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Battered Barton wins me over

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Dan Walker | 11:39 UK time, Thursday, 9 September 2010

I had a miniature lemon cheesecake last night that was simply spectacular. Normally I am not a big fan of 'mini' anything when it comes to grub but this beauty was a six-bite culinary masterpiece.

I had been painting our living room for a few hours and, just when I was considering downing brushes, the lemon 'hit' kept me going until the midnight hour.

Away from cheesecake, I received a request this week for my five Premier League players of the season so far. I know this will cause quite a bit of debate so here we go (in no particular order)...

Paul Scholes, Manchester United:
When you watch a game with a professional footballer - past or present - you start to see everything in a very different light. Lee Dixon made me watch the way Scholes passed the ball at Fulham recently and said there is no other player who can find a team-mate in so many different ways.

On top of that, Scholes has been brilliant in every game so far and Manchester United striker Michael Owen said on Focus earlier this season that he was the best bloke he has played with and that if he did not suffer with asthma he would have been one of England's all-time greats.

Joe Hart, Manchester City:
A bit special, this boy. He has only conceded one goal this season - that was a penalty at Sunderland - and he has got that magical thing that all top keepers have... an aura.

I remember watching Euro 96 and thinking "there is no way past David Seaman and his crazy wicked witch of the west socks". Hart gives me that feeling now and, as our pundits said on Saturday, he could be England's number one for the next three major tournaments if he stays fit. Feargal Sharkey was right... "A good Hart these days is hard to find" (obscure 1980s musical reference).

Florent Malouda, Chelsea:
I was at the press conference when Malouda was unveiled at Stamford Bridge. I was so impressed I instantly put him in my Fantasy League side and stuck with him until Christmas as he toiled at Chelsea looking awkward and out of sorts.

But last season he was class and since we kicked off in August he has been immense, outscoring Frank Lampard and wandering through opposition defences with ludicrous ease. I hoovered up this stat from Opta as well... Malouda's four goals so far have come from four shots on target, all with his right foot. Just a pity about France really!

Joey Barton, Newcastle:
Barton makes it for the simple reason he made it through Newcastle's game at Wolves with all his body parts in the right place. He was thoroughly crunched by Mick McCarthy's men, especially Karl Henry, and went in the book the one time he launched a leg himself.

barton595.jpgBarton (right) felt the full force of Karl Henry's tackles at Molineux. Photo: Getty Images

He even smiled at the end of the game and I don't think he ever moaned at the referee. In addition, there was that beauty that he leathered in against Aston Villa.

Theo Walcott, Arsenal:
I am not sure he would make BBC pundit Alan Hansen's top five but Walcott has been brilliant so far. Fresh from the disappointment of not making the World Cup, he already has four in the goal column and seems to be improving all the time.

His speed has never been in doubt but perhaps most importantly of all - as Dixon and Alan Shearer keep pointing out on Match of the Day - he is only 21!

Martin Keown has just entered the office. He is doing his research for Burnley v Preston on Saturday and then he is in the studio on Sunday for England's women's World Cup play-off against Switzerland, which is live on BBC Three from 1905 BST.


The defender's defender is chastising me for leaving Tottenham left-back Gareth Bale off the list. According to Brother Keown (pictured), Bale has either scored or set up seven of the eight goals Spurs have netted so far this season. "Revelation," he keeps saying.

To keep him quiet, here's Martin's list in full:

Gareth Bale;
Paul Scholes;
Theo Walcott;
Joe Hart;
Andy Carroll.

I know some of you will be miffed that the list is exclusive to the Premier League, so feel free to bung in your Football League players as well.

Focus is out and about again this week. The programme comes live from St James' Park, where Newcastle are taking on Blackpool. Mark Lawrenson - Newcastle's former defensive coach - will be with us and one or two special guests will be dropping in as well.

Don't forget to tell your friends we are on at 1130 BST again. The Formula 1 from Monza has knocked us back to an early kick-off and we are limited to a half-hour of power.

If you want to keep up to date with all the preparations for Saturday's show, the best place to do it is at


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  • Comment number 1.

    I remember watching Euro 96 and thinking "there is no way past David Seaman and his crazy wicked witch of the west socks". Hart gives me that feeling now
    Well except if you flight in a 'hail mary' ball or a shot with a teensy bit of swerve!

  • Comment number 2.

    Great Blog Dan. All the players performed great so far and I am quite glad to see that you have Paul Scholes leading the pack. I notice your list doesnt have any defenders/center halves. Are there any that spring to your mind?

    Cheesecake...yuck :p

  • Comment number 3.

    Cheesecake would always find its way into my top 5 puddings list!

    Willy Wonka

  • Comment number 4.

    Walcott, Bale, Scholes, Drogba, Malouda

  • Comment number 5.

    Almost any chocolate dessert would be in the top 5 on any given day. There are almost too many to choose from to be in an exclusive list though I think.

    Top 5

    Theo Walcott
    Florent Malouda
    Paul Scholes
    Joe Hart
    Adam Johnson (his shots from long range never seem to be too far of the mark when compared to the rugby conversion attempts you see from others)

    Peter Gabriel

  • Comment number 6.

