Barton handed harsh ban by the FA
Joey Barton was given a 12-match ban by the FA for his involvement in a clash between himself, Carlos Tevez, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero on the final day of the Premier League season. It is the latest repercussion in a troubled career for Barton and some are even calling on his club, QPR, to sack him due to this lengthy ban and his unreliable nature.
Although I agree with a ban of some sort, the punishment dished out on this occasion is a bit harsh on Barton. It’s clear that Joey deserved his red card and once again the scenes that followed the red card were unsavoury, especially the way he kneed Aguero. In reality, he committed two red card offenses worthy of a four-game ban each, but the FA have used the fact that it was the last day of the season to justify such a lengthy punishment. The commission chairman, Maurice Armstrong said: “There are rules of conduct that should be adhered to, and such behaviour tarnishes the image of football in this country, particularly as this match was the pinnacle of the domestic season and watched by millions around the globe.” For me, the fact that it was the last game of the season and the pinnacle of our season is irrelevant and should never have been raised in the FA’s argument. It’s like giving someone a larger prison sentence for committing a crime during the summer as opposed to the winter; it’s silly.
The FA also let Tevez walk away free from punishment despite his involvement in the fracas. The Argentinian who is no stranger to controversy himself hit out at Barton first, provoking a reaction from the QPR man. The behaviour that followed was inexcusable, even if Aguero did crumble to the ground like a new born calf; Barton was out of order and let his side down on the day.
QPR now have a big decision to make regarding the future of their captain. If they decide to sack Barton then they are getting rid of a very good footballer and someone who can break up the play in the middle of the park whilst having the ability to pick out a good pass to spark a dangerous counter attack. If they do keep their skipper then situations like this are likely to arise again due to his history of getting into bother. Everywhere he has been, there has been an issue with his behaviour and he even served jail time during his period at Newcastle United. It is hard what to advise in a situation like this, but currently Joey Barton is too big a risk to take at any football club. So many times Barton has promised to improve his behaviour with a newly found maturity, but time and time again he has let his managers down after they were willing to take a chance on him.
Despite what will happen to Barton now, I am strongly against the way he conducted himself in the final game of the season, but the punishment handed out on this occasion is excessive. When you consider that Paolo Di Canio received an 11-game ban for pushing a referee and Suarez received an eight-game ban for racial abuse, it does highlight just how harsh the FA have been on Barton. Despite this, Joey was in the wrong and his career now hangs on by a thread as he cannot use the age excuse anymore; he is 29 now and needs to grow up fast or else we could be saying farewell to a wasted talent once and for all.