Thursday, August 05, 2010

Boost morale: grow a moustache

Reporting on our hero in the shoot-out victory over Deportivo to claim the Trofeo Teresa Herrera, I commented: "I can only assume that [ASBO's] preposterous facial furniture was an attempt to lighten the mood in the camp and cheer Sol up...".

Well, according to a "United insider" whispering to the Mirror, it turns out that that's EXACTLY what it is: "Team spirit is important, and growing a moustache and having a bit of banter about it is all part of it. But now we need Joey's effort to grow in a bit thicker, and ultimately to see it in action on Match Of The Day. Really, it is the least he can do to keep the lads' spirits high. It suits him."

If "suits him" means "makes him look like a tit", then it's a good point - and let's face it, in ASBO's case they're much the same thing.

So, sod your fancy psychological techniques, pep talks and personal mentoring - an overrated (by himself) ankle-biter sporting a hairy top lip is apparently all you need to foster good team spirit.

Still, we should be grateful that at least this latest addition to ASBO's repertoire of morale-boosting antics ranks higher than some of his others, given that it doesn't involve either getting himself sent off in a vital match and then slagging off a club legend, attacking a team-mate on the training pitch or stubbing a cigar out in a youth team player's eye...


Anonymous englishyeoman said...

get the impression that you don't like Barton? Best player we have like and as long as he's at the club he gets my support. Keep slagging your own team off, there's a good lad...

10:50 pm  
Blogger Ben said...

Here we go again - is this going to be the Sol Campbell thread all over again?

You're right I don't like Barton - I'd have happily seen him sacked following the guilty verdict in his assault case. Sadly for whatever reason (probably, I'd speculate, that they couldn't bear to get rid of a potential asset for nothing) the club stood by him.

You're not alone in parroting this nonsense about him being the best player at the club (he's done it himself, during the altercation with Shearer and Dowie, for a start...) - but it's funny how those who espouse that view never back it up with any evidence. When, exactly, has he shown that quality? He's scored three goals in 47 matches for us and I reckon the number of genuinely good games he's had for us could easily be counted on one hand.

But admittedly even if he did suddenly become the Gerrard- or Lampard-like midfielder that he fancies himself as, I'd still feel uncomfortable supporting him. I hate this idea that all of his various misdemeanours matter not a jot as long as he's pulling his weight on the pitch. Some leopards never change their spots and we'd be better off cutting our losses and getting rid - if anyone would have him. Fat Sam, fancy splashing some of this cash you're rumoured to be about to get handed?

11:08 pm  
Anonymous Undrew said...

I get sick of Reading this crap slagging our players off. If you don't support the players how are you supporting the team? It's no wonder we get a bad name, the amount of outspoken morons you get spouting off about the club and knowing fuck all about football

12:48 am  
Blogger Ben said...

OK then Undrew, given your implication that you know something about football and we "unspoken morons" don't, pray enlighten us as to why we should blindly stick behind Barton. As with englishyeoman, I'd be interested to know if you can actually justify your defence of him, in strictly footballing terms or any others you care to mention.

Don't doubt that Paul and I are genuine fans through thick and (as is more often the case) thin. We're always ready and delighted to give credit where and when it's due - as was the case last season. But we reserve the right to be critical when we feel it's merited. There are no sacred cows here, and neither should there be.

As Paul said in the Campbell thread below, if you prefer to read about how everything's rosy and believe everyone's above criticism, then try the official club site. We're realists round these parts, I'm afraid.

2:17 am  
Blogger Paul said...

Just to clarify, in this article Ben said Barton's moustache makes him look a tit, and that growing a 'tache is far preferable to any of the long list of misdemeanours he's previously carried out.

Does anyone dispute either of those points?

As anyone who has been reading the blog for a while will appreciate, where praise is due, it's handed out. If Barton starts playing to his potential (which he's not yet managed in a Newcastle shirt) then we'll acknowledge as much.

Just don't expect us to blindly praise everything a player does or says if we don't agree with it.

If Barton is to get our respect then he needs to earn it through performances on the pitch and good conduct off it. No more, no less.

Given his forthright opinions on people trading on reputation rather than results, I doubt he'd want it any other way.

1:45 pm  

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