Rantlines: Joey Barton, Rolando Bianchi, Two Footed Challenges, and More

29 December 2007

First off as I've done plenty of lately, a quick updated about my old man. He's home now and doing alright would be the best way to do it. Right now he's having a good day where he can move about well about once every three days. One day he'll be alright, and the other just downright awful. However he is in very high spirits mostly because he's home and can eat proper food and watch his Matlock and Perry Mason on Hallmark Channel.

Three things have dominated the press over the last few days and tonight I intend to look at those in my own ranting style. Before I do that I would like to make a couple of announcements.
1: 'The Third Half Chat' has now been moved over to my blog page. To see it, click on the Matchday Chat tab on the main page, and on each matchday that I can remember (which should be every match day), I'll post a note up saying the chat is live and putting it on the main page.
2: My intention starting on January 1 is to wake up and post more of a daily rantline with a couple of big rants, and a couple of smaller one/two liners based on what's in the papers. Thursday night will hopefully be my weekend in preview where I give quick thoughts on the weekend's matches.
3: Depending on how my dad is doing, I intend after the first of the year to resume doing the full length match reviews I was doing. As always, I will let you know and as always, my intention is to review every game that is shown on TV.
4: Stay tuned soon for an announcement regarding The Third Half Show. I'm hoping within the next two weeks to be announcing details regarding this exciting venture.

With all that said, it's time to rant away.
So Joey Barton will be spending the new year in probably the safest places he can be...in the comfort of a jail cell. Joey Barton was arrested Thursday for assault and affray (thanks to dictionary.com for this one...'a public fight; a noisy quarrel; brawl'), and thanks to a judge who has sense, refused him bail and remanded him to custody. If you are to believe the story in the Independent, prior to Newcastle's 1-0 loss at the JJB Stadium, Allardyce and Barton had a falling out regarding Barton not being on the team sheet. Either way that is no excuse for his actions.
Joey Barton is the truest definition of a troubled player. Let's take a look at some of the trouble Barton has been in.
December 2004: Barton was fined six weeks wages after during a Christmas Party, stabbed Jamie Tandy's eye with a cigar.
Summer 2005: Joey Barton was sent home from a preseason tour of Thailand after assaulting a 15 year old Everton fan.
September 2006: Joey Barton was caught by TV cameras mooning Everton fans after a game at Goodison Park.
May 2007: Suspended by Manchester City after allegedly assaulting Ousmane Dabo during a training session. The attack was such that he was arrested and questioned by the Greater Manchester Police. He pleaded not guilty to that charge.
December 2007: Arrested and kept in jail on assault and affray charges.
Just my honest opinion, but Joey Barton needs to simply retire from the sport and spend plenty of time getting his head sorted. He is a man who is on the road to eventually spending the rest of his life in prison. What's even sadder is when he is played in his proper position, Barton can be a very effective hard nosed (boy is that not an ironic word to use in these circumstances) player who gets the job done. However despite being a decent footballer, his personal demons outweigh any benefit he has on a football pitch. Barton is one who does not realize the gift he has and players like that have no need to ever see the light of first team football on any level. Joey for your own good, retire and go get your head sorted... it would be much better for you to lead a normal life than to be the powder keg you are as a footballer.
This comes on the heels of what honestly is a very difficult period for anyone at Newcastle United, particularly Sam Allardyce. If Barton's arrest wasn't enough, the fact they only got one point off of Derby County in the league (and they were very lucky to get that one), and their loss to Wigan has Newcastle fans all demanding that Sam Allardyce be shown the ax. It hasn't been that long when fans were chanting during their disastrous loss at home to Portsmouth, and results like they have seen over this week (and they have Chelsea at Stamford Bridge today), a convincing loss at Chelsea could spell the end of Sam Allardyce at Newcastle and the great debate. That debate wouldn't have been a debate until today, but now Martin Jol has thrown his name into the hat. I read a line somewhere today and I wish I remembered where it was, but it was along the lines of when the money starts being thrown on someone to be sacked, it generally isn't long. I remember when Jol was sacked at Tottenham, a quote from Sky Sports Through the Night went something to the effect of the media making bets on Jol being sacked. My guess would be if Chelsea beat Newcastle by two or more goals, Sam Allardyce will be sacked by Monday afternoon.

Another story that has hit my nerve is the reports that Rolando Bianchi is ready to leave Manchester City. In an interview with La Gazetta dello Sport, he admitted that he wants to leave. Some quotes I want to take a look at...
Quote One: "I want to become a European top scorer. After the 18 goals I scored with (Serie A side) Reggina, I want to reach double figures in the Premier League too.
Then I'll pack my bags again and go in search of new adventures. I'd like to wear the shirt of Atletico Madrid and score 15 goals in the Primera Liga too." Look Rolando, you're only on four goals this season, good luck getting up to 10 this season. The fact you are already naming the next club you want to play for while still under contract is a joke. If I was Sven, you wouldn't see a first team match until next season, if at all. I would make you rot in the reserves until you learned that you play for the club you're at, not for the next club you want to play for.
Quote Two: "I have raised the white flag with English food. I don't like it". I honestly can't fault him for saying that, most cannot stand the English diet. Maybe Rolando Bianchi and Florent Malouda can start the 'I hate the English diet club'.
Quote Three: "In Italy the referee whistles as soon as a defender brushes against you. In the Premier League you don't get a free kick even if the defender runs you over with a tank." Give me a break here Bianchi. What did you expect when you came to England, to be treated like you were a piece of crystal? Did you think that football was that easy that whenever you get touched you drop to the ground thinking that a referee will give you an instant decision in your favor? Look mister you never had to agree to come to Manchester City, so shut up about the fact there is a little bit of physicality in this league. If you want to be a fairy, go back to Italy...the country that now leads the way in diving.

It is amazing to me. You would think that after a rash of two footed challenges, that people would not bother using the challenge anytime soon. Despite the fact that the referees are denying the fact they are clamping down on two footed challenges, there were two red cards shown for the nasty challenges on Boxing Day in the Premier League. Steve Coppell can cry all he wants to, but let's be honest about it, referees are finally applying the law regarding these tackles. What players need to understand is they were getting away with way too much and the only way referees could wake players up was to get strict (some could debate overly strict) and do their job sending players off. Maybe if some of these players realize that a three match ban isn't worth it, they will start playing by the rules.

Quick Rants
I'm amazed that it took injuries to Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard before Chelsea realized that they needed to strengthen their squad. However would that be conceding the fact their signings simply are not up to snuff? Granted Ballack and Shevchenko finally showed some promise against Aston Villa, however form shows that is a one off deal.
You may not like Sir Alex Ferguson, but you have to love the fact that he has laid down the law regarding his players partying and outright banned it. Well done sir, very well done!
Michael Ballack can say it all he wants, but the 'foul' that resulted in Zat Knight being sent off was a dive. How can you go down like that when there was next to no contact?
Chris Baird can be stunned all he wants, however the appointment of Roy Hodgson was a great one for Fulham. Hodgson is the type of manager who can pull a Coleman with this squad and keep them up. However I just don't see it happening.
Don't ask me why I like this column, but I always love the Independent's column from Neil Warnock simply titled 'What I've Learned This Week'.

Until I write again (hopefully soon), may the debate begin!

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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