Joey Barton is a freak of Nietzsche. On a social media website, inevitably, the conscience of the Premier League is busily creating his own system of morality and while the old philosopher would have approved of his refusal to accept convention, he would surely have logged on to Twitter and wondered what he had done.
Alas, the world according to Joey doesn't make much sense. Yes, his values are "beyond good and evil", as Nietzsche would have wanted, but they are often beyond comprehension as well. Not fair, is it? The French get Eric Cantona with his seagulls, trawlers and sardines, and England get Joey Barton with his Google.
But wait, because even Cantona had to go somewhere for the quote which established him as football's Philosopher King and Wikipedia assures me that Google wasn't around in 1995. He was actually helped by a Manchester security guard in formulating the Delphic utterance and the said security guard later confessed he meant herrings, not sardines. It just goes to show there's very little original thinking left in football nowadays, and for that reason we should give praise, not ridicule, to Barton.
Except it is difficult to do so when he embarks on one of his self-righteous crusades. Maybe he thinks of us all on our sofa, with iPhones shaking on sweating palms, absorbing the brutal honesty of his martyrdom. Maybe he doesn't think at all. Take Saturday evening's tweeted soliloquy.
"Don't/haven't u realised over the last decade, I am at my best when u give me stick," he wrote, with the auto-correct turned off. "I continually make u eat ur words. Do urselves a favour... I find it humorous u haters think ur negativity and sniping will effect me. I don't want or need ur advice, praise, negativity... ...or any other thing u offer. U will never effect me. I am far to driven for u. Thanks for helping me be successful. I love u all xx"
Has he really continually made us "eat ur words", or even to try to decipher his words? In 2007, as a 24-year-old, he was playing for England and now, five years on, he is playing for a team whose last major trophy was 45 years ago and who sit two points off the Premier League drop zone. So what "success" on Saturday emboldened Barton to cock a snook at his critics? QPR beat Wigan. At home.
Of course, it is incredibly "successful" on Barton's behalf that someone is still willing to pay him £80,000 a week after a career in which he has served time in prison for assault, put out a cigarette on a team-mate's eyelid, been convicted for assaulting another team-mate and been involved in so many other controversies that the News of the World probably resisted hacking his mobile on the grounds they were scared of the workload.
Naturally, it is Barton's footballing ability which has allowed him such longevity as still to be in gainful employment at 29. His "victim" mentality doesn't allow him to look at the "what-could-have-beens" from the negative perspective. He could be playing for Arsenal, but instead he sees it as he could be scratching out lottery tickets on a council estate. How do you argue with that mindset? You don't. You just sit back and consider it and, if you must, pour scorn upon it.
Barton has found his perfect home in Twitterland, a place where he receives the requisite insults to allow him to go all Gloria Gaynor on a keyboard. Twitter is driven by "negativity" and "sniping" and, if it wasn't, then the right-sided midfielder of the 16th-best team in the Premier League wouldn't have more than 1.1 million followers; he'd have fewer than 70,000, like his team-mate Jay Bothroyd who, incidentally, also has one cap for England.
Barton is like the masochist who runs into the asylum and then moans when all the inmates give him attitude. He is the ultimate creature of Twitter as he claims not to give a damn what anyone thinks and then ultimately invites them to tell him what they think. And meanwhile the belligerence grows, as does the belief that a world which gives him a king's salary is against him. Yet he's not Jesus on a hill in ancient Jerusalem. He's Joey in Shepherd's Bush.
But then, nobody can claim he isn't entertaining, especially when he doesn't follow through one of his "arguments" and calls Neil Warnock, the manager who bought him and made him captain, "Mike Bassett". Who does that make Joey Barton – Gary Wackett?
Granted, every now and again, when his high horse is bent down for much-deserved refreshment, he forgets his own sacrifice to grant us some real insight. Joey told us from personal experience that Stéphane Sessègnon "makes Sunderland tick" and then Match of the Day confirmed it. Joey went on to tweet what Nietzsche said, something MOTD also confirmed. "The demand to be loved is the greatest of all arrogant presumptions." And the demand to be hated is right up there as well.Reuse content