Former Manchester City and Germany midfielder Dietmar Hamman and his on-loan QPR counterpart have gone to war in a very public and bitter display on Twitter.
There is a way, I suppose, of regarding the Twitter exchange between Joey Barton and Dietmar Hamann as a news story. Some other quite reputable and less reputable outlets will doubtless do so.
This is a landscape, remember, in which the fact that Jonjo Shelvey is in Comet buying a new Hoover can somehow be tendered as cultural currency.
But under not even the most generous, ‘Tribal Football’ definition of ‘news’ could this frivolous Monday night football spat possibly qualify. Instead, think of it as pure, unadulterated entertainment.
A little background: Barton tweeted a rumour that his team-mate Loic Remy was heading to Queens Park Rangers, despite Marseille having already agreed a fee with Newcastle.
Joey7Barton Joseph Barton: Watching Patriots. Just heard from a magician that Loic Remy has signed for QPR. Not sure what happened at Newcastle probably Llambas again!
That much is neither here nor there. What is of interest is what followed after former Liverpool and Germany midfielder Dietmar Hamann took issue with Barton’s casual disclosure of confidential transfer information.
Barton and Hamann, of course, played together in the Manchester City midfield for a season. They parted ways in the summer of 2007, since which time one has become a washed-up, semi-retired has-been whose considerable footballing talent is now a fading memory and who lives his life vicariously through Twitter in an attempt to recapture the renown he once enjoyed, and the other has remained Dietmar Hamann.
There is much to love about this exchange. Hamann’s description of Barton as “England international” is a marginally more subtle jibe than “maggot”, “washed-up cokehead” or “Tourette’s-face”, to name just three of Barton’s choicer efforts.
In order to cover our backs, we should probably point out that there is absolutely no evidence that Hamann has ever taken drugs, and very little evidence that Barton ever played for England. Enjoy.
By Jonathan Liew, Telegraph.co.uk