Joey Barton renewed his feud with women football pundits today branding hugely popular Laura Woods and Bianca Westwood ‘not brave enough’ to ‘debate him’.
Barton – who is currently out of work – seemed keen to keep his controversial and attention-grabbing storyline going.
He posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: ‘Anyone who wants to come and debate me in this space? All genders are welcome. It will be 2 hours of raw debate. Unedited. Any of you brave enough?
‘Bianca Westwood and Laura Woods. Had a lot to say recently, I’ll do you both in the same sitting if you like. You can team up. I’ll park you both up together. We can do it one at a time or take it in turns. Your call? This is obviously for a podcast before you all get you knickers in a twist.’
Later he ranted they had turned him down, declaring: ‘They won’t come on the show. They’re not brave enough. Lots to say yesterday? You should have kept your heads down. Something to hide girls? Cat got your tongue today!’
The Barton-instigated row was kicked off by the former player himself on Wednesday when he said: ‘Women shouldn’t be talking with any kind of authority in the men’s game. Come on. Let’s be serious.’
He went on to describe any man that disagreed with him as a eunuch, illustrating this with a series of dolls.
Then as he stoked the fires further he was invited onto Piers Morgan‘s show on Thursday night where he stoked the fires further. It was around then Laura Woods tweeted he was ‘encouraging a pile-on’.
He claimed Alex Scott ‘shouldn’t comment on men’s football’ as he continued his tirade on women’s involvement in the sport, rowing with Westwood on a panel.
TNT Sports Presenter Laura Woods during the UEFA Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United
Joey Barton has claimed Alex Scott ‘shouldn’t comment on men’s football’ as he continued his rants about women’s involvement in the men’s game
Barton – known for stubbing out a cigar in the eye of young team-mate at a Christmas party – took exception to any female football presenting roster.
Barton, who was jailed in 2008 for affray, ticked the now-predicatable boxes of hitting out at the ‘woke agenda’ and saying the world was ‘going crazy’ during his appearance.
The TV rant also saw him take aim at BBC‘s golden girl Scott, who is one of the leading pundits in football and the host of the popular Football Focus show. She has also appeared as a regular face on Match of the Day and Sky Sports.
When asked about Scott commentating on men’s games, Barton said: ‘She hasn’t played in it’.
Barton outside Sheffield Crown Court back in November 2021. He has a long history of court dates.
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He added: ‘One is 200 years old and one is about 40 years old… it’s the same rules but football is about a lot more than rules… The games are at two different speeds.
‘I don’t care where you’re from or how many games you’ve played, but you have to have a body of work that is credible to get you there… the world has gone crazy.’
He had earlier responded to a fan quizzing him about Scott’s credentials as a pundit, saying: ‘Fantastic women’s footballer. Decorated in her game. If she’s presenting a men’s game, no problem, anchor the show. But, no, she isn’t qualified to talk with any authority about the men’s game in my opinion.’
On Morgan’s show, Barton explained that he did not want to be seen promoting sexism, but that he was against ‘unqualified opinions’.
‘I don’t want to see sexism in football, but if we don’t debate (the role of women in football broadcasting) properly, this is just going to rise and rise, and ruin the experience of watching elite-level men’s football,’ Barton said when asked by Morgan if the language of his social media posts had been deliberately inflammatory.
‘Everywhere you turn now, there’s an unqualified opinion pontificating about the sport I love, and it’s ruining my experience – to fuel this woke agenda, and it’s going to increase sexism massively, because it has to be a true meritocracy. We have to have people who are qualified to do those roles.’
The former Premier League footballer sparked fresh controversy after hitting out at women being given jobs in men’s football
When prompted on why he didn’t feel women were qualified, Barton stressed that it was ‘absolutely not about’ women having not played at the top level of the men’s game.
Instead, he argued, he was against ‘tokenism’ before adding: ‘Obviously it helps to talk about the men’s game if you’ve played at a higher level, because it gives you a unique experience.’