    It is interesting that you list Joey Barton, and mention that he didn't complain - given that he made a meal out of almost every tackle that came his way, and rolled around as if taken out by a sniper from the Steve Bull stand, he didn't have the opportunity to complain.

    You might also want to note that the only tackle that caused injury to an opponent was from Joey Barton on Jelle van Damme. Oh, but they didn't show that on the telly because it didn't suit the 'let's make Wolves out to be dirty' campaign.

  • Comment number 7.

    Afternoon all. Just doing some filming at Newcastle for Saturday's show. Guess who we've just interviewed? Mr Barton! I shall return shortly to address any cheesecake issues, top 5 lists and Wolves based fury.

    Until then...

    Terry Nutkins

  • Comment number 8.

    Enjoyed reading this Dan.

    My top 5 in no particular order:

    Cathcart (keep watching)
    A Cole

    My top five desserts in no particular order:

    My mums Pavalova
    Malteser cheesecake
    Hot Sticky Toffee Pudding
    BBQ Banana with melted chocolate buttons

    Also in for an exciting Championship this year!


    Keep her in the red

  • Comment number 9.

    Good top 5 - very glad, as much as I can't stand the guy, to see Joey Barton getting some plaudits. He's been fantastic - England call-up not far away?? How England could do with a proper holding midfielder!
    I wouldnt include Walcott though, take away his hat trick against Blackpool and he has been pretty ordinary IMO. (no I'm not related to Alan Hansen!)
    I agree with Keown that Bale deserves a mention. My top 5:
    Scholes, Barton, Malouda, Hart, Bale. On the fringes - Vidic, Sagna (someone asked about defenders), Berbatov, Carroll, Gardner.

  • Comment number 10.

    Karl Henry

  • Comment number 11.

    6. At 2:11pm on 09 Sep 2010, Jabbaonthebeeb wrote
    Actually they did show it, and it wasnt all that bad, just the way he got caught. Some of the tackles on Barton were absolutely horrendous! There should have been a couple of red cards flashed - particularly Henry. Wolves were clearly out to hurt Barton, not saying they are a dirty team, but in that particular game, they were a disgrace!!

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Dan

    my top five in no paticular are:-
    walcott - yes WE KNOW HES 21!!!
    Scholes - old jedi master
    Bale - from wales
    Carroll - mullett
    johnson - funny face when he scores for england

    Top five desserts in no particular order are:-

    Sticky toffee pudding
    Cheesecake - strawberry
    ice cream
    bread n butter pud
    choco moose

    Great blog!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Thanks for another fun blog, Dan. I also liked your interview with Senderos.
    I owe olliesarmy and apology for last week's blog: 'Answers To Your Questions'.
    Olliesarmy made it clear that I had wound him up; since that was not my intention, but it is clearly what happened, I apologize for annoying you, olliesarmy. We probably will never ever meet one another, a fact for which you might be thankful, but irrespective of whether or not we do, I am sorry if my levity needlessly provoked you. I respect (in the sense of recognize and don't argue with) the fact that Blackpool beat 'us' (CCFC) last season and are in the EPL while we are not. CCFC did not win and therefore did not deserve the promotion, your guys, olliesarmy, did win and do deserve it. Dan's opening remarks about 7/10 on the rage scale should have been a warning for me... my bad.

    I made the remark about Blackpool's colours thinking that it would be taken in the same manner as most remarks on the “Dan Walker Food 'N' Footie With Orange Socks” blog. I expected some one to come back at me and ask what I thought of CCFC's lemon yellow away strip and how that colour worked for us last season; that is how it worked relative to Blackpool's 'tangerine' strip. TOMEFCCAM'S message # 37 & 40 in “Ready For The Big Kick Off' three blogs back would be an example of such a 'come back'.

    I am sorry the 'Duckz By Another Name Argument' was lost on some; it was not the product of my idiot intellect (as diagnosed by both olliesarmy and my wife), rather it is Winston Churchill's reasoning; I think reflecting the oil paints on his palette when painting some where or other.

  • Comment number 14.

    Nev - Wolves were not clearly out to hurt Barton - they were out to win the midfield battle.

    And there was nothing even remotely deserving of a red card.

  • Comment number 15.

    why is hart getting in everyones top 5? he is a class keeper but hasnt done anything special this season.........oh apart from being english
    certainly hasnt performed like malouda, drogba, carroll, scholes, bale or walcott

  • Comment number 16.

    Rayzil - did you not see Hart's performance against Spurs?

  • Comment number 17.

    Adam Johnson

    Scholes has looked decent but look at who Man Utd have played so far! no one!!! Carroll is going to be a great prem striker, Gerrard has been very good this year especially for Country, Bale is an outstanding talent who can defend and attack and score goals and has proved it already this season, Adam Johnson has been superb for club and country and Malouda is carrying on from an exceptional last season.

  • Comment number 18.

    Dan, its not left and its not right. Its just slanting more than usual this thursday. And dont think I didnt see. I saw everything. every little detail. Ive got my eye on you walker. And while we are on the subject, can I have it back.

