x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Joey Barton is looking for 'despicable me, too'

'Bad boy' Barton is feeling left out and looking for like-minded athletes, according to Will Batchelor

Andy Murray has won over the British tennis fans after his victory over Novak Djokovic in the men’s singles Wimbledon final.
Andy Murray has won over the British tennis fans after his victory over Novak Djokovic in the men’s singles Wimbledon final.

"The pool of sportsmen that are despised is shrinking with that victory by Murray. I'm starting to get lonely."

The Queens Park Rangers footballer Joey Barton, on Twitter, following Sunday's Wimbledon final.

Personal Ads

Wanted: Despicable professional athletes

A despised sportsman (Marseille/London/Merseyside area) seeks similar individual(s) for friendship and mutual support. No time-wasters please. Only genuinely hateful athletes need apply.

Do not respond if:

* You are just pretending to be despicable. Theatrical despicability is no good to me. Boxers, wrestlers, Australian cricketers: you are not fooling anyone. We all know you are just drumming up trade. If people boo, it is only because they enjoy the pantomime. You have no idea what it is to be genuinely despised.

* You plan to joke about your despicability, post-sporting career. Even genuine despicability is rendered null and void by later self-parody. If you wish to join such a club, go and speak to despicable sell-outs like Vinnie Jones.

* You have succumbed to media training. Look, it is no good telling me that plenty of sportsmen are privately despicable. I know that. What I need are those who either cannot, or preferably will not, hide this despicability beneath bland, inoffensive sound bites. In this respect, Twitter is a God-send. Isn't it, Ashley Cole?

* You are not despised in your own country. Any fool can behave despicably in a foreign land then fly home to a hero's return once their knees go. What, do you think El Hadji Diouf, he of various spitting incidents, is going to settle in Leeds and run a newsagents shop once he retires? This is not racism, by the way. I admire despicability in all colours, creeds and cultures. However, I require individuals who know what it is to be despised in their own backyards, who know they are not just letting themselves down - but also their country.

* Your despicability tends to peak and trough. All I'm asking for here is a little consistency. You cannot get me all excited by, say, threatening to ram a tennis ball down a line judge's throat, then follow it up with a vaguely snide remark about a rival player's boyfriend. For goodness sake, what does having a "black heart" even mean, Serena? What are you, a despicable athlete or a Mills and Boon author?

* You are despicable in a minor sport. Snatch all the media reporters' Dictaphones you like Mark Cavendish, but if you compete in a sport mainly enjoyed by Belgians, you will never be universally despised.

* You are too despicable. I love a bit of despicable behaviour but there are certain acts even I will not tolerate: throwing matches, for example, or using performance enhancing drugs. Or sheltering under an umbrella during a rainy football match. Unforgivable.

* You are planning to win something. I really thought we had something, Andy and me. Then he went and joined the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, their despicability erased forever by the sheen of victory. I cannot go through that kind of hurt again.

sports@thenational.ae