Is Joey Barton right about David Unsworth not being suitable to manage due to his weight?

By Andrew Aziz

Joey Barton is someone who divides many in the footballing community with his provocative views, criminal past and at times, outrageous opinions. Earlier this week on Talksport the Ex-Newcastle midfielder began by criticising David Unsworth’s suitability for that Everton job. One of his key arguments was that due to Unsworth being overweight the players would not listen to him as he does not follow the same lifestyle/principles as these players and therefore it would be hypocritical for him to advise them on footballing matters. In modern times, diet and self-control is vital in a footballer’s career. As I drove home I listened to the radio as they debated this issue. In society, we have become obsessed with self-image and appearance and Barton feels that as a player he would not be able to listen to Unsworth’s views on football as he feels Unsworth does not follow the importance of personal well-being. It opens up a debate about whether an adviser must follow the nature of his advice to be listened to. I have been told by a number of overweight people in healthcare jobs that went to advise someone on losing weight to help their condition, patients would reply that they are overweight and are hypocritical for saying that. The argument against that would be that Unsworth is an ex-Premier League stalwart who has both coaching and playing experience and his advice would be golden. However, he does not have the managerial experience which so many can use and therefore it may be harder for him to advise the likes of Calvert-Lewin or Tom Davies. He would say that as he is not playing himself his weight/self-care is not the issue and in so he would be able to advise independent of his own body condition. Also think there have been a number of managers who haven’t always looked after themselves. For instance the highly successful Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neil was charged with drink-driving and so is he best served to be advising Irish players on lifestyle decision. I think as well Barton’s point would mean if the ex-Man city player was to go into managing players could refuse to listen to his advice after all Barton has been in prison for assault. Therefore, Barton’s point is hypocritical and may actually invalidate his own opinion.

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