    My top 5 in no order.

    4. Paul scholes
    1. Gareth Bale

    3. Vincent Kompany

    2. Didier Drogba.

    5.Joey Barton.

    And for dessert

    Banoffe pie
    Lemon Meringue
    Lemon Cheesecake
    Woodland Strudel
    A box of Foxs whipped creams, for when nothing else will do,

  • Comment number 19.

    yes i did and he was supurb but didnt have much to do against liverpool or sunderland. the guy is obviously a class keeper keeping shay given on the bench but he hasnt been as impressive as ther other players i listed who have all played well in 3 matches (2 for walcott).
    thats all i was trying to say

  • Comment number 20.

    #6 I wasn't aware there was such a campaign? Its a matter of fact that Barton was fouled repeatedly, presumably in part because he would be seen as an easy target because of the reputation he's earned for himself. He was pretty unlucky that the tackle he makes gets immediately punished when he seemed to be fair game.

    I get the general impression that a lot of people respect Wolves for the fact they have turned themselves into a very decent Premier League team who, particularly at home, are very hard to beat these days. They no longer give off the aura of being one of those yo-yo teams, such as West Brom, for example. Too gung ho to realistically survive, even if they prove to be entertaining for the season.

    Roy Orbison

  • Comment number 21.

    Surrey - we are going to have to agree to disagree on Barton - I thought he made a right meal of some firm, fair tackles.

    However, your comment about West Brom, means that deep down you are a good egg.

  • Comment number 22.

    As Scholes is approaching 40 and playing for Man U, will this automatically put him in contention for Sports Personality?

  • Comment number 23.

    i'll go with:

    joe cole

  • Comment number 24.

    Aww...Dan, I'm disapointed with you, especially after young Karl and David took you under their wing and showed you how to score that marvellous freekick the other week.
    We can't help it if the Mol proves to be too hard to handle for some teams this season, the little poppets....

  • Comment number 25.


    Good point about Seaman and Hart, I see the connection myself, and to think Hart has this presence at such a young age is great.

    Another point, was it just me who noticed that both men were beaten by a left footed powerhouse by a player named Shaqiri while playing for England?? Although Seaman was beaten direct from a corner...

    My top 5?
    I'm not sure if there have been 5 stand out so far although Scholes has been excellent, Carroll has surprised me and looks to have benefited from his year out of the top flight. Adam Johnson and Jags for their England performances mainly and throw in Bent who always starts well for an even, english 5!

    COYB - If only we can upset Man Utd and get that much needed 1st win!

    Dexter Fletcher

  • Comment number 26.

    14. At 2:27pm on 09 Sep 2010, Jabbaonthebeeb wrote:
    Nev - Wolves were not clearly out to hurt Barton - they were out to win the midfield battle.

    And there was nothing even remotely deserving of a red card.
    This comment and your one at #21 "firm, fair tackles", is probably the most ludicrous thing I have ever read in my life. There is absolutely no place for that sort of behaviour on a football field. I'm all for hard tackles, but some of what Henry did and a couple of others were assaults!!
    If you genuinely believe that the Wolves players were not WAY out of line, then I seriously worry about your state of mind - you are either so, so blinded by:
    1. Unfathomable hatred of, admittedly, a pretty hatable player (although no player deserves that treatment).
    2. Complete unflinching loyalty to your club, at the detriment to your thoughts on the game of football as a whole!
    Or both!

  • Comment number 27.

    Top Football League players this season so far

    Kasper Schmeichal
    Lloyd Sam
    Jonathon Howson
    Davide Somma
    Craig Bellamy (who chose the wrong club to go on loan to)

  • Comment number 28.

    #17 - Gerrard?????

  • Comment number 29.


    Joe Cole
    Kirkland (and the rest of the Wigan back 4)

  • Comment number 30.

    Dwayne Mattis
    Craig Davies
    Danny Whittaker
    Scott Griffiths
    Jack Lester

    You can keep yer premiership players ta I'll stick to my Spireites.

    PS Dan can you please get someone to change our badge on the Football League Show glass wall. Get a message to Lizzie or Manish to have a word with the set designers please.

  • Comment number 31.

    Read some tripe on here but this fawning over Barton takes the biscuit. Never moaned to the ref, He never stopped moaning.

    Henry did not foul Barton, even the yellow was not a foul, he jumped headed the ball Barton kicked hom and Henry got a card.
    Put a leg in, it was a 2 footed tackle on Van Damme, that had it been reversed would have seen everyone wanting a red card.

    Newcastle commited more fould than Wolves yet the fawning BBC to deluded toon fans have us as the villains. Tosh nothing but Tosh

  • Comment number 32.

    Nev - assaults? Don't make me laugh.

    Can I suggest you watch Strictly Come Dancing on Saturdays rather than MOTD - it seems to be more your cup of tea.

  • Comment number 33.

    Nev is right. Jabba is being totally unreasonable about the behaviour of most of the Wolves team, especially Karl Henry. Yes, I am a Newcastle fan. Joey deserved his yellow card, but the way he was clattered for the whole game was appauling. McCarthy practically admitted in his post game match that provoking Joey was his teams sole intent.

