging me. He was explaining how football writers were seagulls following his trawler for titbits and how I’d rush off to write about it and criticise him.
I didn’t write about it, not because he’d had a go – that wouldn’t stop me. I didn’t write about it because it would have been bloody boring. Barton was having so many rows on twitter that you could have produced a template article, changed a few words every few days, and published again.
It wasn’t a case of seagulls following his trawler for scraps. He’d fitted a turbo engine to the vessel and was firing smoked salmon from cannons at anyone who’d listen. He seemed determined to make his opinions known and there’s nothing wrong with that but there was certainly an element of attention seeking about it.
I stopped following Joey when he started the whole seagulls thing as I found it akin to scraping fingers down a chalkboard. Eric Cantona carried it off, not many could. However I’d still see his tweets on my timeline from RTs and I’d hear of his latest internet scraps on the radio or read about them. There were many, usually with high profile people.
If Joey Barton is half as clever as he tells us he is then he knows that when he gets into a situation on Twitter it will be publicised and that when he says something controversial, like he has about Warnock, it will create a story. If you knew this before tweeting, and had enough brain cells to make it plural, then you’d think twice. I think he does consider what he says and gets the reaction and attention he sets out to.
Then there’s the narcissistic tendencies, Joey Barton takes blowing his own trumpet to orchestra levels. He’s the best trumpet player ever, most definitely much better than you. Happy to criticise and abuse without any hint of irony, as he did with Newcastle United.
If you weren’t into football and just read his tweets for entertainment you’d think that Newcastle United would have crumbled since his exit. He painted a picture of a club in crisis which treated the fans and players with no respect. He responded to fawning fans begging him to stay with a sense of pity for the future of the rudderless club. He wanted to stay and try and halt the rot but was being kicked out for daring to voice concerns about the future of the club he loved.
Newcastle finished last season in twelfth place. They’re currently in sixth with just ten less points than they achieved for the whole of last season.
Despite talk of huge clubs being interested in him, something he insisted himself, Joey Barton eventually signed for QPR. Neil Warnock had got the team promotion and the board agreed to the players wage demands, thought to be in the region of £80,000 a week. That figure isn’t just guess work, it’s what he told Wolverhampton’s Karl Henry when the two were having a spat.
Warnock made Joey Barton his captain and waxed lyrical about him. He also put the hugely talented but slightly erratic Adel Taarabt under Joey’s wing. The stage was set for him to shine but he didn’t and the team struggled, leading to Neil Warnock rightfully getting sacked. Joey Barton said at the time he was gutted and that Warnock would be in a job again soon.
So what prompted today’s rant? Well, Warnock had the temerity to say "I don't want to get into talking about Joey Barton. Joey talks about himself enough. I just want to talk about positive things about the club."
Barton then took to Twitter in rage or a calculated manner, he’ll decide which later no doubt, and said:
"If I talked about Neil, he'd do well to get another job.”
“Twitter cost him his job? I can think of a million other things #shutitwarnock.”
"Lost his job and guy is blaming everyone but himself! Embarrassing, time to look in the mirror mate.”
"Last thing we need right now. Big week.”
The impressive thing is that all this was done without a sense of irony and with no comedy purpose. If it were a parody account it would challenge the very best Twitter has to offer. Joey Barton is right to say his team don’t need this hassle right now – so why give it to them?
Players who have known Warnock for years have seen their captain rip him to shreds. A new manager who needs to accumulate points now knows the Joey Barton Twitter circus will surround him this weekend. Supporters who will always be grateful to Warnock for getting them promoted will feel uneasy about what their response should be. Not one bit of this needed to happen.
I’m not sure if QPR will stay up, I’m not sure if Mark Hughes will be a success. Whatever happens, none of it will be Joey Barton’s fault. Nugget?
By Annie Eaves, follow her on Twitter @AnnieEaves
Great read as usual, Annie. Enjoyed that from top to bottom.
I disagree, the picture at the top is anything but enjoyable.
Oh, I love that picture.
Great article, great read. Really reinforces the image everyone rightfully has of Barton being an odious little so-and-so, with delusions of grandeur that far outweigh his actual ability on a football pitch. Far be it from me to actually criticise his footballing ability (I'm shocking at football...) but you'd think he should be playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona based on his misguided opinion of himself. Tony Fernandes would do well to put his millions to proper use, and banish Barton to the moon forever.
A good read Annie, but I have to disagree. I don't subscribe to the notion that Barton is Socrates 3.0, but neither do I think that he is a mindless thug (at this stage of his career), a tool certainly but a cognisant tool.
In spite of the recent mellowing on the part of media in his portrayal, Warnock is not a pleasant man. Before getting Sheffield United promoted this was a man whose claim to fame was his outrageous conduct on the sidelines and his ad hominem slurs directed at higher profile individuals like Sean Bean. This was also the man who defended serial elbow merchant Chris Morgan who later went on to fracture Iain Hume's skull. Warnock was well aware of what he was saying re: Barton and it is entirely in keeping with his favoured approach of insinuating slurs where he lacks the courage to be forthright, something that is well-document with his slimy post-match comments directed at officials and opposition players this season.
A blind eye seems to have been turned to much of that this season, anyone would have thought the Premiership was welcoming back the Duke of Wellington reincarnate with his work at QPR. No in this instance I think I see more substance than petulance to Barton's comments.
That is a massive insult...to nuggets.
I've always said that barton is a narcissist. As for any comparison with King Eric, barton isn't fit to clean his toilet.
Having an argument with that tosser is about as worthwhile as debating the finer points of quantum physics with a foetus.
What an idiot. Great article Annie