Today after talks of Kevin Nolan being at West Ham for a medical, Joey Barton responded in typical Joey Barton style, mentioning their friendship and stating in (hopefully) tongue and cheek fashion that he was to be sold along with José Enrique and Jonas Gutierrez. Of course, Enrique was punished for stating he would not make the team due to an injury so if there’s truth to what he said, he could end up being in big trouble with the club.
Talking to Sky Sports earlier, Joey reiterated his passion for the club and his desire to stay:
“I love the football club, without a shadow of a doubt, and I think everyone knows that, I have a great working relationship with the manager and a lot of the other players, obviously the other senior players who have been through the ups and downs – the likes of myself, Kevin Nolan, Stevie Harper and Smudger.”
“I have got no ambitions to leave the football club, I don’t want to leave the football club, and I would love nothing more than to win a trophy at Newcastle.”
“It’s a difficult situation and I totally understand the club’s point of view, but on the flip side it’s hard for me to get drawn into it.”
Interesting that he should say it’s hard for him to get drawn into it after he has made himself a pivotal figure in the eyes of many Newcastle fans and given his current situation with the club, supposedly brought about by public slagging matches behind Mike Ashley’s back, this is hardly going to help his plea for a new contract and his wish to finish his career here.
“I am an employee of the football club and I have to go back and do a job in the summer. As far as I know I will go back to Newcastle United and play until my contract runs out and they tell me I am no longer needed.”
“I have got no ambitions to leave the football club, I don’t want to leave the football club, and I would love nothing more than to win a trophy at Newcastle. Whether I get the opportunity to do that is out of my hands.”
“I am an employee of the football club and if they choose to do something, I would be foolish not to listen to it. If I’m not wanted then I believe greatly in my ability and I would have to re-evaluate my options. That’s the situation we are at at the minute. If that’s the situation in a month’s time then I will report back for pre-season training, if it’s not then it’s not.”
“It’s all hypothetical at the minute and I’m just trying to keep myself in shape and get myself ready for a league campaign with Newcastle United next season.”
You can see the full interview here.
There’s two primary concerns with Kevin Nolan – as is any player – and sadly it’s not quite as simple as him being replaced.
1. Squad depth.
Injuries have always been the bane of Newcastle’s season and the only way to compete with that is by having players ready to stand up and move into the starting line up with full knowledge that they can do as good a job, if not better, than the person they’re replacing. Even if Kevin Nolan does not feature in the starting XI plans, he will still be valuable for cup runs and rotational selection.
2. Team spirit.
It’s quite obvious this plays a large factor, especially with a big personality like Nolan. A team needs time to gel together and understand each others play, what they’re going to do and why they’re going to do it, they also need to be able to play for the shirt. Now look at the treatment of Nolan and Barton – both in their late 20s and both without new contracts and those they receive are heavily weighted in Ashley’s favour – what player is going to come to Newcastle if they know they’re not going to get a renewal in a few years time, regardless of their ability?
Joey Barton appears to have made his bed and seems to be preparing himself to lie in it if the statements above are anything to go by. He has almost conceded himself to defeat and accepted the fact that he may have to look for another club but again that does not solve our problem with depth. It was tired legs that got us a defeat against Stevenage and it could have been avoided with youngsters, or with rotational selections.
Either way, we can only hope that we’re getting a good deal and hopefully Joey, and the rest of the lads, will understand and accept that these things happen all the time in both football and in life.
Oh, and if any of you lads and lasses happen to see Steve Wraith at all, give him a slap from me. Thanks.