Barton Fallout: Joey Barton, FA Shame the Nation

Simon MartinSenior Writer INovember 13, 2007

Congratulations to the Football Association for proving to the world—once again—that it's no better than a Mickey Mouse organization.

This time, the FA has failed to take a stand in punishing Joey Barton for his brutal attack on Sunderland's Dickson Etuhu.

Barton, of course, has spent his fair share of time in the tabloids—often for  incidents that would have landed him behind bars had he not been a Premiership footballer.

Barton is currently due to appear in court on charges stemming from an alleged assault on a teammate at his previous club, Manchester City. This isn't his first fight, either—he's even stabbed a young teammate in the eye with a cigarette butt.

There have been many tough nuts in English football over the years—but being a tough nut is NOT the same as being a thug.

Five years ago, Roy Keane was castigated for maiming Alf-Inge Haaland (and effectively ending Haaland's career). Keane was punished with a £150,000 fine and a five-match ban—which many fans felt to be too light.

I for one fail to see the difference between that case and Barton's...but the Football Association has chosen to do nothing, save offer the following statement:

"Whilst it is clear the officials did not see the full extent of the incident they did see players coming together, and to take any further action would be tantamount to re-refereeing the game."

I fail to see their logic. Video replays clearly show Barton's intention was not to go for the ball. Give the height of his boot and the snarl on his face, there's only one possible conclusion.

There should be no place in the game for anyone who makes a tackle with the intention to injure another player. The FA should have the courage to impose a very lengthy ban on Barton, if only to set a precedent for future offenders.

But that seems to be too much to ask for. 

As for Barton himself, I fear he's completely beyond help. He's also beyond shame or regret.

Check out the replay of his reaction during the match if you don't believe me.

Once again, Barton has managed to bring shame upon a great football nation. Lord help us if he ever gets called up for England—that will be the day I hang up my whistle for good.

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