Premier League

FOX Soccer Exclusive

Bad apples spoiled QPR's season

NO LAUGHING MATTER
Queens Park Rangers was relegated Sunday after drawing Reading, who also dropped.
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Warren Barton

Warren Barton draws on 16 years of professional soccer experience as a studio analyst for FOX Soccer. With more than 350 Barclays Premier League appearances, Barton starred for Wimbledon before rising to prominence with Newcastle United and the England national team. Follow him on Twitter.

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There are only a few more questions to be answered this season in the Premier League, and I think the answers might not come until the final day. We still don’t know who will be relegated along with QPR and Reading, and I’m not entirely sure who the fourth team will be to grab that Champions League place.

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One thing I do know is that I feel like I’ve seen it all after watching QPR and Reading played to a draw Sunday. The game was poor, and it felt like both teams had accepted their fates. I don’t think that’s acceptable and what really disturbed me was seeing Rangers’ Jose Bosingwa walk off at the end of the field, laughing.

Look, the table never lies, and QPR and Reading were very poor this season. But on a day when your club goes down, to be walking off and having a laugh is unbelievable from a professional player. Show some pride in your job. Show some respect for your club and for the fans who travelled to the game. To walk off like that is simply ridiculous.

Harry Redknapp is a realist, and he’s a good manager. The Championship is a very difficult league too, and it’s not going to be easy to come back up. But the first thing they have to do is sort out that dressing room and get rid of the people who don’t want to represent the club.

Now, my old club have been sucked into that battle at the bottom of the table, and it was difficult to watch that 6-0 loss against Liverpool. That was Newcastle’s worst home defeat in 88 years, and I’ll be dead honest: It hurt me. It looked like the team just gave up, and that never happened when I played there. I’ve said for a while that they’re in a battle, but how they conceded all those goals concerns me.

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I do think Newcastle will stay up – I think Wigan is the team to go down – but when you lose a game like that, you have to look around the locker room and ask some questions. Alan Pardew’s got a massive task and now he has to get his dusted off and ready to go. I do feel he is the right man long-term, but if I had to point to one flaw it is that he needed to get some cover at the back, and he did not.

I want to congratulate Gareth Bale on winning both the PFA Player of the Year and the Young Player of the Year award. It’s quite unique – he’s only the third man to do it after Andy Gray and Cristiano Ronaldo! It’s totally deserved on his performances for Tottenham this season, and I’m delighted for him. He also joins an old teammate of mine, Alan Shearer, as a two-time PFA Player of the Year winner and I think that speaks to just how world-class Bale has been on the field.

I think we’re all a bit tired of talking about Luis Suarez, but I will say this: he got the suspension he deserved and I am disturbed by some people trying to turn it around and make him into a victim. He’s not: He committed a gross offense on the field, he’s got a prior history, and he deserved to have the book thrown at him. I understand the club standing by him – they’re in a tough spot. They cannot afford to lose him. But let’s not forget what he did, and why he’s being punished.

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We’ve got a big week here on FOX Soccer and on our sister network FX. Monday, we’ll be bringing you a big battle at the bottom between Aston Villa and Sunderland (2:30 PM ET). You will not see any men walking off the field laughing there, I guarantee. Tuesday we’re in Madrid to see if Real can turn it around against Dortmund (2PM ET). Real do have an away goal, and I would not put it past a team of that quality. It’s going to be difficult, but they are at home and they have a lot of pride.

Then, Wednesday, my friend and colleague Gus Johnson is in Barcelona to bring you a very big game, Barcelona Bayern Munich. That game is on FX, and I think too many people are writing that match off as over. The scoreline is imposing, but this is one of the best clubs in the world, and we all saw Lionel Messi take out some of his frustrations this weekend against Bilbao. Soccer is a funny game, and I know I’m not going to miss this one.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter at @warrenbarton2 and ask a question any time by using the #heywarren hashtag on @FOXSoccer. I love hearing from all of you, and the banter’s just great. Thanks so much as always for watching and reading, and I’ll see you Tuesday!

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