Mark Warburton and the Sevco board met with Joey Barton this morning, and the result is, in part, exactly what this website predicted; they’ve not sacked the player. What makes it even more ridiculous is they won’t play him either for a while, because he’s been banned from the club for the next three weeks.
So, the lunacy continues.
Barton’s ego has been given room to run and the time necessary for his idle hands to do more devils work. Is it a coincidence that his ban from Ibrox will take in much of the time of his book launch? Is this anything other than a free holiday?
Neither party has made a comment on the matter, but Barton won’t sit in silence, you can believe that. This is the ultimate shambles, with neither club nor player satisfied with the outcome. It pushes the matter down the road a bit but it will overshadow everything that happens to them over that time, a timeframe which takes in a League Cup quarter final and two massive matches against Aberdeen and Hearts.
Sevco fans are furious at this.
Of course they are.
Their manager has shown incredible weakness here. Their failure to get a grip on Barton when he was mouthing off about our club and anything else that suited him was always going to lead to him thinking he could do or say whatever he liked. On top of that, the whole idea of a manager sending a player home because they had a disagreement shows Warburton’s need to appear strong, but which doesn’t suggest that he actually feels as if he is. Most managers can handle criticism, after all.
Yesterday on BT Sport, Chris Sutton said he thought the Sevco job was too big for Warburton and that he had shown weakness “on and off the park.” It’s hard to argue with this, although a few in the media and a lot of the Sevco support seems determined to try.
But today is exactly the sort of halfway house fudge that makes clubs into a laughing stock. You either get past a problem between a manager and a player by sorting it out with a sit-down where you lay out the terms of who runs the show or you cut bait, sack him and move on. Barton is highly paid. No club can have its top earner sitting at home clipping his toenails when there are important games going on. It is lunacy.
Barton won’t remain silent. Three weeks is too long for this guy to sit on his tongue. Before it’s finished he’ll be giving his version of events. Perhaps that’s what they want. As Joseph Heller says of one of his characters in Catch 22, “The case against (him) was open and shut. The only thing missing was something to charge him with.”
I have the feeling they’re setting Barton up here, but if so it’s a petty, pathetic way for the club to go about its business, and suggests the weakness and lack of a clue goes all the way up.
This is farcical. It’s exactly what we were hoping for!