It was only a matter of time really, but ‘after reviewing last nights footage’ football’s premier intellect Joey Barton took to Twitter to give his considered opinion on Chelsea player Eden Hazard kicking Swansea’s time-wasting ballboy.
And what did he have to say for himself?
Hazard only crime is he hasn’t kicked him hard enough…
— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) January 24, 2013
To be fair to Barton, he did clarify that he didn’t mean players should just kick out at “balls people” (how PC of him) at random but instead that if you’re going to kick a ballboy you should do it “properly for the way he is going to be punished for this”.
Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, eh Joey.
Barton himself is no stranger to violent altercations with teenagers having been involved in an incident with a 15 year old Everton fan while on a pre-season trip with Manchester City back in 2005 for which he was fined eight weeks wages.
Presumably he regrets not having a proper cut at the kid after receiving the hefty fine.
Barton thinks that we should all have a bit more perspective, or perspectif as he no doubt over-pronounces it, and concentrate on the real issue this incident raises and what it means for the future of the sport.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that the game’s gone,” Barton wrote before listing the three death knells of association football heard in the Liberty Stadium last night.
“Ballboys aged 17, time wasting, then rollin round like they’ve been shot.”
The age of the ballboy is a particularly salient point for Barton, “The bigger deal for me is 17 year old ballboys, employed by football clubs to waste time.”
True enough, if the Swansea officials had thought to send out children too young to kick we wouldn’t be in this mess.
Never mind the fact that the play in question, a goal-kick, was Swansea’s and Hazard had no claim on the ball whatsoever.
The ballboy was wrong to time-waste of course, just as the 15 year old who was said to have kick Barton in the shin was wrong – it still holds that the reaction was equally, if not more, wrong.
In all likelihood he was trying to dislodge the ball from under the brat’s body and had no intention of hurting him but in execution: he kicked out in the direction of a ballboy which even executed with sniper-precision is never going to end well.
And as Michael Owen more reasonably pointed out the reaction that Hazard ‘assaulted the kid is embarrassing,’ and the ballboy’s actions were ‘scandalous’, rolling around clutching his side like he’d taken a kidney shot from Mike Tyson.
The whole affair left Hazard and the ballboy looking impulsively foolish, good for them then that Monsieur Barton chose to put his own foot in it as well.