Aaah Sevco. Another day, another club announcement.
This time it’s to say that Joey Barton has been banned from training for another week, as the club instigates some kind of “formal discipline procedure” against him, although they’ve not said for what. Their terse, short, statement finished with “Neither party (the Club and player) will make any further statement or comment”, which seems to be their way of telling him to keep his mouth shut.
I wonder if it’ll be effective.
This really is a circus now, the kind of saga that only needs a handout of free popcorn to make it complete.
This guy is still drawing his wages, he’s still on their books, and their decision today effectively means he’s missed a month of training for telling the manager he got it wrong. Warburton has clearly lost the place here. The club has taken leave of its senses.
The player is the highest paid at the club. He was brought in as the “blue chip signing.” Yes, he’s been piss-poor but so have others and the manager has pleaded for “time” to let them “bed in” as though that’s a valid excuse. Players at Celtic haven’t needed to.
It’s as if everyone at Sevco has chucked it over this guy, as if they’ve decided he’s not worth the hassle, which is fine if you can cut him loose with no costs. When you consider the utter impossibility of doing so here you have to wonder what the endgame is, and if people over there are really playing with a full deck.
For starters, they are creeping towards handing him iron-clad reasons for claiming constructive dismissal. Current estimates suggest that a legal action would result in a pay-off reaching towards £2 million. Do they have that kind of money? Of course not.
This is the guy their fans were excited about, in spite of warnings from Celtic sites like this one, who’s writers didn’t do much more than check out his Twitter feed and career history … a little like scouting, except with no free match tickets. It was easy too, but apparently not enough for the Scottish media to get a grip on.
Now this guy, allegedly one of their top players, has been hamstrung by the club itself and has next to no chance of playing against us in the cup semi-final a fortnight hence. Most of their fans are pretty happy about that, and the media is almost united in its ecstasy, but this is stupidity writ large.
Questions arise over the judgement of the manager at every juncture of this thing, but here most of all.
Who is really making decisions at Ibrox?
Did the manager want the player in the first place, or was he the only one who did?
Is he strong enough to allow criticism or is he so weak that he has to over-react just to look as if he has authority?
Whatever the truth, Barton will not play against us at Hampden and some question whether he’ll ever pull on a Sevco shirt again. Their most expensive player. Their star signing. The guy they sold season tickets on the back of. Who might spend the next two years drawing a salary without playing a single match.
You literally could not make this up. It’s insane.