Okay, I'll admit that on one hand this headline is supposed to grab your attention and get your blood pressure going, especially if you're not a member of the Toon Army. On the other hand, this exact idea is being floated by some partisan members of the press, as well as insiders at the club.
Take this article by Scott Wilson at The Northern Echo, for example. Scott reports that Peter Lovenkrands is apparently still upset about what he perceives to be the soft foul by Barton that led to James Collins' goal in the Aston Villa game.
The free-kick that Aston Villa scored from at the weekend was only awarded because it was Joey. It happens to him all the time.
Lovenkrands goes on to say that fouls are called against Barton all the time that shouldn't be:
Joey gets decisions given him against just because it's Joey Barton that's involved. There's no doubt that officials look more towards Joey than they do to anybody else on the pitch. If anything controversial happens, it's his fault. It's a shame for Joey because he's a good player, but he's always having to deal with other issues. The treatment he's getting is not fair, and I feel sorry for him. He's dealing with it though and he deserves a lot of credit for that.
First things first: I'm sick of players and fans complaining about that foul. It was a foul no matter how you slice it. The poor attitude and excuse-making that's come out of all of this reminds me of how Arsenal fans reacted to The Comeback in February. I would like to think that we can rise above it.
But enough about that call. I want to know how you guys feel about this idea of Joey Barton as a martyr. We all know that he has a checkered past (to put it mildly). Do you think match officials intend to continue to make him pay for his past transgressions?
I'm going to leave the poll question simple and let you fill in the blanks in the comments.