Newcastle’s Joey Barton not justified in Scott Parker claims

Our head-to-head comparison gives West Ham star slight edge

Joey Barton and Scott Parker in an earlier battle

Joey Barton and Twitter is a dream combination for those writing about football and the partnership didn’t disappoint over the weekend as the Newcastle midfielder used the social media mechanism to argue that he was a better player than Scott Parker.

He said: “Jack Wilshere is class and is going to be an infinitely better player than me, no doubt about it, but Parker, come on. He’s not in my league. Fact, he’s actually in the Championship. And did I not dismantle him twice – think it was 2-1 at their place, 5-0 at ours! And they were easily relegated. Just saying.”

Does the opinionated former Manchester City man have a point? We decided to test his claim…

Career Comparison of Joey Barton and Scott Parker


Some of the areas that Parker rates higher in – international recognition, transfer fees, Champions League experience and average league position – are ones that Barton would probably argue, rightly or wrongly, that his off-the-field discretions have prevented him from mounting a serious challenge in.

Supporting Barton’s case are his superior goal and assist per Premier League appearance statistics, however the greater levels of recognition that Parker has earned from peers, football writers and his own club’s fans alike over the course of his career are another area in which the scales tilt in his favour.

25 responses so far
  • mimo // July 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    “however the greater levels of recognition that Parker has earned from peers, football writers and his own club’s fans alike over the course of his career have to be seen to tilt the scales in his favour.” Has the author of this article considered this might be a flawed argument put forward by hypocritical moralists revealing the bias against Barton for off the field behaviour?

  • BouncingClown // July 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    This bears no relation to what Barton was actually talking about- their respective performances on the pitch last season, even when Barton was shunted out wide to accomodate Nolan & Tiote centrally.

    This is also plainly nonsensical and adds nothing to the debate “…the greater levels of recognition that Parker has earned from peers, football writers and his own club’s fans alike over the course of his career have to be seen to tilt the scales in his favour…” What rubbish.

    We are talking about football performances on the pitch last season, not whether Parker is loved by the Media or the Hammers faithful.

    This article is in no way a ‘STATISTICAL COMPARISON’. We need to see minutes on the pitch in 2010/11, key passes, pass success, areas of passing/influence on the pitch, chances created, blocks, tackles, distance covered, shots on and off target as well as the no. of games, goals and assists last season which is all you meekly provide above.

    Comparing club end-of-season awards is just about the most ridiculous means of ‘analysis’ you could offer. Almost as ridiculous as comparing their career Champions League appearances.

    Any chance of a proper comparison?

  • Jacob // July 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    You might want to change the size and colours on that chart. I can almost read the figures.

  • kimblim // July 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    So you don’t think Barton’s behaviour and reputation has anything to do with recognition from peers, journalists and fans?

    And comparing the two players over their whole careers when Barton said he had had a better season (get your quotes straight!) does not make great sense.

    I don’t care about any of the players, but this comparison is just rubbish and lazy “journalism”.

  • Michael Lintorn // July 4, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Just to clarify one point, clearly the perception of Barton – which is justifiably improving on a daily basis – is a factor in some of the areas that Parker outperforms him, as has been mentioned above.

    However, he was a popular player at both Man City and Newcastle, moreso than Parker at the latter I’d venture, so I don’t see anything contentious about including the number of individual club honours each won as one small part of a comparison.

    I agree that Barton was never likely to win the FWA Footballer of the Year this year regardless of merit because of the potential uproar – and there is clearly a case based on their goal/assist stats for saying Barton was the better of the two last season, as Barton himself has – however he also never won the PFA Young Player of the Year award before his public perception was affected, which Parker did manage to do.

  • BouncingClown // July 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Michael, with all due respect- so what?

    None of that makes one iota of difference.
    Do you think when a club looks at signing a player they disregard his on-pitch performances and sign him based on whether he once won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award?

    You may just as well include that Parker once appeared in a McDonalds advert in your stats as that’s about as relevant.

    If you are going to claim a ‘statistical analysis’ then provide one, that’s what the issue is here. You have failed to provide anything but appearances, goal and assists for 2010/11 season (which show Barton to be superior).

    Public and media perception are nothing to do with performance. Goodness me, how utterly ridiculous.

  • Nonsensical // July 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    As a Newcastle fan I have observed both players at first hand on many occasions and Barton is a far superior player to Parker. He would offer so much more to the England teams as well to Scott ‘Pirouett and pass backwards’ Parker. The only reason he received the acclaim he has reciently is because he was one of about 3 average players who were the only ones trying in a pathetic team. Other than that he couldn’t lace Barton’s bootlaces.

