A Canadian View On Barton v Ashley

30 August 2011 11:37
Cathal Kelly is a Canadian sports reporter, and he came up with an interesting twist an the Joey Barton v Mike Ashley saga. It's well worth a read. Cathal Kelly - is a reporter for the Canadian newspaper "The Star" Most of the current problems of European soccer have now been aggregated into the person of Joey Barton. Barton, as you may have heard, is a noxious twerp pouting his way down the rungs of football and getting wealthier with each fall. This weekend, he was pushed out the door at Newcastle and signed a new four-year deal with Queens Park Rangers. It’s difficult to distinguish yourself for thuggishness in the world of athletics, but Barton is a rare and fragile flower in that regard. He once stubbed a cigar out in a teammate’s eye at a Christmas party. He detached the retina of another teammate during a training ground fight. It isn’t just the sight of athletic jerseys that drives him to violence — he served a couple of months in jail after beating a teenager senseless outside a McDonald’s in Liverpool. Barton is a demonstrably bad person and a very good football player. In any other realm of professional life, this would lead to shunning and poverty. But he’s an athlete and a commodity and therefore exists in some ethereal place where common sense can get no purchase on reality. Barton wore out his welcome at Newcastle after he took to Twitter — the perfect vehicle for all sorts of reputational suicide — and complained repeatedly about the club’s hierarchy. He was, of course, really complaining that that hierarchy wasn’t willing to improve his contract. In an unusual show of spine that suggests exactly how awful it is to spend time around Joey Barton, Newcastle told him to leave immediately on a free transfer. Barton dragged his heels, apparently hoping that a much bigger and handsomer club would pay him more to provide them with free kicks and headaches. QPR was the only suitor. Mind-bogglingly, they offered him a raise of about $1 million a year. Barton wasn’t satisfied. “Need some thinking time and space …” he posted on Twitter, because we would all need to reflect deeply upon being offered 25-odd million samolians for kicking a ball. Eventually convinced that no one else was interested, Barton took the money. He watched his new team get thrashed from the stands on Saturday. The only justice in this is that Barton has attached himself to a squad that has little hope of remaining in the Premiership. By this time next year, he will be a financial anchor around the club’s neck and doubtless complaining about the embarrassment of playing in Championship. Bookmark his Twitter feed now for the looming meltdown. Many clubs are no longer spending — they are simply gambling with money they don’t have. Right now a few reckless billionaires are propping up the system. QPR, once a modest outfit, has become one of those odd playthings of the superrich. After passing through the hands of Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, it has landed with Asian aviation entrepreneur and sports enthusiast Tony Fernandes. Fernandes only bought a majority in QPR after he was rebuffed in attempts to buy his boyhood crush, West Ham. This isn’t business. It’s human roulette. Barton is just another chip on the board.