By Chris Wright
For reasons that aren’t immediately clear, Joey Barton was asked to come along and talk to students at the Oxford Union earlier this week, with the QPR midfielder duly giving an hour-long lecture which took in his views on philosophy, football and social media.
Barton was also asked about his past disciplinary issues, specifically his sending-off against Manchester City in 2012, wherein, with his team on the cusp of relegation going into the game, the QPR captain laid waste to Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero during an on-field meltdown which eventually saw him forcibly man-handled from the pitch – eventually earning himself two violent conduct charges and a mammoth 12-game suspension from the FA, along with a £75,000 fine.
Recalling the incident during his speech at Oxford, Barton described himself as a “lunatic” but attempted to explain that there was logic behind his violent, seemingly uncontrollable outburst – claiming that kneeing Aguero was a “cold, calculated” attempt to “even things up”…by reducing QPR to ten men as the club’s Premier League status hung precariously in the balance.
As transcribed by Eurosport, Barton said (and there’s a whole lot of sic-ing to be found here):
“This is the weirdest, scariest thing about it. I’ve lost my head lots of times. That time I hadn’t gone (and lost my head)
“It was a cold, calculated decision to try and even it up.
“What people forget about the incident is – and I’m not trying to condone my part in it, I’m just trying to put it into context – Tevez had punched me off the ball, for all intents and purposes he’s come round me and hit me with the side of his hand.
“So me being me, I thought I’ll wait and I’ll even this up; so I’ve elbowed (Tevez) and the referee and the linesman have seen – well the linesman’s seen it, the referee’s never seen it.
“I subsequently get the red card, Tevez gets away with impunity and I’ve got a strong sense of justice; what’s right and what’s wrong; and I’m not going to accept that, and Aguero had been telling the ref that I’d done it.
“And so I thought, where I’m from grasses – we call them grasses, people who tell – so I’m like well ‘he’s grassed on me so I’ll get him sent off, the snitch, he’s getting sent off,’ so he gets a knee.
“I thought if I can even the teams up and get one of their players sent off then that will make my sending off lesser, because he’ll have been sent off and he’ll have apportioned the blame.
“It was a mad, mad scenario [and in the] cold light of day, I’m thinking: ‘that’s a lunatic who made that decision’.
“A lunatic wouldn’t think that was the rational thing to do but at the time I thought that it was the correct decision.”
O…kay. “Lunatic” seems to sum it up quite nicely.
(Videos: Oxford Union)