Speaking ahead of the Fulham game, Joe Kinnear was back to his banterful best following the loss of voice that had laid him low in the Villa post-match interview. Again Joe has felt the need to stick up for under fire witchhunt victim Joey Barton, saying:
'I understand what he (Barton) is going through, because there wasn't a day went by when I didn't have the same sort of stuff when I was at Wimbledon - so it is not new to me. I had lots of stuff with Vinnie Jones; I had lots of stuff with John Fashanu; I had lots of stuff going on at Wimbledon.
But we always made sure we had a competitive spirit, and we managed to handle that. We got through that and became a really good side. Joey is a very talented player. You can see for yourself what ability he has got. He can see a pass - I like that; he can put his foot in - I like that.
Unfortunately, he has to live with all the criticism. People are prepared to ignore what he has got and hammer him for other things that he does. It's always negative with Joey Barton and people aren't happy until they are caning him, which is a sad thing. I don't think he deserves it. He is a good player - and he will always be in my team.'
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