Ben Burgess column: Barton-baiting and giantkilling at its best

Former Pool striker Ben Burgess
Former Pool striker Ben Burgess
Share this article
Have your say

Another great weekend of FA Cup giantkilling. Never has the quote ‘hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard’ been more appropriate.

It was all kicked off by Lincoln City’s amazing result at Turf Moor.

The fact that Burnley have the third-best home record in the Premier League and recently held Chelsea to a draw made the Imps’ performance even more impressive.

They nullified Burnley’s threat excellently and used their big experienced striker Matt Rhead to do a Joey Barton on Joey Barton! Yes, Rhead managed to wind Barton up so much that he put the Clarets midfielder off his game and he in turn resorted to some extremely embarrassing tactics.

Unfortunately for Barton, the humorous world of Twitter has gone wild with its response to his pantomime fall after walking into Rhead’s arm. It was the sort of theatrical play-acting that Barton himself has complained about in the past!

Maybe not so much of a shock was Millwall’s victory over Premier League champions Leicester City.

It’s a sign of how low Leicester have sunk that I didn’t even expect them to beat a League 1 side.

Millwall even played the last 40 minutes with 10 men.

Leicester’s story was like a fairytale last year and every player played to their maximum.

As soon as those players have earned big new contracts and started to believe the hype surrounding them, they’ve lost concentration and the end result could be the catastrophe of relegation.

Riyad Mahrez is a prime example. Last season he looked a worldbeater and was even linked to Real Madrid and Barcelona. Now he struggles to get in the Foxes team.

The media and experts are also quick to blame the influx of new players into the Leicester squad.

From first-hand experience, I know this can upset the relationships in the changing rooms but it is part and parcel of football.

With Hull City, I started in League 2 and we had an amazing team spirit, with all of us socialising and living close by to each other. As we progressed through the leagues, bigger and more high-profile new players arrive and suddenly the team starts to get disbanded and certain cliques appear.

But it’s testament to a manager’s strengths to see if he can bond those new players with the old.

There was a bit of a shock at Bloomfield Road last week (not the attendance). First, the Seasiders were actually winning at home 2-0 at halftime.

Then sadly they let it all slip and were holding on for a 2-2 draw with Crewe by the end. Despite Blackpool’s poor run of form, they are only five points off the play-offs with a game in hand.

They have proved they can win against the best teams in the league but that consistency has eluded them for years.

It’s almost as though there’s a lack of belief and that the players don’t think they’re good enough to be promoted.

They face Exeter away tomorro, and even though it’s a monster trip on the coach, it’s another chance to make up ground on the top teams, as Exeter lie in sixth place.

The last word has to go to Sutton United’s reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw. He made a massive error of judgement and thought it would be funny to eat a pie/pasty pitchside while the game against Arsenal was taking place.

Not only did it paint Sutton in a bad light, it also took the gloss and attention away from their historic cup run. It wasn’t just the fact that he was eating it – the problem was that a bookie had given odds of 8/1 on him eating a pie at some point during the game.

Cue FA and gambling commission investigations!