Barton on Tuesday’s disagreement:
They’ve told me to stay away. There’s a lot of misconceptions out there at this moment in time. I’ve been asked me to re-evaluate the way I’m thinking just now and my thoughts, and I don’t think they’ll change. I want Rangers Football Club to win and we’ve just lost to our fiercest rivals at the weekend. We’ve come in on Monday and trained then came in again on Tuesday and we’re trying to pick the bones of how we get better and and get Rangers back to the top of Scottish football.
We were asked for an opinion and I’m someone who gives an opinion and two passionate Rangers players have shared opinions on how we get better as a team and get better. Nothing more than that.
Sometimes the way I communicate can be a bit blunt and a bit direct and ruffles people’s feathers but I don’t apologise for trying to win. I care deeply about playing football and I understand the role of a modern day player in how you represent the fans and how disappointing it is, not only for the people at the game, but the ramifications of a defeat in a game of such magnitude. You want to improve and you want to get better and that’s what I believe we’re paid to do and that’s what I came here to do.
Andy (Halliday) is a mad, passionate Rangers man. We sat after we had exchanged views on the training ground and spoke through it. There’s absolutely no issue with me and Andy. It’s disappointing that certain people are insinuating that there is because it’s completely false. He’s someone I have great respect for as a Rangers player and he’s a passionate Rangers man. He someone who’s mind you have to pick because of how much of the tradition and history of the club he knows since he’s someone who stood on the terraces. He cares deeply about getting the club better, as I do.
The way it’s been handled is strange. It does look like, with my past history and you’ve been told to stay away from the club, that something more than that has happened which is why I’ve decided to get on the radio and speak to you.
Andy stopped on the training ground and the manager has pulled me in and asked me to explain what I’d said and I told him, in no uncertain terms, where I believed it to ‘be at. Obviously he’s saying I need to think things through and think whether I’m in the right frame of mind to be performing at the level I need to be at. Whilst I didn’t agree with that, he’s the manager of the football club and I have to accept it. I did explain to him there would be a lot of misconceptions about why I’d be missing for Ross County and people would look into it but at the end of the day I’ve got to do what the manager tells me to do. If he deems that’s the way it’s to be then that’s the way it’ll be.
A lot of people are criticising me, rightly so, and maybe I’ve come up here and been a bit too brash saying I want to win the league or Rangers but I do, and I care about what I do. I want to help Rangers win the league and the difficulty lies in that the teams not doing as well as it can at the minute. As a player you’re only as good as your teammates, so if I’m going to improve we’re all going to improve.
Barton on his communication skills
I don’t believe I’ve done anything to apologise for. It’s the tone of language I’ve used. Maybe I don’t communicate like someone who’s been educated at Eton and I don’t use very grammatically correct sentences but that’s not me. I’m from Liverpool. I communicate how I communicate and I want to win football matches. That’s how I communicate. By the way it can be bristling at times and for that I take responsibility. At times maybe I can communicate better, I accept that, but the message doesn’t change. It’s not the wrong message I’m communicating and I don’t think it’s fair for anyone to say that’s the case.
It wasn’t anger. We were verbalising some key issues on why we weren’t doing well. Any Rangers fan would expect the players to be hurting. It’s not just a football match up here, it’s not just three points dropped on a Saturday. It goes a lot deeper in this city and you would expect the players to be holding some kind of inquest. Bear in mind, it’s not only the Celtic game. We haven’t quite hit stride this season and everything we’ve been talking about, between the players, has been about getting better. It’s not always done in a constructive manner. Some times people say things in the heat of what they are saying, which rationally you wouldn’t say, but that doesn’t mean that the message wasn’t the correct message.
Barton on his own form and expectations
I’ve played five games. I played in the Betfred Cup and didn’t have a pre-season because of it, that’s not my choosing it’s just the nature of the competition, played against Hamilton and got man of the match so I can’t have played that terribly, played a few games since and I haven’t been Lionel Messi but I haven’t been Lionel Messi in my career. I’m somebody who gets on the ball, gets the ball back, gives the ball to players and the team isn’t functioning very well. I’m a huge part of that but we’re all not playing well. Is it through lack of desire? No. We’re just struggling to find our way as a team hence why we’re having the conversations we’re having. Finishing second in Scotland is nothing and people forget Rangers are jumping up a level, going from the Championship to the Premiership, which is a big step. In England you go from the Championship to the Premier League and it’s a huge step and in Scotland there’s maybe not the same drop-off or step-up but it is a considerable jump. You go from playing part time teams in the Scottish Championship to playing full time teams with a lot higher level of players, no disrespect to the clubs in the Championship, and there’s a lot of change at the club. 11 new players coming in with expectations of playing for a great footballing institution like Rangers. We’re expected to challenge for the title right away and all anyone is doing, myself included, is trying to get it better.
Things like this should stay within the training ground, and I know it’s hypocritical of me to say that on the radio, but it’s something that happens on training grounds all over the country all the time. People sometimes think footballer don’t care but that certainly can’t be aimed at me and I don’t think it’s aimed at any players at Rangers. We do care and we’re trying to make the club better and it’s disappointing that it’s got to this but I feel it’s important that people don’t use...I’ve had altercations with teammates before and this is nothing at all on that scale and it’s unfair for people to use that against me, hence why I’ve had to defend my position. I’ve worked far too hard in recent years to allow people to just brandish me with that and it’s completely unfair.
Barton on his Rangers future
“I’ll sit down with Warbs on Monday, that was always the plan, and I want the team to win on Saturday and want my teammates to win. That’s all that matters. I’ve got to re-evaluate stuff now that this has happened. It’s changed the landscape slightly but I’m as committed to Rangers as the day I signed. Nothing at all has altered me from that task. All I want is for Rangers to win and for us to be the best we can possibly be.
“I’m not admonishing my own responsibility in terms of performances, that needs to improve, but there’s no me trying scapegoat anyone or push blame onto somebody else. We’re all in this together as a football club. We win together, we lose together and it should hurt. It should hurt as a professional footballer not to win football matches and hopefully we can draw a line under this and get back to doing what’s most important; winning games for Rangers.
You can listen to the full interview here
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