Joey Barton can apologise all he likes, it’s not going to help his reputation…
You can always rely on Joey Barton for one thing – to let you down when it matters most. He did it on the final day of the season against Manchester City in 2012, he did in the relegation six pointer against Hull City yesterday, and he’ll almost certainly do it again.
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(Video) Joey Barton Red Card! Punches Tom Huddlestone In The Crotch, QPR Man Sent Off
The Queens Park Rangers captain claimed he was “gutted” over his “stupid reaction” against the Tigers, having lashed out at midfielder Tom Huddlestone and struck him between the legs, earning himself a ninth red card of his career.
“I’ve apologised to the lads and would like to apologise to all QPR fans who travelled today,” Barton tweeted after the 2-1 loss – a result which leaves Rangers in the relegation zone on goal difference.
But how many more chances will he be given?
Barton was already on a run of seven consecutive yellow cards, a streak brought to the end by Saturday’s red. He initially attempted to drag QPR debutant Darnell Furlong away from Nikica Jelavic, but ended up shoving Alex Bruce and punching Huddlestone.
He added: “I’ve tried to prevent Hull’s players influencing the referee as you can see by me pushing Bruce away. My actions towards Huddlestone were certainly not malicious, it was a stupid reaction to being barged but I can appreciate it wasn’t right.”
As reports on BBC Sport confirm, Barton’s career has been littered with incidents such as this, and every time he looks set to turn the corner, something else throws him back into the public limelight for all the wrong reasons.
QPR boss Chris Ramsey attempted to defend his player, despite his absence playing a major role in Dame N’Doye’s late winner. Barton will now likely miss the games against Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace, giving Rangers everything to do in their battle against relegation.
Ramsey said: “There was a bit of a melee and obviously the referee saw something that wasn’t legal, and he has sent Joey off. He is a wholehearted player. He’s more disappointed for the boys, and he is a massive player for us.
“It’s always difficult when you have players who have that bit of edge, and trying to get their emotional control is the thing we need to get under wraps.
“I’m sure if the incident isn’t a good one when we review it, Joey will be the first one to put his hand up and admit that he probably should have acted in a different manner.
“I would rather look at it in the cold light of day when tempers and emotions have calmed down, then discuss it with the player at that point.”
Joey Barton has spent almost his entire career playing Premier League football. He won an England cap and twice earned promotion out of the Championship, but all he’ll ever be remembered for his losing his head, apologising, improving, falling back into old habits and starting over.