Sport on TV: A questionable invitation leads to ugly confrontation

 

Inviting Joey Barton on Question Time (BBC1, Thursday) might seem like an act of madness. After all, he can start an argument in an empty room – and anyway, who cares what footballers think? It’s probably best not to know. And yet he was introduced by David Dimbleby as “the man described as football’s philosophy king”, whose pronouncements on Twitter are deemed in some quarters as important as Pascal’s Pensées or the existentialism of an Algiers University goalkeeper called Albert Camus.

He was asked to explain the rising popularity of Ukip, and he should understand their appeal better than most – “bloody foreigners, coming over here, taking our jobs”. In fact Barton (pictured) was so reviled two years ago after fighting his way off the pitch against Manchester City that he had to leave the country because no employer would touch him. If ever there was a case for shutting the borders, it must have been when Joey went to France.

Ukip’s leader, Nigel Farage, has apparently been up in arms about handguns, calling for them to be legalised because of “our Olympic gun team having to go out of the country to train”, as Ukip MEP Louise Bours helpfully explained. If people are going to be forced to emigrate in order to improve their job or medal prospects, Nigel won’t want to be losing our best marksmen. You never know when they might come in useful.

So “Le Barton” dismissed Ukip’s electoral success last week as a protest vote against the political class, but he included the Faragists in the mix by using an unfortunate analogy. Gesturing to the four party representatives, he said: “If I was somewhere and there were four ugly girls, that’s what you are.”

The Ukip woman appeared to take this rather personally (they seem to do that a lot, instead of looking at the bigger picture, things like policies and governance). She said his comment “proved that footballers’ brains are in their boots”, though she may have been giving them too much credit there.

She had another go at him later on, and he said he would add the offence he had caused to his “repertoire”, by which he presumably meant his charge sheet. “I’m never going to live this down,” he added. “Maybe I was a little bit nervous.” That’s the kind of thing fascist thugs say after a pogrom. “I’ve got more chance of winning a General Election than the Lib Dems,” he went on, allowing us to contemplate his career move the next time he ostracises himself. It may not quite work. He’s more likely to bite your hand than shake it.

Talking about Ukip was a useful way of casting the enfant terrible of British sport in a good light – not to mention another execrable exile, Piers Morgan, who came across as some kind of saint as he prattled on about how much sport his four kids were allowed to play at boarding school (at least they don’t have to see much of him). The debate was held in the new Terminal Two at Heathrow and you could almost see all the illegal immigrants sneaking through the gates behind the panel.

After Barton had criticised the call for a new runway at the airport because it would be terribly noisy at his mansion in Kew – but surely it would make it easier for him to slip out of the country if he had to run for it – the discussion moved on to the problem of obesity and the lack of fitness. A nutritionist in the audience said: “We’ve got the third heaviest girls in Europe.” “That’s one for Joey Barton, I think,” wisecracked Dimbleby. Well, Barton does seem to carry a lot of baggage around with him.

They ran out of time before Barton could put his foot in it again. Dimbleby revealed that for every kilogram you lose in Dubai, you are given a gram of gold. As if footballers didn’t love their shopping trips to the Emirates enough already, their wives will be wanting to emigrate there now.

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Sport
sport
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Creative Content Executive (writer, social media, website)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...

Legal Recruitment Consultant

Highly Competitive Salary + Commission: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL BASED - DEALING ...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape