Tag Archives: thinker

Joey Barton on Twitter

How will football cope without the spiteful rants of this humourless, angry little man

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UPDATED:

21:35 GMT, 26 March 2012

Some joyous news from Queens Park Rangers this week, amid the gloom of a relegation battle.

After being booed off by his own fans before his team-mates staged a remarkable comeback against Liverpool, then dropped for the 3-1 defeat by Sunderland on Saturday, Joey Barton has decided to take a ‘little Twitter sabbatical’.

The midfielder tells us he is anxious to avoid saying something he’ll ‘end up regretting’. Presumably he didn’t intend this to be a joke, but it is very funny. After 4,598 tweets it’s a bit late for that, Joseph.

Shouting his mouth off: Joey Barton has earned a reputation for making his voice heard on Twitter

Shouting his mouth off: Joey Barton has earned a reputation for making his voice heard on Twitter

We shall miss him, of course. We will pine for the incessant, sanctimonious musings of Twitter’s self-appointed sage. As Lent draws to a close, it is we who will be cast out into the wilderness without football’s unofficial spokesman and resident philosopher to show us the light.

Will the game be able to cope without born-again Barton taking a sip from his cappuccino and casting judgment on the burning issues of the day, trampling over those who disagree and basking in the unashamedly ego-stroking nonsense of it all We may not function properly without our all-seeing overlord.

In his attack on the media, published in The Times this year, a comically oblivious Barton wrote: ‘This is the medium of Generation Y, the kids today that will become tomorrow’s leaders. These are my people… I want to be one of them.’

It was a statement of such misguided arrogance it would have been amusing if it wasn’t so scary. Joey Barton, a convicted thug, the spokesman for my generation What a depressing thought. This is a man who wants desperately to be a football thinker, a voice of authority who speaks and people listen. But, instead of replicating the enigmatic brilliance of Eric Cantona, another footballer with a violent past, he is often just Vinnie Jones with Wi-Fi.

Benched: Barton has struggled for form in recent weeks and was booed by QPR fans against Liverpool

Benched: Barton has struggled for form in recent weeks and was booed by QPR fans against Liverpool

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Joey Barton Twitter

Barton has tried hard, too hard, to shed the skin of the man who stabbed a lit cigar into a team-mate’s face at a Christmas party, served 74 days in Manchester’s Strangeways prison for assault and left another team-mate unconscious after a training-ground attack. The fact we still give his opinions credence is itself remarkable, but also a testament to his intelligence, determination and sheer gall. But, even today, it still takes more than a username, a password and a BlackBerry to change the world — and the world’s perception of you.

He wrote in The Times: ‘Last year I realised no journalist was going to tell my tale truthfully. So I’m doing it myself. Anything I said, anything I did, was given an angle to fit in with the bad-boy image.

‘They projected someone who was not the real me: it was the “me” that the press wanted to project. People are now beginning to see the man I am.’

Are we, though Is anyone capable of reflecting the ‘real me’ in 140 characters It is doubtful. The ‘virtual’ Barton is a different beast to the one described by those who know him well.

‘Generous’, ‘thoughtful’ and ‘good fun’ were just some of the words associated with a man capable of committing little acts of kindness — a round of golf here, a bottle of champagne there — without ego or ceremony. This is so far removed from the angry, humourless little man behind @Joey7Barton that it was hard to imagine we were talking about the same person.

Yet he is a Premier League footballer
who contributes a column to The Big Issue and a Liverpool-born athlete
who has used his 1.3million Twitter followers to campaign passionately
for justice for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster. He is the
capitalist with a conscience: the man who swapped a 170,000 Aston
Martin DBS for a Toyota Prius, a moped and an Oyster card, allowing him
to travel on London’s Underground network concealed by a pair of Harry
Potter glasses and a hat. He wears a 6 plastic watch instead of
500,000 of designer bling.

In action: Barton was named QPR captain after his move from Newcastle last summer

In action: Barton was named QPR captain after his move from Newcastle last summer

But, just as the newspaper interviews to which Barton now seems to object reflected journalists’ interpretations of the man, his Tweets project their own self-portrait.

He may decry the ‘bad-boy image’ he considers a media fabrication, but he repeatedly enhances that negative persona. If you do not like what you read in the papers it will always be somebody else’s fault, but you have no excuse if you actively celebrate the fact it is you, unfiltered, behind the Twitter avatar.

