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Who still collects footy programmes?How not to behave on or off a football pitch at any level

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: May 17, 2012

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CALLING all local football fans this week who are avid collectors of matchday programmes.

We're running out of storage space at the Chronicle offices in Chelmsford and the sports department has a stack of programmes in its cupboards that really want to go to a good home.

Obviously most of the programmes are from local non-league clubs, such as Chelmsford City, Braintree, Billericay Town, Brentwood Town, Heybridge Swifts and so on.

The programmes cover matches over the past dozen or more years so genuine collectors might be interested in adding some to their own current collection.

Anyone interested should drop an e-mail to the sports department – sport@essexchronicle.co.uk – explaining any specific request along with their own contact details.

OVER the years there have been some real villains plying their trade in the world of professional football.

Some more liberally minded observers would call them "characters" in the game which, on reflection, is a complete misnomer when applied to certain individuals.

Which takes us back to last Sunday teatime when Manchester City won their first real major footballing honour since 1968 with their last-gasp victory in the Premier League title chase.

This great afternoon footballing spectacle was sadly spoilt by one such individual – QPR's Joey Barton playing in that game until he was sent off for violent conduct.

The 29 year-old will rightly now have the book thrown at him by the FA who have already charged him with two counts of violent conduct which could result in a huge 10 match ban next season.

He should simply be banned from all forms of professional football in my view, not just for Sunday's acts of violence, but for his constant bad behaviour and lack of respect for fellow professional players throughout his football career.

Once off the field on Sunday he let rip at everyone else with his appalling comments on Twitter which are an affront to both loyal QPR fans who actually contribute to his apparent £70,000 a week wages and a stain on the club itself.

His subsequent tweets savaging BBC football pundits Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker for their on-screen comments on his Sunday afternoon behaviour should interest m'learned friends with a possible libel case if the pair wanted.

A couple or so years ago I was at a sporting social event in London and had Mr Barton sitting on my table amidst other sports writers and sports celebrities.

He was as nice as pie and behaved impeccably even though he seemed reluctant to join in the cross table social chatter and so he hardly uttered a word. Shyness? I don't think so.

He left immediately without saying a word after the official bits were finished, unlike most of the other sporting stars who stayed on to chat.

I've only ever seen him since in televised matches where he clearly shows a total different behaviour – aggressive, arrogant, unlawful and quite simply a thug who shouldn't be allowed to display what football skills he does, or did have at one time, on the field.

Sorry Mr Barton your time is up in football. Please go quietly and close the door behind you.

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