    He's done some down right idiotic things in his life and has been as far from the perfect role model as you could get, but people need to understand that Joey has put massive work in and has come out the other side a much better player and person.

    That said, my top 5 so far would be Scholes, Carroll, Malouda, Bale and Hart.

  • Comment number 34.

    brilliant though scholes is, unfortunately he's too inconsistent these days. but such a great player to watch when he's got his eye in! :D


    no order to this, and wach out for rosicky this year too

  • Comment number 35.

    @34: Nani - that penalty miss alone showed his lack of experience and bottle at a crucial part of the match..and although he scored against west ham, he should have had a few more..still hope he has a 10-15 goal season that would be brilliant from him

  • Comment number 36.

    Wingman - you, as many others, seem to fail to appreciate the difference between playing hard and playing dirty - Karl Henry, and other Wolves players, were playing hard not dirty.

    It is a man's game!

  • Comment number 37.

    Scholes, Malouda, Adam Johnson, Bale, Ashley Cole.

  • Comment number 38.

    I'd have to go with:

    Joe Hart
    Paul Scholes
    Theo Walcott (does anybody know how old he is?)
    Andy Carroll
    Gareth Bale (shame he's not English)

    As for deserts, it's got to be:


  • Comment number 39.

    Comments like those by Jabba and Galsgowwolf (althought this probably doesnt apply to the latter judging by the name) show exactly what is wrong with English football!!

    We lament the fact that England can't play a passing game and have a lack of technical players, then defend absolute thuggish behaviour against players that try and get on the ball and pass it about a bit!

    Oh and Jabba one last point - it is you that can't notice this - "the difference between playing hard and playing dirty".

    I am seriously at a loss to think how anyone can defend that wolves performance with a straight face?! Are you genuinely being serious? Honestly??

  • Comment number 40.


    We get it mate, no need to go on and on.

    As for the pudding talk, im not going to even bother doing a top 5, because there is one desert out there which destroys all others

    Hot Choclate Fudge Cake! haha

  • Comment number 41.

    Joey Barton deserves all the stick he gets.

    Shame that once again Walcott will be out for a while, unfortunatly he's been out for vast periods in his career and breaks a little too easy in my opinion.

    Malouda, Hart, Caroll, Bale and I'll put Walcott in because I'm afraid he won't be back to that level for a while.

    Apple crumble, rhubarb and custard, strawberry cheesecake, Lemon marangue pie and ice cream (not all in the same bowl though.)

    Wolfgang Puck

  • Comment number 42.

    Dan, I'm assuming that your interview with Mr Barton was dependent upon his inclusion in your top 5, yes?

    I don't like to comment on players whom I haven't watched play, and that goes for MOTD as well, which portrays players / matches under its own, often biased, interpretation.

    Since I've only so far seen EFC vs Wolves and Huddersfield in the flesh, and Spurs vs City & Villa vs EFC on the telly (still not ideal for judging performances, albeit), here is my top 5:

    Distin (not his biggest fan, but a great start from somebody clearly out to keep his place alongside Jags, ahead of Jonny Heitinga)
    Craddock & Berra (those two were a brick wall most of the game, although it didn't help that our tactics for this season seem to be 'score the perfect goal or walk the ball in a la Arsenal')
    Hart (Crucial in City's 'we're here for a point, preferably a 0-0' tactics at White Hart Lane)
    Fellaini (vs Huddersfield)

    Early doors yet though. 35 games to go.

  • Comment number 43.

    Chicharito - I (who went to the game) was only responding to Nev (who doesn't sound like he was).

    As for puddings, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Banoffee Pie, Windsor Eton Mess, Rhubarb Crumble and a huge wodge of Cheese and Biscuits.

  • Comment number 44.

    Dan, I've always 'Keown' England ever needed was a bit of Hart & Scholes ;) Interesting how both you and Martin's selection contain 4 out of 5 English players so soon after our dire WC performance - none of whom actually played!? I'd take A.Johnston and Carroll over Malouda and Barton but admire your twisted logic.

    Is it not possible to do the full hours F.F. by continuing on the RED BUTTON like SCORE? Shame we won't get the full treatment from the 'some daftwhatsthatallaboutsportsshopname @ St.James' Park stadium'

    Did you ever get that pro treatment done on your injury and I'm not talking Wayne Rooney style? ;) Free dinks in Shearer's Bar??

    Black Forest Gateau

  • Comment number 45.

    41. At 3:31pm on 09 Sep 2010, Holloway2Holland wrote:
    Joey Barton deserves all the stick he gets.
    Forget it was Joey Barton, and someone nice instead. Then what's your opinion on it?

  • Comment number 46.

    43. At 3:37pm on 09 Sep 2010, Jabbaonthebeeb wrote:
    Chicharito - I (who went to the game) was only responding to Nev (who doesn't sound like he was).
    No I wasnt, but the 9 ridiculous "tac...." no i can't even call them "tackles" I have seen were more than enough evidence. What difference would seeing the whole game make? In a bit I havent seen, did they travel back in time, and replay those parts of the match I saw - not fouling him this time around??

