Wednesday, July 1, 2009

UF Footy Felons Top Trumps: Joey Barton

So we started this series last summer, full of excitement to do so, and proceeded to manage just one before the whole thing fell apart. Some sort of Norwichomon-esque breakdown by yours truly was mostly to blame.

But, we're back, and eager to kickstart it to help pass the offseason. Because if we don't, we might resort to murder in the 1st degree upon hearing fresh Xabi Alonso transfer conjecture.

If you've never played Top Trumps before, check out the original post and this handy link.

Once you're up to speed, hit the jump for our next character in the series. Collect 'em all and have yourselves a good old time!

JOEY BARTON, Midfield (Manchester City, Newcastle United)
When you think of miscreants in soccer, those whose tremendous ability to destroy usurps their ability to create, your mind invariably settles on Joey Barton, the midfielder who just can't keep himself out of trouble.

At only 26, there's still plenty of time for him to atone for the massive resume of transgressions and foul play, but we all know which direction he'll continue to head.

Forget the fact that when bothered, he can actually play a decent central midfield, reducing any opponent's No. 10 to a quivering pile of fear and self-doubt. It's all about what he does away from the 90 minutes on a weekend (although there are plenty of red cards to be discussed there, if we're honest).

There's the injuring of teammate Ousmane Dabo in training, an act so vicious that the FA actually stepped in to issue charges of violent conduct. There's the Citeh christmas party back in 2004, where his joviality extended to his cigar ending up in the eye of a reserve team player, resulting in permanent scarring.

Or how about the prison sentence for beating the stuffing out of a teenager outside a Liverpool McDonald's?

Or the time he assaulted a 15-year-old Everton fan during a preseason tour to Thailand?

Or his hit-and-run that left a pedestrian with a broken leg?

Essentially, Barton is a man without a nation, a hard man without a haven to protect him. Vinnie Jones could always count on the equally imbalanced charm of the entire Wimbledon squad to deflect too much negative press, while thugs from the 60s and 70s like Batista or Claudio Gentile had the fortune of playing the game in an era where a swift kick to the nuts was allowed, and in some ways quietly encouraged.

After all, if we've learned anything from the rat race mentality, it's that sometimes, you need to use foul means to level the playing field and keep the superstars in check.

Now, in the increasingly sterile modern soccer world, in which physical contact and intent have been regulated and agonized over to such a degree that an ankle tap can get you a red card if done from behind, Joey Barton is all alone, the pariah with the bad attitude and even worse timing, and it's not undeserved in the slightest.


Nathaniel said...

Next up in the series?

You guessed it....Frank Stallone.

Mike Georger said...

Ah Joey Barton, even though he's the dirtiest player in the league the media sides with him when he hurts Alonso's ankle, gotta love him!

Wait no, fuck him, in the face.