Archive for August 2nd, 2008

August 2nd, 2008

Rehabilitation

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

I meant to mention this a few days ago, but no matter.

Longer-time readers will know of my dislike of football & the modern day ‘ethos’ which seems to surround the game. I see this week that Wayne Rooney has been interviewed on suspicion of spitting at a photographer outside a restaurant in London. I don’t know about any of you lot but I’ve been spat at a few times over the years. It’s absolutely disgusting & I think I’d rather someone throw a punch at me than spit at me. Anyway, this entry isn’t about this overpaid little yob.

It’s about another overpaid yob, one Joey Barton.

Barton was released from prison on Tuesday having served (just) 74 days of a six-month sentence. He’s on a tag & must do 200 hours community service as a condition of his early release. He also got a four-month prison sentence for assaulting a colleague during a training session. Sadly, that sentence was suspended for two years. These are the last two violent events in Barton’s career.

Barton is on about £65,000 a week as a Newcastle United football player. The team’s manager, Kevin Keegan is welcoming Barton with open arms, back into the fold at Newcastle. He was heard on the radio this week saying he was willing to give Barton another chance.

What a fantastic opportunity for football to stand up & be counted. What a wonderful example it would have been to football fans everywhere & the wider community had Keegan stood up & said that there was no place for violence within the sport, that Newcastle would not condone anyone to do with the club being involved in such horrendous violence as that which Barton found so acceptable once he’d necked a few beers. How refreshing it would have been had Keegan announced that nobody who exhibited the kind of behaviour like Barton’s would be welcome within the confines of Newcastle’s stadium.

The truth is that Newcastle don’t want to lose out on their precious £5.8 million investment in the player. They could sack Barton for gross misconduct but if they were to do so they would lose all financial interest in Barton & any other club would be free to sign him at no cost. Of course, if the FA backed up this action & banned the player from the sport this would negate that possibility but Newcastle would still be out of pocket. And Barton can probably help Newcastle win games, which is far more important than the morality of the dilemma.

It’s ironic that a fan can shout out some socially unacceptable insults on the terraces & receive a life ban from the club, but a player can receive 2 prison sentences for violence & walk back into a £65,000 a week job.

The only glimmer of hope is that the FA appear ready to take disciplinary action over the incident for which Barton received his second prison sentence (suspended) for his attack on Manchester City team member Ousmane Dabo. He could be fined two weeks wages (big deal) & be banned for several matches.