  • NH // July 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    He played through a very big down-turn at WH, and still managed to be highly regarded, nominated for a PFA, and called up for competitive internationals (Barton played 15 mins in a friendly). Yeah there’s an absence of stats but if Barton’s were superior where it counted then he would have more recognition.
    To be honest I think there are other players more worthy of attention (than both of these).

  • Larks // July 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Parker has played almost 100 more Premier League Games than Barton and only scored 1 more goal than him and less assists!!! says it all really!!

  • Richard // July 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Scott Parker is a better player and a better man than Joey Barton, the fact that Barton even needs to say anything about Parker says it all. Was Barton the football writers player of the year? Has he won his clubs player of the season award for 3 years running?

  • Coolface // July 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Let’s see these stats compared to Stewart Downing’s!

  • BouncingClown // July 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    NH- that’s nonsense, the facts simply don’t support your assertion that if Barton’s stats were superior he’d have been given more recognition. There has been for some time, a media and fan campaign against Barton, which is being called into question by both his excellent season and intelligent post-season ‘Tweets’. Sorry that these facts are contrary to your view and the popularly held view that Barton is a miscreant. The guy has knuckled down, played well- and managed to defend himself articulately in only 140 characters!

    Richard- Scott Parker is not a better player than Joey Barton, he does perform a very different role in his side though- and comparing like for like is not strictly appropriate but there we are.
    A club’s ‘player of the season’ awards tell an enitrely different story, and don’t mean Parker is a better player than Barton- merely that Parker was a stand-out player in what was a poor West Ham side that got poorer each year.
    As for the assertion that Parker is a ‘better man’, A- this is ridiculous thing to state, we are talking about on-pitch perfomances last season, and B- I’m sure Ryan Giggs would have been classed as a ‘better man’ as well. You show your own bias in your comments.

    Coolface- yes, let’s. I don’t believe Downing will be miles ahead of Parker and Barton at all, and I think we all know who the more influential players are. Downing may have scored more goals, but we are not really comparing like for like (part of the problem with the Barton/Parker debate to be fair). All I wanted in this article was a comparison of stats (as much as they are worth out of context). Would be happy to see Barton, Wilshere, Parker, Downing et al all compared so long as we actually see
    Tackles attempted & % success-
    Attempted passes & % success-
    Shots on target % and to-goal ratio-
    Key passes made-
    Distance covered-
    Area of play/influence-
    Team win/loss records with & without the player-

    Only then can we compare them on a statistical basis. And stats will only tell part of the story.
    But at least we aren’t comparing players based on whether someone ‘likes’ them or not, or whether they can do 1,000 keepy-uppys or something equally tawdry and pointless.
    If we could compare all these areas then we could look properly at arguing the merits of each.

    As it stands, I am not far off saying Barton’s pretty spot on in saying only Nasri and Modric were more effective than him last season. Happy to see some stats and cogent argument to prove me wrong though- I just can’t see it here at the moment!

  • Richard // July 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    if Scott Parker was the best player in a poor side, the season before Joey Barton was in the Championship, so that is a poorer side by his own definition. Newcastle supporters tend to rate Barton as better, because he is a better Newcastle player than Parker was.

  • camziron // July 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Bouncing Clown, as your suggested comparisons go, Parker would destroy Barton on most of those stats, eg. Tackles won, distance covered etc. Your digging a hole in desperation pal. They are both good players, but fact is, if both were offered free to every manager in the prem, MOST would opt to take Parker. You can bang on about Bartons disciplinary record, but a decent player is more use on the pitch than off it serving bans.

  • Michael Lintorn // July 4, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Hi all, great debate going on here – keep it up. Here are a few of the statistics you asked for BouncingClown but sadly don’t have access to all of them off hand. Will add when available…

    Appearances, goals, assists are above

    Yellow cards: Barton 9, Parker 8
    Red cards: Barton 0, Parker 0
    Fouls: Barton 39, Parker 42

    Parker made the fourth most tackles of any Premier League player (behind Lucas, Vaughan and Alcaraz) with 121 and had the best success rate of the top five with 77%, though sadly I don’t yet have Barton’s figures in that area.

  • BouncingClown // July 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Richard- not sure what your point is?
    Barton hardly played in 2009/10 due to injury when a poor 2008/09 season Premier League side (subsequently shorn of a load of highly paid but useless players) tore apart the Championship (let’s see if West Ham do the same shall we).
    Barton is talking about the 2010/11 Premier League season so let’s stick to that.
    All I was saying is -again- that a club’s player-of-the-season awards should play no part in objectively comparing different club’s players performances, and that Parker was the best of a pretty abject bunch at West Ham. I’m not sure how there is any argument about that?
    Parker was a very good, if not especially progressive player at Newcastle. I liked him as a player, and still do.

