It seems as though the words Joey and Barton have been the buzz words of the weekend again. Not Alex Song for his rather cynical stamp, but instead Joey Barton.
We saw the red mist descend on Saturday evening. Barton was no longer in his comfort zone and it gave us a flashback to a bygone era where Joey blew his top far too often. That was no way to act on a football pitch. He knows it and has said so himself. Granted he felt suitably riled that a dirty foot on the back of his leg didn’t get noticed, which was only made worse when Gervinho went down in the box after
being shot by a mysterious sniper a challenge by Cheik Tiote, but he knows more than anyone that he has just opened up another can of worms for himself.
Ironically it’s not his on-field antics that could land him in trouble. That was dealt with there and then by the referee and as per the rules of the FA it means that there should be no comeback on that, although I wouldn’t put it past the footballing authorities to find a loophole somewhere to allow retrospective punishment. With Joey Barton they’ll find the time to fit the crime.
Anyway, as I said, it’s not his behaviour on the pitch that has pricked the ears of the FA. Instead it’s his outbursts on Twitter after the match yesterday. You know, the ones where he called Gervinho a cheat in the same breath as admitting that he went down far to easily after the Ivory Coast mans limp wristed slap, called Shearer a slaphead, and got accused of assault by Jack Wilshere. The normal stuff.
In fact it got that bad that Barton went on Radio 5Live to help clarify a few things. Here is what he had to say:
“I have to take back blatantly calling him a cheat but he was still looking for a penalty and thankfully the referee knew what he was up to. I have to take responsibility for my actions and I should not have gone over and lifted him by his shirt. That was not the correct thing to do.”
“We do push the boundaries but I felt disappointed by Gervinho trying to win a penalty. I am not a fool, I realise there is slight contact, but in my opinion he was seeking to gain an unfair advantage. Sometimes you react and I am not proud of the way I reacted.”
“I did go down easily but it is not OK to hit me because it’s me. I have been hit harder at school. It does not make what he did right or wrong but he raised his hand and the rules are you can’t do that. I have made a meal of it but I knew Song had stamped on me and I was slightly aggrieved by that because I am aware the spotlight is on me at certain times, because of my stupidity in the past and people don’t condone me easily.”
“In 20 years of the Premier League there has been an influx of diving, and I sound hypocritical because I am guilty of going down too easily but if I didn’t and I stayed on my feet, I could be making my own team suffer if the officials had not seen it.”
Meanwhile an FA spokesman has said that they will be “looking at everything that has gone on since Saturday night.”
For anyone else it’s just a cursory look. For Joey Barton though it will be the full cavity search I fear. The witch-hunt continues and it seems that people won’t stop until they’ve nailed Barton to a cross for some transgression or another.
I wouldn’t put it past the FA doling out some form of punishment to Barton. Would you?