The result is certainly not pleasant. Barton comes across as a mean, dislikeable individual; the classic playground bully who revels in snide ripostes and stamping on those with a lower profile — simply because he can.

His tweets come like bullets, one after the other. He doesn’t interact; he just spews vitriol on the screen whenever he feels like it. ‘He tweets when he wants,’ sang the QPR fans. Don’t we just know it.

Barton’s behaviour was particularly
despicable when he insulted Neil Warnock earlier this year. The former
QPR boss said owner Tony Fernandes had been ‘slowly poisoned from
outside the club and no doubt from within the club as well’. Barton
responded by telling Warnock to ‘shut it’, calling him ‘embarrassing’
and comparing him to Mike Bassett, a fictional football manager and a
figure of fun.

Joey Barton

Joey Barton

Court dates: Barton was in trouble with the law during his spells with Manchester City and Newcastle

‘If I talked about Neil, he’d do well to get another job,’ added the player Warnock made captain of QPR after Newcastle United were so desperate to get rid of him they let him leave for free.

It was unprofessional and smacked of ingratitude, but it was typical of the way Barton responds to those who hit back. He simply dismisses them with utter contempt.

‘I don’t want or need ur advice, praise, negativity…or any other thing that u offer,’ he wrote. ‘U will never effect me. I am far to driven for u.’ Barton isn’t interested in dialogue. Monologues will do nicely, thank you very much.

‘Spineless maggots’ was the phrase he used to describe two journalists who dared to criticise him. ‘Numpty’ was another example. The fans who have paid good money to watch a string of average performances at Loftus Road from QPR’s No 17 this season are ‘bells’ and ‘trolls’.

As Barton himself has noted, form is temporary but class — or lack of it — is permanent. For all his highfalutin talk about freedom of speech and his undoubted intelligence, his responses are consistently shallow and insulting.

The anonymity of a Twitter account
encourages people to pour bile on you, unacceptably so, but ignore them
or argue coherently — do not retreat into a shell of abuse. We had just
begun to hope you might be better than that.

Never far from trouble: Barton (right) has hit the headlines both on and off the field this season

Never far from trouble: Barton (right) has hit the headlines both on and off the field this season

What do most other players think of his constant vitriol ‘I thought you journos liked honesty’ was one footballer’s response. The question jarred because, of course, we do. There is nothing more disconcerting than being presented with a series of prettily arranged clichs tied up in a ribbon of disinterest at 5pm on a Saturday.

The footballer was right — in theory, we should celebrate Barton’s decision to wax lyrical about whatever takes his fancy. In the increasingly sanitised world of top-flight football, it should be a refreshing and welcome injection of personality.

But it is not. His depressing diatribes came so thick and fast they rendered themselves almost irrelevant. It was just all too much; a bitter stream of consciousness laced with spite.

The direct channel Twitter gives Barton to talk to the outside world makes it a dangerous tool for him. QPR manager Mark Hughes has deep concerns about the midfielder’s incessant tweeting and rightly so: a description that came up frequently when talking to those close to Barton was ‘impetuous’; another was ‘instinctive’.

‘He does things without thinking,’ proved a common theme. @Joey7Barton will be back, all right. He won’t be able to resist it.

‘Some guys like a game of golf, some play snooker, Joey seems to Twitter all day,’ said Hughes.

Now, can somebody please pass him a seven iron

Frank Lampard: Andre Villas-Boas was too concerned with Chelsea"s future and not the present

AVB was too concerned with Chelsea's future and not the present, says Lampard

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UPDATED:

03:38 GMT, 18 March 2012

Frank Lampard believes Andre Villas-Boas spent too much time focusing on the future of Chelsea and lost sight of the present.

Villas-Boas was sacked earlier this month following a run of poor results, and his fractious relationship with some of his senior players was one of the factors behind his downfall.

As one of the older players who lost his automatic first-team place as Villas-Boas looked to refresh the side, Lampard openly admitted his relationship with the Portuguese was difficult.

Oldies but goodies: Lampard hails Chelsea's stunning comeback against Napoli with John Terry

Oldies but goodies: Lampard hails Chelsea's stunning comeback against Napoli with John Terry

And the 33-year-old told the Sun on Sunday: 'His plan was long-term. But somewhere in the middle of that, the present didn't go so well – and that's where the problems came.

'To be fair to AVB, that was part of the remit and I get that we need to move on and change. But you can't lose sight of the present.'