‘There’s a lot of similarities between both sports, but the men’s game is played at a completely different speed, with a different skillset needed. For someone to stand there and say ‘I would have done this’, or ‘He’s made a mistake’ – who have no experience of that…
‘It’s not just one or two, it (football broadcasting has) been taken over.
‘I don’t want to come across as sexist, I’ve got a wonderful wife, wonderful daughter, grandmother.
Barton doubled down on his controversial views while making an appearance on Piers Morgan: Uncensored on Thursday evening
Alex Scott at ICAP headquarters in London during the broker’s annual charity day, raising money for charities across the globe
‘We want it to be diverse and inclusive, but it’s got to be credible.’
After his one-to-one with Morgan, Barton was then joined by Sky Sports presenter Bianca Westwood, as well as female sports hosts Kait Borsay and Pearl Davis.
Westwood decided to take him to task on his view that women weren’t qualified.
‘Who is qualified to speak on football then? I’ve been watching football for 40 years, my first game at West Ham was before Joey was even born.
‘I’ve been watching hours and hours of football,’ she said. ‘I worked behind the scenes at Sky for 10 years before I was even given a shot on camera, watching my male colleagues who maybe weren’t as good as I was, getting chances I was never given.
‘I don’t really understand what we need to know, how long we need to work behind the scenes before we are allowed on camera. To be a pundit, the laws are the same. Emma Hayes and Sarina Wiegman can both read the game, are you saying they can’t offer an insight?
Sky Sports presenter Bianca Westwood later took Barton to task on his claim that women were unqualified to speak on the men’s game
‘Sounds like to me that Joey has a problem with particular pundits who haven’t done enough in the game, but how does he know? And how do we quantify that? There’s EFL players who are commentating, co-commentating on Champions League games. So what level – as far as Joey Barton is concerned – do you have to get before you can be an expert on the ‘men’s game’?’
It was Barton’s initial tweet that caused outrage, insisting he ‘couldn’t take a thing they say serious’ if it’s in the men’s arena.
‘Women shouldn’t be talking with any kind of authority in the men’s game. Come on. Let’s be serious.
‘It’s a completely different game. If you don’t accept that. We will always see things differently.
‘The women’s game is thriving. Fantastic to see. I cannot take a thing they say serious in the men’s arena.’
Barton has previously thrown his support behind the #HERGAMETOO initiative – which aims to fight against sexism in sport
Barton’s posts come after he had previously thrown his support behind the #HERGAMETOO initiative.
This is a campaign which aims to fight against sexism in sport, with Barton posing with a promotional card for the cause when he was Bristol Rovers manager.
Back in October, he also generated controversy after sharing his apparent backing for former Newcastle and England manager Kevin Keegan’s comments that he doesn’t enjoy female footballers talking about men’s football.
At a live event in Bristol, Keegan had said: ‘(I don’t like) listening to ladies talking about the England men’s team at the match because I don’t think it’s the same experience. I have a problem with that.’
In response to that, Barton had posted on X: ‘Kevin Keegan. Ballon D’or winner 1978. England manager. He’s bang on.’
A promotional clip for Barton’s appearance on a new podcast appeared to show him downplay his brother’s role in the racially-motivated killing of Anthony Walker
Barton was playing for Manchester City when Michael was convicted of murdering Anthony Walker, with his brother serving 17 years of a life sentence for his part in killing the black 18-year-old in McGoldrick Park in Liverpool before being released from prison in September 2022.
Barton appeared to play down the severity of his brother’s crime in promotional material for his appearance on the podcast Anything Goes with James English which circulated on social media on Thursday.
‘My brother lost 17 years of his life from 17,’ Barton said. ‘Because his mate who was his cousin at the time thought it would be a fantastic idea when they were having a f***ing scrap to pull an ice axe out, and swing it into somebody, and he’s stuck it into somebody’s head.’
A statement shared by the Anthony Walker Foundation with Mail Sport stated that they considered the description ‘factually inaccurate’ and ‘lacking in any sensitivity given the serious nature of the incident’.