What did he say?
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, the former Toon star lamented what had happened to the club over the last few years as Steve Bruce’s side attempt to avoid a second relegation in five years amid a truly awful run of form.
“It’s torturous, it’s hard to watch,” he told the print edition of today’s paper (page 73).
“It’s tough for the players as well because you can see a lot of those players want to go forward to express themselves.”
“We’re at a level now where it’s just so sad.
“It’s devastating for people in that area because it’s such a great club and the fans are so loyal and so devoted.”
Is he right?
You’d certainly have to agree.
While some pundits may believe Newcastle fans demand an awful lot, much of the fury appears to be directed towards the fact the club doesn’t appear to be trying to do anything of note. Indeed, Bruce has admitted his job to keep the club in the Premier League and, if he somehow does manage to do that, the idea of this season being regarded as some kind of success surely isn’t palatable.
Sadly, as Barton was eluding to, even keeping their heads just above water looks like some sort of success in Mike Ashley’s eyes.
Why is it important this is said?
It’s not hard to imagine most Newcastle fans being fully aware of the dire situation their club is in but, considering some of the ill-informed comments pundits such as Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Savage and Chris Sutton have made of late, it is important to hear from voices with a connection to the club.
With Barton, Alan Shearer and Kieron Dyer all coming out talking about how bleak things are, hopefully it works towards changing the narrative surrounding the club and its fanbase. Ultimately, little looks like changing while Ashley is in charge but at least some of the insulting, dismissive comments will be picked up on.
That, sadly, looks like the best we can all hope for at the moment.