Lampard and Ashley Cole were left out of the side for the first leg of their Champions League tie against Napoli, which they lost 3-1 in Italy.

Lampard admitted he had told Villas-Boas what he thought of that decision, adding: 'I wasn't disrespectful. I just told him I thought I should be playing.'

Forward thinker: Andre Villas-Boas

Forward thinker: Andre Villas-Boas

He added: 'I told him what I felt and he had no problem with me saying it. I wasn't making a stand. The fact we might not have seen eye to eye was irrelevant to me.'

Lampard also revealed he had send a text to Villas-Boas after his departure and received a reply.

'He thanked me for being a top professional, which I appreciated,' Lampard said. 'A lot of people think the players didn't play for him or respond. We did but it just didn't work out.'

AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2012: Tim Henman advised Ivan Lendl on new role with Andy Murray

EXCLUSIVE: How Henman advised Lendl on new role with Murray

Ivan Lendl's appointment was a long time in the making and dates back to a meeting he had with Tim Henman in Zurich during a Seniors event last March.

With the 51-year-old Czech starting to play again and opening an academy in Florida, he made it known to the former British No 1 that he might be interested in taking up the right coaching appointment, despite a lack of experience in the field.

Waiting in the wings: Lendl was approached by the Murray camp in December

Waiting in the wings: Lendl was approached by the Murray camp in December

Eyes on the prize: Murray is bidding to end his grand slam drought

Eyes on the prize: Murray is bidding to end his grand slam drought

'We were sitting in the players' lounge and the subject of Andy came up,' said Henman.

'He was keen on the idea and I always thought he would be an excellent choice if Andy decided a bigger name was the way he wanted to go.'

Good move: Henman believes Murray and Lendl have a promising relationship

Good move: Henman believes Murray and Lendl have a promising relationship

Henman stopped short of making his opinion known to Murray, however.

'Having been in his position I would never ring him to offer advice because I know you don't want too many voices in your ear. I did make my view known to Ivan.'

Lendl made it known he would be
interested through a third party that month, but it was not until
December that the Murray camp made their move.

Henman believes it matters little that the former world No 1 has so little coaching pedigree.

'He
is such a great thinker about the game, pays such attention to detail
and is so knowledgeable, and I think he is the kind of guy Andy will
respond to. I also think he will help in relieving pressure, he is
someone else for the attention to be focused on.

'The
biggest area for me is how Andy deals with adversity and that is
something I am sure Ivan can help him with. Andy is capable of beating
them all but the crunch time comes when he is not playing that well.

'Dialogue between Andy and the box is not conducive to him playing his best and I'm sure that's something he will address.'

Roy Keane comment: This is one fight the former United captain can"t win

Roy Keane comment: This is one fight the former United captain can”t win

Roy Keane has become a first-rate TV pundit, his forthright comments mirroring the robust and straightforward nature of his play.

His presence in front of the TV cameras, though, still hints at melancholy simply because it’s a place one of the modern game’s truly great players never wanted to be.

When Keane was hustled unceremoniously out of the door at Old Trafford six years ago, we sincerely hoped he would remain central to our sport. So did he.

Outspoken: Roy Keane has become an excellent TV pundit, showing all the traits that made him such a powerful force in the Premier League

Outspoken: Roy Keane has become an excellent TV pundit, showing all the traits that made him such a powerful force in the Premier League

A leader of men and a thinker, Keane looked to be a manager-in-waiting. Football had more to learn from the former United captain. Or so we thought. To see him this season working for ITV is testimony to his failure as a coach and that in itself is very sad.

Keane – more self-aware than many would believe – would perhaps be the first to admit it. He once said he had no wish to be a TV analyst, hinting that he considered the job the last refuge of the desperate. What a shame that he is now part of football”s sideshow. Keane deserves better than a place on the
fringes.

Better together: Ferguson and Keane enjoyed unrivalled success at United

Better together: Ferguson and Keane enjoyed unrivalled success at United

He was – and still is – a man better suited to a place on centre stage. As a player he thrived on confrontation. Never one to back down, he now sneers at the ‘lapdogs’ who bring wine for Ferguson on match day. You can’t ever imagine Keane turning up at Old Trafford via Oddbins.

He claims this week that he identified more with Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough.

‘You can be a great manager, but also a good man,’ he said. That is a premeditated barb, trying to hurt Ferguson. It may or may not work. Whatever the case, he of all people should know that the greatest warriors should perhaps only pick fights they can win.