  • Comment number 47.

    I agree with rayzil,Joe Hart played ok,but not as well as some are making out. Didnt have much to do against Sunderland and Liverpool. Against Spurs he made one great save. The rest were athletic but pretty much routine saves you'd expect any 'keeper to make. And one suspects he wouldn't have been forced into such athletic saves had his positioning been better.

  • Comment number 48.

    dear dan,

    were you at the wolves vs newcastle game? i was and what i saw was a game of football where two midfields had a good old fashoned battle and for match of the day to highlight the so called "treatment" of poor joey barton was a disgrace,don't think it hasn't gone unnoticed in the midlands of the bias been shoen towards wolves,every week always shown last on motd and now this witchhunt to cast wolves as a dirty team which thet arn't.

    Do you expect teams to lie down and die and to play pretty football and survive,what wasn't shown was joey dishing some out himself & then moaning at the ref when he got some back also his petulance at the ref and his constant play acting as if he'd been shot by a sniper,so in future just because shearer is on the panel and you might offend one of your buddies try to report it as it is and not based on edited "facts"!

  • Comment number 49.

    Nev - it wouldn't make any difference because our views are poles apart, so I suggest we leave it there.

    Enjoy Strictly, by the way.

  • Comment number 50.

    Andrew Johnson
    and for number 5...Walcott or Craig Gardner.

  • Comment number 51.

    1. Gareth Bale
    2. Joe Hart
    3. Theo Walcott (he's only 21 you know)
    4. Andy Carroll
    5. Mike Williamson

  • Comment number 52.

    As if I put Andrew Johnson! Was having a discussion with a fellow Bluenose about past players, I obviously meant Adam Johnson!

  • Comment number 53.

    This is patently ridiculous - players of the season so far - after just three games!!
    And what is it with the BBC campaign for sainthood or martyrdom for the oh so wronged Joey (sorry it's respectable Mister now) Barton. I know the Beebs love affair with Newcastle is all consuming but this is unseemly.
    He was shown up to be a big girl's blouse in the match with Wolves and did not relish the hard but (mostly) fair tackles that came his way. I notice Karl Henry had a lot more respect for Alan Smith who relished the physical confrontation and did not complain, unlike his team mate Barton who, contrary to your claim, did just that at the end of the game.
    I'm quite prepared to give Barton the benefit of the doubt and accept that he may be a reformed character but this fawning of him and criticism of Wolves and Henry in particular is unbalanced, cheap journalism.

  • Comment number 54.

    I saw only snippets of the Newcastle - Wolves game, and there were a few tough tackles (I thought that about Wolves' approach to Everton too). However, nothing I've seen yet this season compared with the Montenegro - Wales match! So much fouling it was in fact insane. Elbow to the face of Collins = throw in.

  • Comment number 55.

    why is hart getting in everyones top 5? he is a class keeper but hasnt done anything special this season.........oh apart from being english

    strange comment here, as Hart has been brilliant, the tottenham performance, the double save against Tottenham, conceded 1 goal. You say he hasnt hadmuch to do but he can only save what comes at him and he deserves all the praise he gets.

    Barton, good to see this lad changing his tune on the pitch, he used put the type of performances like he is now for newcastle for City on occassion. His life outside of football is irrelivant to the one on the pitch, as we are looking at his performances on it he has been really good, but lets see if he can stand out against a top 6 club.

    My other players are


    dessert wise:

    Jam roly poly with custard
    Sticky toffee pudding with ice cream
    Treacle tart with custard
    Strawberry cheesecake
    Arctic Role


  • Comment number 56.

    49. At 3:49pm on 09 Sep 2010, Jabbaonthebeeb wrote:
    Nev - it wouldn't make any difference because our views are poles apart, so I suggest we leave it there.

    Enjoy Strictly, by the way
    hmm aiming a personal insult my way. tells me and everyone else all they need to know really!

    I can't stand programmes like that btw, just for reference.

    #48 - If Joey was dishing a bit out, does that justify a retaliation? NO! certainly not on the scale of what happened.

    Also, I believe that apart from the (rightly) highlighted treatment of barton, there was absolutely no insinuation whatsoever that Wolves are a dirty team. And to add to that, in other games I have seen, they have been firm but fair.
    I think this "the BBC are against us" attitude is quite frankly. Fact is, Wolves are efficient, but not spectacular in any sense of the imagination - no neutral is going to turn on MOTD to watch Wolves, hence why they usually get stuck on last. Even MM has admitted that they usually deserve to eb on MOTD last, and jokes about it when being interviewed after games.

    As for your comment about Shearer - he was giggling a little watching the replays of the fouls, probably because it was Joey Barton, probably partly because he wasnt afraid to dish out a bit of treatment, but they didnt make a meal of it as you suggest, instead choosing to comment how Wolves have now established themselves as a PL side, and how well they've done!

    Time to leave the inferiority complex at home my friends! Admit it was a game where your players were not exaclty showering themselves in glory shall we say, and move on! If you can admit it, then that is the first step.