    Camziron, I’m sure Parker will come out on top of tackles attempted yes. But let’s see everything before we then have a debate. It’s not ‘digging a hole’ to look at all statistics pertaining to a players performance. Bless you.

    Again, which of them a Premier League team would sign if they were on a free transfer is nothing to do with who had the best season. It’s yet more opinion, based on no fact at all this time given you are not a Premier League manager with the chance to sign either…

    I don’t think there was any mention of Barton’s disciplinary record, or whether a decent player is more use on the pitch than serving bans, so I’m not really sure what your point is there. Both played 32 league games. Irrelevant.

    Parker for me has had a good season, flying around the pitch, chomping into tackles and scoring goals- something he’s definitely got better at. At Newcastle he had some brilliant games (such as at home against Arsenal under Souness I think it was) and it seems he has had a number of such games this season, but it is arguable that he’s had to do so to even give the Hammers a slim chance of survival. Again, I re-iterate, I like Parker. However, all I see is conjecture and opinion based on a general disliking of Barton and not on fact, and whether or not he’s been a better player this past season.

  • Richard // July 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Accept your points about Barton but would like to point out that I think Parker has been as good as this season for the last three seasons.

  • BouncingClown // July 4, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    A different argument! And I agree with you.
    Barton was ace last season, the season before that in the Championship he missed the majority through injury and in the Premier League season before that he was largely a liability. No argument there mate! Parker wins over the last three most definitely.

    All Barton’s posturing over a new contract, how good he was last season etc, to me is slightly irrelevant as in my opinion (yes, opinion) he still owes Newcastle a lot and one good season doesn’t make up for his spell out of the game, and previously poor campaigns. But that’s a different issue entirely….

  • BouncingClown // July 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Michael, do you have free-kicks won? (as in fouls suffered as well as made?)


  • Michael Lintorn // July 4, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Fouls won are: Barton 63, Parker 48

    A couple more I’ve dug up…
    Tackles won: Barton 64, Parker 93
    Successful passes: Barton 1128, Parker 1193

  • Gab // July 4, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Stats have limited use when comparing players in different roles for different teams. Even the opinion of supporters only have a limited value when you consider that one of the players is prone to kicking team mates in the head or putting out his cigar in a youth player’s eye. These are not comments betraying a dislike of Barton, these are facts that any sane manager would have to take into account before signing either player. As has already been said, if you offered either player to the 20 EPL managers next season, a large majority would choose Parker, and for good reason. Regardless of Barton’s self promotion, most managers would have to take his temperament into account if they were considering signing him. The supporters might say that his misdemeanours do not matter, but they would not have to go to work every morning and line up alongside him in training. It is a valid consideration and if has prevented Barton from getting the recognition he deserves, he only has himself to blame.

  • ALAN PARDEW // July 5, 2011 at 1:44 am

    if we can get this deal done then our front two strikers are the target man DEMBA BA and a fast Clinical Striker In ERDINC. I think thats a good partnership up front.

    The 2nd striker we buy needs to be quick and play on the last defender to make runs when Ba holds up the ball, kind of like a young OWEN or how GAMEIRO plays for LORIENT, unfortuantatly he did not want to come to us!!



    If NEWCASTLE realllllyyy wanted to challenge then even ADEBAYOR or BERBATOV???

    GET RID of Lovenkrands OR ameobi OR RANGER OR ALL OF THEM!!!

    as LEON BEST could be good cover, he proved himself last season with goals against westham and arsenal! SHANE LONG, he’s not proven enough! dont go in for him!

    Then we need one more WINGER, 1st choice NZOGBIA. 2nd BARNETTA. 3rd CANALES youngester from real madrid

    one more CENTRE MIDEFIELDER , weve been linked with Mblaisie, Sissoko and we had a bid rejected for Emana.

    our Defence proved solid last year and Colo is much improved, so is williamson, Taylor is a threat from corners, still need that fourth cover CB prehaps neil Taylor can play there aswell as LB COVER because we need to keep ENRIQUe, dont leave him 2 last minute to replace

    Our GK department is also good and does not need investment in that area as we have 2 great prospects in krul and foster and Harper proved himself last year!!

  • Louiswp1 // July 6, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Nonsensical, he doest just pass backwards he mostly passes to the wings and to the players making runs. And you cant really say it’s just a pirouette, he always gets away from the player trying to tackle him. Most premier league players can’t do that for example, Joey Barton.

  • gamblino // July 6, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Someone should point Joey Barton to these comments, he loves a bit of a shit stir.

  • NH // July 7, 2011 at 10:32 pm


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