The man was handed a 12 match suspension for attacking 3 players on the final day of the 2011-12 English Premier League season and now QPR are trying their best to reduce the penalty by around 3 weeks. How can they do this you ask? By sending Mr Barton out on loan to a lower division team of course.
Having been left out of the QPR squad currently touring Asia, Joey Barton has just commenced preseason training with League Two side Fleetwood Town and there is talk QPR are considering making the move an extended one. Possible cup ties aside, QPR wont play their 12th fixture until the 17th of November, Fleetwood on the other hand will complete their 12th fixture towards the end of October. Meaning that if Barton is allowed to move to Fleetwood town, he could potentially be back in the Premier League 3 matches early.
At this stage the main issue is the IF. QPR must apply to the FA to allow Barton to move clubs, but the FA may reject the application is they feel it is an abuse of process – basically they need to prove exceptional circumstances, cue the Barton PR team hitting overdrive.
Recently there have been a number of articles about Barton falling out of love with football: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2178364/Joey-Barton-hopes-Fleetwood-training-help-fall-love-football.html, following on from a post on his new website www.joeybarton.com –
“I want to re-ignite that passion for the game, something that I ordinarily have an abundance of. No monetary bullshit. No media bollocks (though apparently there still is!). No prima donnas. Just pure, old school, mortgage/livelihoods on the line, balls-out football.
It’ll help me appreciate all that the Premier league offers me now and in the future.
What else can I do? Work hard, fall back in love with the game and keep my fingers crossed that I can once again earn my place in a QPR shirt”
(Note: this website has popped up only recently, with a number of posts having clearly back-dated to give the site some appearance of authority*)
There have even been offers of help from the Fleetwood psychotherapist! We all know that the bloke is a bit of a loose cannon – he served 77 days in prison for common assault and affray in 2008. But does he really need to transfer to a League Two side to get his head straight?
It is clear that QPR have funneled a lot of funds into this venture and it is no wonder why. Barton is a crucial member of the QPR squad. When compared to similarly positioned players in the 2011-12 season – Barry, Carrick, Ramsey and Parker, he had the highest tackle success rate, number of Ground 50-50’s won and was comparable in most other stats bar passing %. (http://www.eplindex.com/12241/joey-barton-criticised-opta-stats-analysis.html) He was the equally most fouled player in the League and he is was their captain.
It will be interesting to see how this whole issue is dealt with by the FA. If they approve the loan deal it will almost certainly open the doors to further suspension dodging – I’m sure there are many League Two teams willing to ‘help out’ top Premier League talent overcome their psychological or other issues. But realistically the FA must be privy to a whole lot of information that we the public cannot access and must see this scam for what it really is. I would like to think that after handing down such a tough punishment, they will not stand idly by as the cashed up QPR propaganda machine swings it’s mighty sword of half truths in an effort to prematurely slice the shackles of Barton’s imposed ban.
As the commencement of the epic competition that is League Two football draws closer I’m sure QPR’s plans will come to light, all we can do now is wait with baited breath and wonder- will Joey will keep his website after all of this?
*One of the older blog posts ‘The cigar incident’, apparently posted on the 9th of April, has a feature image titled ‘Screen-Shot-2012-07-10-at-11.13.28’ and the oldest post dated 16th Jan is a sole image uploaded in the month of June