  • Comment number 57.

    "we are going to have to agree to disagree on Barton - I thought he made a right meal of some firm, fair tackles."

    Jabba, as an ex pro rugby league prop forward I like a firm, fair tackle (and don't at all mind a firm, slightly unfair one!), but I have to agree with Surrey that, while there were some good old-fashioned, fair thumping tackles, some of Barton's treatment was a bit much. (PS, sorry for being a big girlie!)

  • Comment number 58.

    Nev - talk about complexes! My 'insult' was actually a playful remark - not like you to go overboard about something.

  • Comment number 59.

    let the motd backlash begin!

  • Comment number 60.

    Stirred something with mentioning the Wolves game.. some of the tackles were hard and actually quite refreshing to see.. and I agree Barton maybe had a moan or two but mostly got on with it.. which was even better.. A couple of the tackles were over the top though and anyone on here saying otherwise is blatantly biased because it was Joey Barton.

    On the dessert front there is only one winner.. the coconut sponge and hot custard you used to get at primary school..

    Dan.. one point.. 6 bites surely isnt a mini anything.. thats got to be a normal sized boyo.. although I do have a large chomper..

  • Comment number 61.

    If you were to look at the stats then you would see that Newcastle, in fact, committed 1 foul MORE than Wolves did. It was just a very physical and enjoyable match yet the media decided to pick on Wolves and claim they were dirty.

  • Comment number 62.

    Actually Jabba, your "playful remark" did come across as snide insult given the tone of your other posts today.

  • Comment number 63.

    Those questioning Joe Hart's inclusion appear to have forgotten / ignored his match-winning performances for the whole of last season as well as his sublime start to this. He's simply carrying on from where he left off.

  • Comment number 64.

    A player definitely worth a mention outside of the Premiership is Rochdale's Gary Jones.

    Five goals already in Rochdale's long awaited season in League One, including an absolute corker against Southampton last Saturday.

  • Comment number 65.

    Wingman - I am not going to get involved in a discussion about how you interpreted my comment.

    Back on topic, whatever the views on the Wolves tackling on Barton, I do admit that he did looked dangerous on the ball, and set up Carroll's goal.

    That said, I wouldn't have him in the Top 5 - it does seem like he is there because it makes a good story.

  • Comment number 66.

    I'm a little bit disappointed that no-one seems to enjoy egg custards... surely I cant be the only one to like them!

  • Comment number 67.

    Thanks 60 and 62, and fair play #65. as for whether it wa san insult or not, i will believe that you meant it playfully, and move on. I just really dislike that show!! lol :)

    uh, oh watch out for the mods - I criticised a BBC show. :S

  • Comment number 68.

    #13 blaenorynyclwyd

    I made the remark about Blackpool's colours thinking that it would be taken in the same manner as most remarks on the “Dan Walker Food 'N' Footie With Orange Socks” blog. I expected some one to come back at me and ask what I thought of CCFC's lemon yellow away strip and how that colour worked for us last season; that is how it worked relative to Blackpool's 'tangerine' strip. TOMEFCCAM'S message # 37 & 40 in “Ready For The Big Kick Off' three blogs back would be an example of such a 'come back'.

    Glad you enjoyed it!

    My team have a pink away kit so I am in no position to comment really. I preferred your aggressive stance though, you have gotten a bit deep for me this week!

    Harold Bishop

  • Comment number 69.

    Barton does look to have an improved mentality in the short period of time that has elapsed this season, so it will be interesting to see if he can persuade people to talk more about the quality of his football over his decidedly dubious past.

    On a general basis (and not referring to Wolverhampton Wanderers) a fair proportion of people who are particular followers of a club do tend to be a little myopic and flare up over perceived minor slights against their poor downtrodden team. Sometimes a deep breath is needed to realise its not the be all and end all of life. Besides, if people didn't disagree with each other, there'd be no debate or fun on here.

    Top 5 desserts that come to mind...
    Hot chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream
    Jam Roly Poly (hot)
    Waffles with Golden Syrup
    Apricot Crumble
    Raspberry Trifle

    Finidi George

  • Comment number 70.

    Important part first.

    sticky toffee pudding with egg custard
    carrot cake
    sweetened mascerpone cheese

    now onto football, top five players so far in no order.

    Joe Hart
    Didier Drogba
    Florent Malouda
    Andy Carroll
    Paul Scholes

  • Comment number 71.

    Can't believe no-one has mentioned on the dessert front - Spotted ...... Oh I see

  • Comment number 72.

    Surrey - I can't agree with any of that -

    Chocolate Brownies - sickly stodge
    Jam Roly Poly - fit for school dinners only
    Waffles - fine if you are a yank
    Apricot Crumble - not even the best Crumble!
    Trifle, Trifle!!!!! Are you stuck in the '70s????

  • Comment number 73.

    #72 you really need to get your dessert history straight... ;-)

    Waffles are rather big in Belgium you might know as well as in Germany. I've never had them when I've been in America, but those I've had over on the continent have been very nice.

