Barton is still a victim of "street justice" from Premier League refs
If Gervinho's red card at the Gallowgate End has highlighted anything, then it has to be that Joey Barton has to work harder to gain justice from referees than any other player in the Premier League.
The Saturday night debate over the rights and wrongs of how to behave in football were there for all to see.
So when analysing the events of the game let us begin in chronological order.
Let's start with the ugly stamp from Alex Song which could have put Barton out of the game for months and there would have been a call for Barton's head had it been the other way round.
This happened right under the nose of ref Peter Walton but in my opinion and given the incident happend within my eyeline from just above the dugout, he must have had a clear view of it.
If he didn't, then the fourth official Nigel Miller was also near enough the incident that took Barton's boot off!
No matter, given that the FA can use video evidence to punish players later, then surely this comes into play just like it did when Morten Gamst Pedersen was struck by Barton last season?
Oh, except it doesn't always work like that does it?
No, sometimes the camera misses incidents like it did at Stoke last season when Barton was wiped out by Ricardo Fuller's off the ball lunge which the ref also missed.
Only time will tell if Song goes on to pick up a three match ban like Barton did.
Moving on, Gervinho is fouled at Gallowgate before Barton grabs the player and picks him up accusing him of diving.
This is a grey area indeed as it wasn't quite a strike on Gervinho and incidents in a football game ie "handbags" are commonplace - but nevertheless perhaps a yellow card was enough punishment.
Striking an opponent is slightly different, and merits a red card, so fair enough in the eyes of most obeservers.
Sadly, ref Walton had his back to play and missed the whole incident so in reality that he sent off Gervinho and booked Barton means he was relying on the views of his linesman or the calls from the crowd.
Nevertheless, you could say one yellow and one red was the right outcome.
In my eyes, Barton going to ground is neither here nor there.
In the heat of the moment it must be impossible to differentiate what is a slap or a punch.
Just 12 months ago Barton was kicked from pillar to post at Wolves and because he is simply Joey Barton, some of the brutality went unpunished.
Barton gets a raw deal from refs and a raw deal from society in general because of his troubled past - the player wasn't even allowed to warm up at Sunderland a few years ago without a steward moving him on!
Because of the "street justice" mentality of refs at the beginning of last season ie "You're Joey Barton and have been a bad boy so you deserved that foul, therefore let's play on", it is clear that the midfielder has had little choice but to modify his game - simply to survive.
Therefore, if he is fouled, punched, kicked or worse, he has no choice but to make a point of the situation - otherwise he gets nothing.
Afterwards Arsene Wenger groaned that Barton had "got away with it again" and that the incident from yesterday's game was "linked" with the dismissal of Diaby last season when another one of his players raised hands.
This to me was a little bit rich coming from Wenger.
During the Premier League years we've seen Martin Keown manhandle Ruud Van Nistelrooy, we've seen incident after incident involving Patrick Viera, we've had pizzas and soup hurled all over Alex Ferguson when he was trying to do an interview, we've observed Thierry Henry lose his cool and push referee Graham Poll and cameramen around after our 3-1 win back in 2001 at Highbury and a host of other incidents are also out there.
Barton's brush with Gervinho is hardly the real story here, it has to be Alex Song's stamp on the Scouser that went unpunished?