Friday Football Feature: QPR’s Joey Barton attacks Neil Warnock in Twitter tirade


Barton unleashed a verbal outburst upon his former manager on Twitter last week.


By Jamie Dickenson

Queen’s Park Rangers captain Joey Barton unleashed a verbal outburst upon his former manager Neil Warnock on Twitter last week.

The former Newcastle midfielder’s rant came in the aftermath of Warnock’s comments to the press stating his belief that some of his player’s usage of social media site Twitter contributed to his sacking at Loftus Road.

Barton compared the 63-year-old boss to managerial comedy figure Mike Basset tweeting: “Neil Warnock saying I talk too much. Now that is funny #mikebasset.”

The Liverpool born player went on to criticise the man who signed him on a free transfer last summer, saying: “If it talked about Neil, he’d do well to get another job. Twitter cost him his job???? I can think of a million other things! #shutitwarnock.”

Far from finished sticking the knife in his manager’s back, Barton added: “Looking forward to the game against Wigan tomo. 1st time in a while we actually have a plan and seem organised #3ptsneeded.”

“Lost his job and the guy is blaming everyone but himself! Embarrassing, time to look in the mirror mate. Last thing we need right now. Big week.”

Vocal QPR fans may have accepted the outspoken nature of Barton’s tweets, recently chanting “He’ll tweet what he wants” in the Scouser’s direction at home games, but some R’s followers are bound to be disappointed by the abuse their on-pitch leader has thrown at the orchestrator of their club’s Premier League return.

Barton likes to be the centre of attention, and Twitter certainly provides a platform for him to unload his often insightful, intelligent and interesting views to his over a million strong following, but on certain occasions his tweets leave you wondering whether he really does think before he types.

QPR’s recent form does not make for easy reading, with just a point picked up from their last six games under Warnock, as the pressure on the manager intensified as the team slowly slipped down the table towards the relegation places.

It is almost irrelevant when debating the severity of Barton’s verbal attack on Warnock whether the manager deserved to lose his job or not.

Many say that having achieved promotion for the club, he was entitled to a full season with the intention of keeping the side up.

However, others believe that his replacement Mark Hughes may well take the team onto the next level.

Either way, what is worth discussing is Barton’s active attempt to shift, or to be more precise, remove the blame from himself concerning Warnock being handed his P45.

A red card for supposedly head-butting Norwich’s Bradley Johnson, (which looked harsh in the replays) undoubtedly contributed to QPR slipping to a 2-1 home defeat against the Canaries in Warnock’s last league game in charge.

Barton’s dismissal highlighted a lack of discipline that has long afflicted the 29-year-old during his unarguably esteemed playing career, with the defeat acting as the trigger for chairman Tony Fernandes to push the fire button on his manager.

Barton may not have deserved to see red, but it was a risky game to play moving his head in the direction of an opponents, even if no genuine contact can be proved. This incident is perhaps a microcosm of the attitude of the man, whose rash actions often prove to be his failing.

Now there is no doubting the talent of the player, his energetic and committed performances put him right up their with some of the best box-to-box midfielders in the league.

It is just a shame that his mentality is likely to stop Barton ever fulfilling his intention of becoming an England regular, and perhaps making that move to one of the biggest clubs, widely rumoured last summer, but in reality quite far-fetched.

Barton himself insisted that clubs of the stature of Manchester United and Arsenal were queueing up for his signature after Newcastle bizarrely made one of their most influential players available on a Bosman transfer.

Or was it such a bizarre move? Perhaps tired of his outspoken and at times poisonous nature, the movers and shakers at the Geordie nation decided they had heard enough from the former Manchester City star.

It transpired that Man United and Arsenal weren’t serious in their supposed transfer interest in Barton, with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger strenuously denying any allegations of a potential move in the aftermath of the player’s fracas with Gervinho on the opening fixture of the season.

And there he is again, involved in drama. For a man not yet 30 to have served a prison sentence for common assault and affray, to have received a separate four months suspended sentence for another case of assault, and to have been deducted six weeks wages and coming close to being sacked from his job for stubbing a lit cigarette out in a fellow professional’s eye, does not indicate the actions of the holier than thou.

Love him or hate him, and many fans prop up either side of the fence in this regard, Joey Barton is a fantastic player that simply was born to fill column inches.

The most important issue that may haunt Barton after his career is done and dusted, as he ponders what could have been whilst his boots have been hung up for good, is what could this enigmatic talent from Huyton, Merseyside, have achieved with his playing days had he not courted controversy quite so frivolously?

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