    Hercule Poirot

  • Comment number 74.

    The use of Belgium to defend yourself in any argument (well almost any) is not a particularly strong position to be in.

  • Comment number 75.

    You can't beat something simple for dessert:
    - Jelly and Ice Cream!
    to round out top 5:
    Chocolate Gateau
    Apple Pie
    Arctic Role
    and finally - a second helping of the Main Course!!

  • Comment number 76.

    The Liège waffle - (from the city of Liège, in eastern Belgium) is a richer, denser, sweeter, and chewier waffle. Invented by the chef of the prince-bishop of Liège in the 18th century as an adaptation of brioche bread dough, it features chunks of pearl sugar, which caramelizes on the outside of the waffle when baked. It is the most common type of waffle available in Belgium and is prepared in plain, vanilla and cinnamon varieties by street vendors across the nation.

    Bergische waffles, or Waffles from Berg county, are a specialty of the German region of Bergisches Land. The waffles are crisp and less dense then Belgian waffles, always heart shaped, and served with cherries and cream and optionally rice pudding as part of the traditional afternoon feast on Sundays in the region.

    Waffles appear to be more of a global favourite than I had anticipated as they also have them in Hong Kong, as well in the Netherlands, and in the Scandinavian countries.

    Romelu Lukaku

  • Comment number 77.

    Quite a lot of Waffle on today's blog ;)

  • Comment number 78.

    I'd prefer to see a nice Tarte Tatin picked ahead of Chris Kirkland in the Wigan squad from now on.

  • Comment number 79.

    In no particular order:


    Surprised you left him out Dan, most people seem to have picked him.

  • Comment number 80.

    I always find a family size toffee pavlova with about a litre of double cream does it for me!!

    Glenn Helder

  • Comment number 81.

    oh and Oreo's and milk best dessert - try it out

  • Comment number 82.

    so nevs_a_red when mr barton does the same to your team i will look for your views on here as for people tuning in for wolves,i don't expect them to tune in for the wolves but being last every week isn't right there have been worse matches put on before wolves and it should be fairly rotated in the 2nd half of the show.

  • Comment number 83.

    Funny how only Wolves fans think it was fair to try and cripple the other side. Won't be missed when they finally go down. Big Sam would be proud of those tactics!

  • Comment number 84.

    Normally a fan of your blog Dan and I agree with 4 of your choices. Regarding Barton though I can't agree. I think it's a disgrace he's even allowed to play football to be honest so saying he's 'won you over' is fairly ridiculous. I couldn't care less how he performs on the field, what he's done off it renders any of that irrelevent as far as I'm concerned.

  • Comment number 85.

    Yet another (supposedly well-informed) pundit who was completely taken in by the play acting of the Newcastle players versus Wolves (we'll leave aside their constant whingeing in the referee's ear for now). Yes it was a hard match, with BOTH sets of players making crunching tackles, it's just that the editing on MOTD was such that it made Wolves look like the bad guys. 'Poor' Joey Barton? Spare me please.

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    Great blog Dan, been following for ages but first post!
    If we're talking about Barton and top 5's surely it has to be top five tache's

    1. Magnum PI
    2. Salvador Dali
    3. That bloke who was on Masterchef this year
    4. Dick Dastardly
    5. Remi Moses

    Ted Dansen

  • Comment number 88.

    Greetings brothers and sisters. Yowsers! I get back from Newcastle and it's all gone bonkers. If I could just make some general comments on my phone and then come to some more specific stuff when I get to a computer later.

    1) I do not think that Joey Barton is now is wonderful footballer or a fine, upstanding member of the community. I am not responsible for the blog headline. My comments were based in the way i feel he acted in that 1 game against Wolves. I know he has done plenty of unsavoury things and i was not attempting to paint him as the king of the world.

    2) I do not support Newcastle United

    3) I do not hate Wolves. I happen to like the way they play, i admire mr McCarthy and karl henry happens to be one of the nicest pro footballers i have met.

    4) Joey Barton was munched in that game and to say he made the most of it is a little unfair!

    5) This is not a 'player of the season' list... I was asked by a magazine to do a list of the 5 players who have stood out for me so far - these are the 5

    6) I like cheesecake and am delighted so many of you have shared your culinary insights

    7) I thought i had a 7th but i haven't. 6 will have to do.

    Thanks for the comments. Keep them coming. I have a deep fondness and admiration for you all!

    Gavrillo Princip

  • Comment number 89.

    Pretty decent choices to be fair, I'd have gome with: Scholes, Hart, Malouda, Drogba and Bale. Walcott and Johnson pushed close, and will in the future become stars of the England national team, just a shame that the former faces a spell on the sidelines

  • Comment number 90.

