I've never had much time for Joey Barton but his recent outburst against Newcastle fans struck a chord with me as it is something I have felt for a long time. It's the theory that the fans play a greater part in a team's success and, of course, failure than people think.
So threre are some questions that need to be addressed. Is it a coincidence that Newcastle have failed to win a major trophy for nearly 40 years despite having useful teams and plenty of money over that period? Who are these 'Geordie faithful'? And most importantly, do they actually understand football?
Their attitude was summed up by Frank Gilmour, the chairman of the Independent Newcastle United Supporters' Association.
"If Barton says we don't have the right to criticise, then he wants to learn," said Gilmour.
"He obviously knows nothing about the north east and its passion for football."
Frank has obviously misplaced 'passion' for booing and hounding certain players mercilessly.
He soon reverts to type and in a veiled threat suggests that Barton will himself come in for a torrent of abuse the next time he plays.
"For him to then turn around and criticise the fans is totally wrong. He should have kept his mouth shut.
"He will learn what happens after you criticise Newcastle fans. It takes a long, long time for us to forgive. I would be very, very surprised if he doesn't get a reaction at Blackburn today."
So it seems Frank is allowed to criticise Newcastle players but Newcastle players are not allowed to criticise the fans.
It is this attitude that makes Barton's comments all the more laudable.....and believable.
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