Joey Barton and a broken clock

Former defensive midfielder and still an offensive man, Joey Barton must feel at home in the presence of police officers.

By anyone’s criteria, the ball kicker has had a rather eventful life, with many criminal incidents he could chalk up in his list. In fact, when he was younger, Joey’s photo should have been in the encyclopaedia, illustrating the entry for ‘thug, n’.

In 2006, at the dawn of his career, Barton was investigated for exposing his buttocks to Everton supporters after a game. It went downhill from there. If Joey never quite matched the exploits of his brother, who did 17 years for murder, it wasn’t for any lack of trying.

In 2007 he was arrested for assaulting a taxi driver. That same year he beat up a teammate, who ended up in hospital with head injuries and a detached retina. Barton only got a suspended sentence and a fine for that, which proves that our courts are way too lenient.

Later that year, Joey beat a man within an inch of his life in Liverpool. That time he was sentenced to six months in prison and served 76 days.

In 2008 Barton jabbed a lit cigar into a teammate’s eye and was sued for his trouble. The case was settled out of court, with Joey ending up £65,000 poorer.

In 2012, Joey was arrested for a fight outside a nightclub. In 2019 he was investigated for assault. In 2021, he was actually charged with assault for kicking Mrs Barton, his childhood sweetheart, in the head. She later refused to testify against her hubby-wubby, and the charges were dismissed.

Nor does Barton neglect non-criminal offences. Radio presenter Jeremy Vine is currently suing Joey for describing him as “a big bike nonce”. Jeremy is indeed known for preferring a bicycle to other forms of transportation, but not for being a child sex molester, which is what ‘nonce’ means in colloquial British usage. A libel case is pending.

However, even such an uninhibited life ill-prepared Joey Barton for his current ordeal. Receiving four visits from Cheshire police in three days must have taken even Joey out of his comfort zone. What takes me out of mine is the reason for these encounters.

This time around Joey, now a cracker-barrel philosopher with 2.8 million X followers, didn’t follow his customary tendency of putting people into hospital. His crime was much worse: he said a few disrespectful things about female football players and commentators.

The latter, he said, shouldn’t be “speaking with authority about the men’s game”. Those who do, he added, kill football fans at the rate made notorious by serial killers Fred and Rosemary West.

Barton later clarified his meaning. He didn’t mean that pundit Eni Aluko and broadcaster Lucy Ward murder people physically. They merely kill fans’ love of the game with their inane, unenlightening remarks. And oh, by the way, he, Joey, would score 100 out of 100 penalties against England goalkeeper Mary Earps.

That’s where a broken clock comes in. As we know, even such a timepiece tells the right time twice a day. And even an illiterate thug like Joey Barton can sometimes be right.

As he is in his disdainful assessment of women’s football and the punditry offered by its veterans. Joey was a good player who plied his trade in some of the best premiership teams. He can thus offer insights into the game that he knows are beyond women players, who don’t merely play the game to a different standard – they play a different game.

I played football for my university and I’m still man enough to admit that professional male players like Joey Barton have forgotten more about the game than I ever knew. That’s why I’m always interested to find out what former pros think. I find their commentary enlightening, especially if they’ve taken the trouble to learn their new trade properly.

Former women players, on the other hand, tell me nothing I don’t know already. But that’s not the point. It’s not that women now commentate on men’s games, or how. It’s why.

Their new employment opportunities come from the same emetic wokery that’s observable in other sports as well – indeed in every walk of life. For example, former women boxers now even do commentary at professional men’s fights, and as to tennis – don’t get me started on that.

When Serena Williams, probably the best female player of all time, was asked a few years ago whether she could beat Andy Murray, she laughed. “I’m not going to play Andy. He’d beat me love and love in 15 minutes. It’s a totally different game.” Yes, it is. It’s only the prize money that’s the same.

Presence in commentary booths is nowadays also shared equally, much to the chagrin of the viewers. Most men watching tennis play the game themselves, some to a high standard. They’d rather listen to, say, Tim Henman talking about a kick serve than to Jo, who even in her heyday couldn’t even kick a cat.

Following the success of their racquet-wielding sisters, some feminists are now demanding that women footballers also be paid the millions earned by their male colleagues. So far they haven’t got anywhere because footballers are paid by their clubs, not by tournament organisers.

And club owners can’t be bullied as easily. They aren’t going to pay man-sized salaries to women who play to empty stadiums and a fraction of the men’s TV audiences. Not yet at any rate.

Such minor considerations don’t deter the media though. They’ve been pushing women’s football down our throats for several years now, and they don’t mind the gagging reflux.

Even five years ago, women’s football barely rated a column inch in the bottom right corner of the last sports page. Now they command pages and spreads. And women don’t just present football shows, but also do expert commentary, which makes my finger reach for the ‘mute’ button.

Since I don’t have 2.8 million followers, I’m unlikely to receive police visits for saying all this. Joey Barton, on the other hand, is something else again. Considering his previous, he may go down for a long stretch because he got something right for once in his life.

No one spits into the wind of ideology without ending up with spittle on his face. Ideology is a hurricane that’s gathering momentum as it blows inland. Watch your step, Joey.

1 thought on “Joey Barton and a broken clock”

  1. Thank you for this. I hate the practice of shoving female commentators down our throats. My youngest son has a new-found interest in watching hockey since he started playing April 2023. We have been watching games and highlights all season. Most sports networks include women on the broadcast team, but usually just for hosting shows (of male commentators) or post-game interviews. Well, with the start of the playoffs, coverage has switched to ESPN, which I have not watched in at least 15 years. They used to excel in their coverage of sports, but years ago they decided their remit was no longer sports reporting but social justice. After watching countless games this season with a male play-by-play announcer and a former NHL player as color commentator, we are forced to endure a no-name, neophyte play-by-play man and a female color commentator. Spare me. Perhaps my favorite of her comments on this first game of the playoffs: “The nerves were nervousness.” Indeed? Thank you for your insight.

    As for the equal pay for nonequal play, I have seen too many rants. Such discussions usually include a man who will calmly explain that pay is based on revenue: if the female panel members want the women to be paid more they should watch the games. None do. But the logic escapes them and they usually just resort to screaming – the rhetorical skill of the 21st century.

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