    I have never commented on a BBC webpage before, but felt I had to in response to your comments concerning Joey Barton and Karl Henry. If by "crunched" you mean that Barton was subjected to some strong but thoroughly fair challenges by Henry, then I would have to agree (except for one foul challenge for which Henry was booked, late on in the game). If by "crunched" you mean that he was subjected to a number of unfair or even dangerous tackles, then I would disagree strongly. Henry demonstrated wonderfully how a holding midfielder should firmly but fairly impose himself on a midfield battle. I am afraid that the line, "I don't think he ever moaned at the referee," is incorrect. Newcastle, including Barton, were constantly in the referee's face throughout the game, a tactic that the Wolves players are perhaps too inexperienced or naive to attempt, or perhaps they would just like their football to do the talking.
    Finally, perhaps a more balanced view of Wolves' play would be achieved if they were to have a better/longer slot occasionally on MotD, rather than the usual 3 minutes near the end of the show.

  • Comment number 91.

    well said wemwolf when you have a balanced account of what happened then it's fine but what motd did was to show the tackles on barton had they shown the challenges etc that joey barton dished out on wolves players then it would have been a fair account of the game, as it was edited it did not and made all the viewing public see an unbalaned view.

  • Comment number 92.

    I really think Paul Scholes is getting over the top praise he's been fair to decent in 3 games versus very modest opposition! Man Utd couldn't have hand picked 3 games to start off with better if they even tried. Newcastle at home, Fulham away which Scholes was 2nd best to Danny Murphy and at home versus a hemorrhaging West Ham team.
    Come back and tell me that Paul Scholes has been great when Man Utd have played somebody half decent.

  • Comment number 93.

    1. At 1:46pm on 09 Sep 2010, Rob04 wrote:
    I remember watching Euro 96 and thinking "there is no way past David Seaman and his crazy wicked witch of the west socks". Hart gives me that feeling now
    Well except if you flight in a 'hail mary' ball or a shot with a teensy bit of swerve!

    Seaman was nearing 40 when the teensy bit of swerve beat him, in Euro 96 he was in his prime and in the top 2 keepers in the world. Probably the only English keeper in the last 25 yrs to be truly world class.

  • Comment number 94.

    Hey Dan, good blog as always...
    anyway, thought of an amazing television show you could do.
    It involves you touring the country, visiting every football league ground throughout the season and sampling the food.

    Mikhail Gorbachev

  • Comment number 95.

    Here are my top 5 Cheesecakes

    1. Strawberry
    2. Toffee
    3. Blackcurrant
    3. New York style
    4. Raspberry
    5. Bacon

    Only joking. Who'd put Bacon in a cheesecake? Heston perhaps?

  • Comment number 96.

    For anyone commenting on the Wolves v Newcastle game based on what they saw on MOTD please be gracious enough to accept that your opinions are backed only by a very narrow view on the game as a whole.

    Newcastle fans felt they were getting nothing from the ref. Wolves fans felt they were getting nothing from the ref. I think that describes what sort of game it was and how inept a performance it was from the man in black.

    However some things they chose to leave out during MOTD...

    1. Craddock having to leave the field to be bandaged up after a flying elbow from Carroll. Nothing was made of it, he simply got on with it and made no complaints in his post match interview.

    2. Jelle Van Damme having to leave the game after the worst tackle of the match from Barton. A two footed lunge worse than any of the seven shown on MOTD.

    3. Nolan gesturing to the home crowd, inciting them to "come and have a go" whilst waiting for a free kick to be set up.

    Wolves current crop of players are the most honest and hard working bunch of professionals you will see in the premier league this season. No big time charlies, no rolling around after tackles, no diving, no surrounding the ref for every decision, no trying to get players booked or sent off. Everything that is wrong with the English game, you won't see it at Molineux. So their criticism for a few hard (but fair imo) tackles is extremely unfair and unjust.

  • Comment number 97.

    Good blog, and some good choices, there are a few other players I would have put in my list (5 is too few).

    1. Drogba (4 Goals 3 assists in 3 games)
    2. Craig Gardener (3 goals for Birmingham already)
    3. Andy Carroll (4 goals in 3 games)
    4. Seb Larsson (3 assists)
    5. Kevin Davis (13 fouls in 3 games and only 2 yellow cards)

  • Comment number 98.

    watching the highlights on MOTD one thing I noticed about the tackles on Barton were that a few the wolves players actually turned their back into Barton, which for me made them more dangerous and, frankly, a bit cowardly.

    It's always difficult watching short highlights to gain a feel for the game on specific points. We are at the mercy of the editors but the number of tackles on Barton were obviously noticed by the powers that be. From the highlights it did appear that Wolves had an agenda, presumably to rile Barton into a reaction resulting in a red card.

  • Comment number 99.

    I was in the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford this summer and Martin was in there. It was too busy so I walked across the road to the one opposite and Martin followed me in there. I even let him get served before me. A true gent. I am.

  • Comment number 100.

    If you think Wolves players tackle hard you should see an un-edited game at the Brit, Karl Henry learnt his trade at Stoke so you can see where he gets it from!

    #97-"Wolves current crop of players are the most honest and hard working bunch of professionals you will see in the premier league this season. No big time charlies, no rolling around after tackles, no diving, no surrounding the ref for every decision, no trying to get players booked or sent off."
    Good point, I'd like to say the same about Stoke, but we've just signed Jermaine Pennant!

    My mum's chocolate brownies x


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