Joey Barton has apologised for comments he made comparing poor Bristol Rovers performances to the Holocaust. The manager made the analogy after his side’s defeat at home against Newport last Saturday.
Barton said after the 3-1 loss: “Someone gets in and does well but then gets suspended or injured. Someone gets in for a game, does well but then has a Holocaust, a nightmare, an absolute disaster.”
On Thursday, Barton issued an apology. “I’m just going to say there were some comments made after the press conference last week where clearly no offence was meant, but some people have rightly pointed out to me the use of the analogy was not correct.
“The FA wrote to me this week to remind us of our language and communications, and the last thing you want to do is cause offence or upset anybody. So if anybody was offended by that, I would like to apologise for that and I think the FA were right to write to me and remind me of that. You hope to use better analogies in future, but it was certainly with no malice or offence intended to anybody.”
Barton’s side are 18th out of 24 teams in League Two, with one victory in their past six matches, and will travel to play fifth-placed Harrogate this Saturday.
On Monday, the Bristol councillor Fabian Breckels, an associate member of the Jewish Labour Movement, said Barton should consider his future and suggested the club “ought to provide a considered response fairly soon”.
Asked if an apology should have come sooner, Barton said: “I just think it’s a case of my next natural chance to speak to the press. I’m forced to speak to you every week after the games, lots of the times when I don’t really want to do it, but it’s part of the job and part of what you have to do and the responsibilities.
“It’s our duty to be word-perfect and not create controversy. I do get the world we live in and the people we work with, and some of our acquaintances have to produce content and produce the opportunity to get people’s attention by clicks.”
“I get that everything we say, even this I’m saying now will no doubt be pieced together in such a way that it will be there to grab and capture the attention of people that use social media, internet, blah, blah, blah.
“My natural next progression in terms of speaking to the media is here, and I felt that was the way to deal with it rather than the club releasing a statement, blah, blah, blah.
“In the context of the modern-day world we live in and it won’t happen again.”