Newcastle’s Joey Barton, Arsenal’s Gervinho: a marriage made in heaven

It began as a question in our Who Are You? series of pre-match interviews with the fans of opposing clubs, about diving and other forms of cheating.

Then it became the Eduardo Question, in honour of the Brazilian-born Croatian player’s monumental contribution to the art, and finally the Walcott Question as a sincere tribute to Theo for his candid admission – coupled with an apology – that he had dived in an unsuccessful attempt to con a referee.

This season, my intention had been to revert to the simple anonymous question along the lines of: “Have diving, feigning injury and trying to get opponents booked or sent off become so commonplace that we should accept the as part of the modern game?”

We certainly did not expect one of the first games of the season to produce an unanswerable case for giving the question a name again.

And nor did we expect one of the game’s hard men, a man so hard in different ways that most Sunderland supporters would cringe if Steve Bruce tried to sign him, should win the accolade with Oscar-winning dramatics in the face of slight or non-existent injury?

History shows, regrettably, that we should not be surprised in the slightest to see another Arsenal diver up there in lights. And I say that as one who generally applauds the way Arsenal try to play.

So step forward Joey Barton and Gervinho, whose antics fully justify Salut! Sunderland‘s decision to call it, until further notice (there will, sadly, be plenty of other candidates as the season progresses) the Barton/Gervinho Question. It takes immediate, even retrospective effect: the interviewee for Sunderland’s next game, at home to Barton’s Newcastle (if Barton’s Newcastle it still is), will be told of the change to the question already put to him.

Gervinho’s dive – if it was one, and there is much doubt now – merited a yellow card, so you could say he qualified for one yellow and one straight red on his debut at St James’ Park.

Barton’s dramatically expressed anguish at being given the lightest of taps on the face was timed at two minutes of writhing on the ground by M Wenger; be that as it may, it was a performance that cried out for enduring recognition. Let us be charitable and say that we do not take into account his ability to rise from a similarly acute bout of pain, after Song’s disgraceful stamp, to leap about while voicing his thoughts to the fourth official; that was merely a display of manly, pain-conquering courage.

And what does Mr Barton, whose new intellectual status probably has him devouring the Salut! Live Song of the Day series and dreaming up suggestions for items to include, think his new favourite author George Orwell would have made of that?


* YouTube clip uploaded by BHLMartLewisHD.

** Please note that M Salut is not always around to moderate replies from supporters who have not posted before and get caught in the anti-spam pending box. Suffice to say, all comments – including those robustly at odds with my views – are welcome subject to the usual rules of decency; they will appear in due course.

Monsieur Salut

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9 thoughts on “Newcastle’s Joey Barton, Arsenal’s Gervinho: a marriage made in heaven”

  1. Suarez is a good player but going back to his World Cup shenanagins for Uruguay it is clear that he is a cheat pure and simple who revels in his own deceptions.I know it is probably the dotage of an old man but I could not imagine a genuinely great player like Jimmy Greaves resorting to such foul tactics to boost his scoring record.Having said that how satisfying to get a point at Anfield.

  2. PLEASE – a player never ever, “has the right” to go down. He is either knocked down, tripped, or pushed down. If he goes down because he feels he has the right, he has dived. I don’t disagree that Liverpool’s was probably a penalty by today’s standards, but Suarez deserved a yellow for tripping himself up after Richardson’s contact. And Gervinho was fouled – based on seeing it numerous times on TV

  3. Tonight on 606; Robbie Savage interviews Joey Barton.
    Reminds me of Tom Lehrer saying that he gave up satire when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
    Lord Reith, Raymond Glendenning and Bryon Butler must be rotating in their graves!!!!

  4. It was definitely a penalty – the ball was in play and the assistant saw Barton grab two handfuls of Gervinho’s shirt before yanking him up. In the box. The original tackle probably was, because Gervinho has control in the box before the touch – slight as it was – robs him, illegally, of the ball.
    The problem is, he shouldn’t have to go to ground to get the decision.
    As for Suarez, I’m still convinced he handled the ball in the build up to the penalty incident (I know – imagine Luis Suarez using his hands :O ). The way he went across Kieran made it clear that he was playing for the penalty rather than going for goal – not to mention the way that a tap on the arm led to such violent spasms of his legs. Ooops – I just mentioned it…

    He’d clearly had a hard summer from the way he felt the need to sit down every time a Sunderland player approached him.

    Still haven’t seen anything to tell me what the FK leading to their goal was for other than Wes Brown daring to apply pressure to a media supported side.

    Oh to be a fashionable club…

  5. You see what you want to see…there was contact. But so far as I am aware Gervinho hasn’t been convicted of assault, doesn’t put his cigars out in people’s faces and hasn’t required anger management training. Taylor is another fine example of cheating with his waving an elbow in the refree’s face to indicate that Gervinho has been responsible for yet another offence…..Is it any wonder that football is viewed with such disdain by some people when Barton is allowed to continue to ply his trade. And as for Pardew …his ‘support’ for his players continues in the same illogical and fawning way that he always has done…he’s even worse than Arsene…

  6. My first impression and, it seems, that of most “neutral” observers, was that Gervinho dived. My wiser but disloyal (Liverpool-supporting) daughter now thinks he just went down very easily and is much more outraged by Barton’s play-acting.

    I will look over and over again at the incident and, if necessary, revoke the Salut! Sunderland decision to name Gervinho in this season’s diving/cheating question. The Barton Question has a certain ring to it.

  7. In defence of gervino , there was contact and he had every right to down , ask rooney lol

    The ref was entirely to blame for this incident because
    1 he allowed taylor (another thug) to elbow sagna in the face in the first minuet without even a word in his ear, that should have been a yellow

    2 He took bartons and taylors word for what gervino had done when they insinuated that barton punched/elbowed the playerbecause he had his back to the incident an did not confer with his assistant

    3 but most importantly of all ,the ball was still in play when barton assaulted gervino therefore a penalty has to be given no questions asked

    There is nothing in the rules that says that “raising your hands” is an automatic sending off. The definition of violent conduct is employing “excessive force or brutality against an opponent and that slap by gervino does in my opinion not come under that category , bartons assalt does

  8. A couple of points to correct here – Gervinho didn’t dive, even Shearer said on MOTD that there was contact by Tiote, and these days, most people seem to agree (although not I) that even minimal contact is enough to warrant a penalty. In light of this, Barton’s aggressive ‘raising-up’ of the Arsenal man was worthy of a red in itself.
    If Mr. Lit & Phil plays next week, Lee Catts is going to have to make a big effort if he’s to stay on the pitch for 90 mins. because I think he’ll be provoked from the off by Newcastle’s finest.

    Turning to our own game yesterday, I wish pundits would look closely at some of these incidents; Keiran did seem to touch Suarez’s shoulder when he got away from him, but the Liverpool man clearly stuck his right toe into the back of his own calf before going down, and that was the only contact between the four legs involved.
    Personally, I hate this present culture in which a player will go to ground rather than try to go on and shoot for goal, but it has now been accepted by the majority and I can’t see it changing.

    I only hope that all Sunderland’s players next week are made aware of
    S Taylor’s penalty box habits.

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