Joey Barton did well last night against WBA at St. James’ Park and took the first of many steps to rehabilitate both his career and himself.
Joe Kinnear was obviously delighted and we’re sure Joe told him – no more kissing of the badge – and after he scored he kept thumping on the badge with his right hand – but he was obviously delighted to score in his come-back game – and we have to say his reaction showed just how much he has appreciated the way the club has helped him over the last few difficult months.
And apparently Oba was the official penalty taker last night, but like he did with the last minute penalty against Fulham last December – Joey took the ball, showed mountains of guts and courage and easily scored both times.
Kinnear said after the game:
“Joey grabbed it and put it away and I’m pleased for him.” “Oba was fine – he was the first to congratulate Joey.”
“We’ve been practicing penalties between Joey, Nicky Butt, Oba and Shola. Joey’s one of the best finishers in the club. He strikes the ball well, and has a lot of bottle.”
“Mind you, he would have been in serious trouble if he hadn’t scored!”
Kinnear believes that Barton now has the opportunity to create a good relationship with the home fans, who were delighted after the penalty, and also expects him to live up to his price tag – which we thought was £5.8M.
“He’s been bought for over £5m and he’s got to play up to that price. He’s got to be given every chance but in football terms he’s done himself a power of good tonight.”
“Joey’s on fire. Some people won’t give him a chance but he’s a very popular lad, very popular in the dressing-room and with the team. He’d even be chirpy and confident enough to want to be the regular penalty-taker.”
“He’s a good player and he’s got an important part to play. He’s an expensive buy so he’s got to give something back to the club.”
Joey showed that not only is he a naturally good player, but he now has something to prove.
The TV commentators last night had it right, when they said if Barton can now become a disciplined player both off and on the field, he has the chance to become a role model in football – given the terrible antics of his past.
Just think of that for a while – and it’s true – if Joey can only behave himself – and keep off the drink.
He has a long way to go before we know if he can do that – but that should be Joey’s aim, and of course playing well for our club and oh yes – scoring goals.