Joey Barton Thinks Having An Identity Crisis Is Better Than A Midlife One

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Joey Barton really is the darling of the media, right?

They hang on this tosser’s every single word. Are there no other footballers out there who can speak in complete sentences? Because that appears to be what they like about him; he can talk without sounding like a guy who’s IQ has plateaued like Sevco’s share price. Think John Brown and you’ll understand what I mean.

Apart from that and the simple fact he’s mastered Twitter … I just don’t get it.

You know who he reminds me of? It was doing my nut in until yesterday but now I’ve got it. He reminds me of Kevin Bridges take on John Terry; he’s the kind of guy who if he hadn’t been a football player he would’ve been handing out free shots outside a pub.

I’ve included the segment below just in case you haven’t seen it yet.

Today he’s been on TalkSport mouthing off about all things Celtic and Brendan Rodgers in particular. Normally this wouldn’t even blip on my radar; there are a few presenters on that show who really don’t like us much and who I’ve slaughtered a few times over on Fields. So I don’t listen to most of it, and I certainly wouldn’t have listened to this clown.

But a friend of mine told me I should today, and in between shaking my head and laughing at the utter bone stupidity of everyone concerned I realised that his Rodgers comments, and a few of the others, were worth a little bit of my time this morning.

He accused Brendan Rodgers of having “a mid-life crisis”.

It has nothing to do with Brendan being at Celtic, it was just one of his crass, ridiculous, neddish observations, the kind that most people would simply not bother to share with anyone else. He seems to want to share every thought in his head with the rest of the world, like Jamie Foreman’s racist taxi driver in The Football Factory.

When asked if he’d met our manager in Glasgow he said “I’ve not managed to run into him yet. The places he goes and the places I go probably differ, y’know, with the tan and the teeth and all that. They’re not the kind of establishments I rock up at, I’m not having a mid-life crisis.”

For starters, who uses that kind of phraseology?

“The kind of establishments I rock up at”?

Eah? Who’s he trying to be here? Does he know he sounds like a right twat?

Which isn’t to say that I don’t get his point, somewhat. When you consider the places Barton probably feels most at home – grubby, backstreet boozers full of slobbering sycophants and boot boys – I do doubt he’s going to run into our cultured, intelligent manager there. The difference is, Barton thinks he’s complimenting himself with that observation, which tells you just how thick and narrowly focussed he actually is.

But you know, nothing Barton says is particularly original. There’s a writer for The Guardian who used the same lines – almost word for word – some years back, when our manager left Swansea. I don’t mind Barton cribbing the odd line – I did it myself with the John Terry reference, see? – I do mind him being so phenomenally unable to recognise his own flaws, whilst he points out those of the rest of the world.

You’ve seen that type before, right?

They don’t do well in Glasgow, and neither will this idiot.

The wrong word to the wrong person in the wrong place … you know how the story ends.

If Brendan is having a midlife crisis, he doesn’t appear to be doing too badly as a consequence. Right now, for openers, he’s seeing a woman many years his junior and is probably the highest paid person in the history of the Scottish game. I hope I have a similar mid-life crisis.

I think having an identity crisis is much, much worse.

Here, after all, is the former Irish Republican sympathiser who listed, as one of his career ambitions, to play at Celtic Park in the Hoops. I don’t mind that he plays for the Ghost of Rangers instead; how many times in our own history have we seen players cross the divide? Kenny Miller has done it in both directions and never once have I heard him talking crap about it. When he was at Celtic Park he never once dissed Rangers. Now he’s at Ibrox I’ve never once heard him diss Celtic. Miller is a class act. He never apologised or tried to explain – far less to deny – that he enjoyed his life at both clubs. He’s not alone in having made that journey.

This is what adults do. Fully formed human beings.

Not self absorbed, image obsessed clowns.

Barton didn’t just join Sevco; he tried to deny he’d ever held the views that are up there for everyone to see. He didn’t just sign on the dotted line for the club; he waded right into the deep end of the cesspit, with all his WATP pish before the ink was even dry.

Before too long I fully expect to see him embrace the disgrace in full.

The game over in Linfield could once have been a case in point, the one they’re heading to before they play us, as if someone thought they needed a wee jolt of “culture” before that match; they’re in for a hell of a shock. Linfield’s board, in an act of astonishing courage, recently decided that their historical baggage should be jettisoned entirely. They want to become a community club, for more than just their limited and dying community.

Barton has joined a doomed enterprise at the time when everything surrounding it and which sustains it is withering away to nothing. Once upon a time he’d have danced on its grave like many of us will. Instead he’ll be tending it, and putting down flowers, convinced he’s found “his peepil” and as I argued some months ago, I think he probably has.

This is where Barton’s been headed for years, having completely missed every point of reform, of civilisation, of reigning himself in. He’s finally at a place where he’ll be loved for those excesses and explosions and not in spite of them.

He was awarded the man of the match award in his first league game, and the BBC thought to do a minute by minute summary of his performance. I watched it and didn’t see it at all. I’ve yet to see what they did with Scott Sinclair’s first 90 minutes at Parkhead; an altogether greater exercise in the art of football.  I guess I’ll never know.

In his other games Barton has been anonymous. How great it must be for Sevco fans to see this guy touring the studios and newspaper offices, enhancing “the brand” whilst they pay him vast sums of money for playing in the SPL.

Scott Sinclair wasn’t bought for that stage. Brendan Rodgers wasn’t appointed for it. Barton has played ten European matches in the whole of his career; I expect that number to stay right where it is. He’ll never add to them again.

His identity crisis will end as they all do; he’ll settle into a routine and subsume every negative that goes with his choice.

As I said, he’s in the right place for it.

His club has been suffering an even more profound one since it was born, and the consequences of that are coming.

In Brendan We Trust.

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