How Many More Apologies Does Barton Have Left?

by Tony Alvarez

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

By Laurie Fitzgerald

“I would like to apologise to Chris Hughton, my team-mates, our fans and of course to Morten Gamst Pedersen and Blackburn.”

This was Joey Barton’s (latest) public apology for another incident which focused on the darker side of the midfielder’s game.

What makes this latest incident so disappointing is that so far this season, we have been focusing on his football. His recent performances for Newcastle United have been, to put it simply, excellent.

Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan have been getting the bulk of the praise for the Magpies’ excellent start on their return to the Premier League, but it’s been the work-rate, the delivery and the enthusiasm of Barton that has given Chris Hughton’s side a cutting edge in the opening months of the campaign.

But that enthusiasm spilled over on Wednesday night with an unprovoked attack on Morten Gamst Pedersen. When the Blackburn winger brushed past Barton, the former Man City star launched a punch into the chest of the Norwegian. He tried to explain to a bemused Pedersen after that it was just a slap, but his pounding chest knew otherwise.

As did the FA, who gave Barton a three-match ban for violent conduct the following day, a charge which the 28 year-old has accepted.

Let me make this clear. I have nothing against Joey Barton, and people are capable of moments of madness and therefore forgiveness is a welcome quality for others to have. But it isn’t a quality that should be abused.

Barton is running out of apologies. Jamie Tandy, whose eye felt the full force of Barton’s cigar at a Christmas Party. Ousmane Dabo, who he attacked at Manchester City’s training ground. The teenager who he attacked on a night out in Liverpool.

There are only so many times people can hear the same apology. Only so many times people can forgive.

Barton, in his statement of apology in the Daily Mail, then went on to say, “I’m not a changed man because it’s who I am. It’s something inside me, a natural instinct that makes me stand and fight. I just continue to work at it.”

If Joey Barton doesn’t work harder at controlling his anger, he will find that people will be less willing to let him work at it anymore.

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