Early Doors

‘Allo ‘Allo! What’s all this then?

Early Doors

View photo

It might be one of football's great apocryphal tales, but after Ian Rush joined Juventus in 1987 it is said the striker complained that living in Italy "was like living in a foreign country."

Rush denies he said it - as you probably would had you uttered something quite so profoundly silly - but most people refuse to believe, as Rush claims, it was invented by a malicious team-mate as it is just too perfect a quote.

Whether true or not, Rush's line speaks to a deeper truth: that British footballers by and large are too insular, too reluctant to sample foreign cultures and play their football abroad.

Well, you certainly can't make that accusation of Joey Barton - as of yesterday the world's leading expert in 'Bartonese'.

Having constantly extolled the virtues of life in Marseille following his summer loan from QPR - conducting interviews with national newspapers in chic cafes, tweeting about driving round Provence listening to Beethoven - yesterday we saw Joey attempt to get to grips with the local language, in a roundabout way.

Not by speaking it of course, but, in time honoured British tradition, affecting a French accent for emphasis. At least he wasn't just speaking loudly and slowly - the default setting for Brits abroad who want to inform their waiter as quickly as possible that they want "dos san-greers por fer-vor."

Depending on what your opinion is of this polarising footballer-cum-philosopher-cum thug, his press conference was either exactly what you'd expect from a pretentious idiot who quotes Nietzsche on Twitter, or a charming attempt to integrate by a man who just wants to fit in.

Either way, it was downright hilarious, from his magnificent opening gambit of: "Yesterday I make one tackle and all everybody speak about is this tackle."

In the week that Manchester United are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the signing of Eric Cantona, it could have been a dismissive comment from the great man himself.

It wasn't just the Franglais that did it for Early Doors - though, as Barton said, it was worthy of 'Allo 'Allo. It was the fact that he also seems to be developing a rather Gallic shrug of the shoulders too.

You know, the shrug Robert Pires might have given after nutmegging a defender and chipping the keeper. An insouciant shrug that carries an air of nonchalance. Note down those French terms, Joey.

If he's there much longer, Early Doors fully expects to see Barton go 'full French', turning up to his next press conference in a black polo neck sweater, listening to Serge Gainsborough and debating Existentialism.

As the clip swept round Twitter faster than 140-character bursts of outrage over whatever it is the Daily Mail have printed on any given day, Barton took it all in good humour.

He tweeted: "In my defence, it is very difficult to do a press conference in Scouse for a room full of French journalists. The alternative is to speak like a 'Allo Allo!' character which is choose. Its simply a case of you had to be there. #youstupidwomen!"

Just a day after claiming that "perhaps I shouldn't say it, but I'm maybe a little too intelligent to be a footballer" - a comment that drew a withering response from Mikael Silvestre when the former Manchester United defender said "the uneducated Joey Barton is fascinating for the degree of his stupidity, his ego and his megalomania!" - had Barton made himself look a touch silly?

Yes, of course he had. Early Doors hasn't entirely ruled out the possibility that this press conference wasn't some kind of performance art piece, but either way this was Barton's Schteve McClaren moment, and it was rather endearing in a way.

A man with a bad reputation in France following his assault on Ousmane Dabo was making a bit of an effort to fit in and just came off a little ridiculous in doing so. A bit like Christian Gross brandishing a tube ticket on his arrival at Tottenham.

Anyway, for every example of Joey Barton's Franglais there's no doubt many more ridiculous accents out there. How about the Frockney that Jeremie Aliadiere picked up in London, for one?

Let's all give him a break, after all, 'e is trying 'is 'ardest.

- - -

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "You can't say, 'Oh, it doesn't matter if we don't win today'. I would have been sent down the salt mines!" - Harry Redknapp speaks about possibly taking the Ukraine job. He was definitely going to do it if QPR didn't come in for him. Definitely. No doubt about it whatsoever. What? Why are you smiling like that?

FOREIGN VIEW: Congratulations to Robbie Keane and Thierry Henry - both of whom have been named in the MLS Best XI for the 2012 season. Also in the selection is DC United's Chris Pontius. The same Chris Pontius of Jackass's 'Party Boy' fame? Early Doors can guess what his goal celebration might look like.

COMING UP: Midweek football! There are two games in the Premier League tonight as Harry Redknapp begins his QPR reign with a trip to Sunderland at 7.45pm. Aston Villa then host Reading at 8pm in a game that really has very little going for it indeed. Prior to the real action, we have Paul Parker and James Horncastle blogging for us throughout the day while the Whistle Blower also picks out a few controversial moments to discuss from the weekend.

View comments (36)