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Bianca Westwood hits back at Joey Barton after his interview with Piers Morgan on female pundits

Bianca Westwood hits back at Joey Barton after his interview with Piers Morgan regarding female pundits in the men’s game on Thursday night.

Piers Morgan Uncensored quickly got together an interview on the same day the tweets surfaced from Joey Barton.

They were joined by former Sky Sports commentator and presenter Bianca Westwood, YouTuber Pearl Davis and host of ‘The Offside Rule’ podcast Kait Borsay for an open debate on some of Barton’s recent tweets criticising the standard of female commentators in the men’s game and how they seem to be getting the role on tokenism and not merit.

Joey feels that the standard of journalism has dropped in football commentary because many ex-professional female players are being allowed to commentate Premier League games without having the experience or merit to deserve covering those games. He also adds that the female’s game is so different, that their experience cannot translate to the men’s game.

Bianca however responded back by saying that many pundits are not great when they first start out, using Gary Neville as an example as someone whose first time properly commentating the game on Monday Night Football as lacking quality.

Kait then asks why we don’t demand the same footballing experience from presenters such as Jake Humphrey, who have never played professional football. Watch the full much talked about interview below…

Piers: What is it about the women that you think is inappropriate? Is it because they have not played the game at the highest level of men’s football?

Joey: No. Piers, as you know with me, I’ll never not answer a question. No, it’s absolutely not that.

“It’s about, as I say, you have to be there on merit.

“Like, you can’t be there to fit this woker gender that we’ve currently got going on in society.

“You don’t have to have played the game. Lots of managers haven’t played the game at a high level. Lots of good commentary. People haven’t played the game at a high level.

“Kind of Mark Chapman, Rory Smith’s of this world, but they’ve earned the right, via hard work over a prolonged period, to get into that space.

“Obviously, it helps talk about the men’s game if you’ve played that men’s game, the higher the level, arguably the better, because it gives you a unique experience.

“There’s a lot of similarities between both sports Piers. Absolutely no danger in that.

“But the men’s game is just played at a completely different speed with a completely different skill set needed.

“And for someone to stand there and say, I would have done this in this situation, or he’s made a mistake there, who have no experience of that, and it’s not just one or two, it’s been taken over and it ruins the experience for most men.

“And it’s the men’s game, and I feel I don’t want to come across as sexist. Absolutely not. I’ve got a wonderful daughter, wonderful wife, my grandmother, a big matriarch.

“I want women at men’s games. Bristol Rovers. We had hair game, too, and it’s a great initiative to get women in the stadiums.

“But if we’re going to talk about the technical nuances of elite level football, and we want to educate the audience, which is the punditry co commentary role, then we must do that with the most credible people, not people who tick boxes or fill quotas.

Piers: Okay, but Joey, let me ask you, you’ve never played to my knowledge, and correct me if I’m wrong, you’ve never played Champions League or World Cup football, so does that qualify you to talk? Notwithstanding you’re a very good professional footballer, does that qualify you by your yardstick to comment on Champions League football or World Cup football?

Joey: Piers, everybody’s entitled to comment. I can talk about Premier League football, I can talk about taekwondo, but it’s about credibility and journalistic standards rather than this.

“As I say, this tokenism should be there on merit, not for quotas. And there’s loads of women managers, you know, Emma Hayes, fantastic, Sarina Wiegman.

“We’ve spoken about if they come across a manager in the men’s game.

“I have no problem with that.

“If they’re the best candidate.

“Similar with there is some female pundits out there who are capable and avant credibility over a prolonged period.

“But also there’s lots at this moment, I don’t want to name names.

“I’m not here to name names.

“There’s lots of good people but also the majority are poor and the standard.

“And it’s factually incorrect information.

“Well, I heard the comments from the Liverpool Fulham game about the Endo goal. The Japanese boy Endo scores and the commentator was female, Co-commentary’s female and she talks about ‘Endo scores with his laces’.

“Now anyone who watched that, who had any knowledge of football, seen that Endo scored with the side of his foot but no one because it was female co-coms and female commentator, no one said, hang on a minute, that didn’t happen.

“So if you’re a young, impressionable person who doesn’t know and you’re coming for high journalistic standards and content to educate and inform, which is what we’re meant to do, if we’re in those spots, then we have to correct those mistakes and if it goes unchecked, it pulls the standard down.”

Bianca Westwood said: “Usually I wouldn’t give those kinds of opinions any particular credence, but the way in which he tweeted, especially calling out the young girl, the vlogger from Manchester City, I just thought it was out of order because I’ve been on the wrong end of dogs abuse when I very first started reporting and it didn’t sit well with me.

“This is a young girl, she’s on social media. She not presenting news night, she’s not saying she’s an expert in football.

“She’s there because viewers of football are changing.

“We’re getting more streamers, we’re getting more influencers, and that’s a different argument entirely.

“So that’s particularly the reason why I didn’t like what he said.

“But who is qualified to speak on football then?

“Because I’ve been watching the game for over 40 years.

“My first game at West Ham was before Joey Barton was even born.

“I’ve been watching the game the whole time.

“I’ve watched hours and hours and hours of football.

“I worked behind the scenes at Sky for ten years before I was even given a shot on camera, watching many of my male colleagues who were probably not always as good as I was, getting chances that I was never given.

“So I don’t really understand exactly what you need to know.

“How long do we need to work in the game behind the scenes before we’re allowed on camera to be a pundit, you know the laws are the same?

“I can read a game of football. Emma Hayes, Sarina Wiegman can both read games of football.

“Are you saying that they can’t provide insight?

“It sounds to me like Joey’s got a problem with particular female pundits who, to his knowledge, haven’t done enough the game.

“But how does he know and how do we quantify and qualify that?

“Because there are EFL players who are commenting co-coms being pundits on Champions League games.

“What level do you have to get to before you’re allowed, as far as Joey Barton is concerned, to be able to be a pundit on the men’s game.”

Bianca posted a lengthy statement via Twitter: “I don’t have time to answer everybody today so I’ll just say I don’t have a problem with men saying they dislike certain female pundits/comms. That’s an opinion & I’m not a fan of every male pundit who gets a job. That’s not what Joey said in his original tweets & that’s what I took issue with. He said “Women shouldn’t be talking with any kind of authority in the men’s game.” Quite honestly that’s the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard. Calling out the young woman from Man City TV was also totally out of line. “Give them an inch”…Using language like that invites extreme reactions & the standard misogynistic venom that I was subjected to once upon a time (& am currently getting now on X). It is water off a duck’s back to me now but it can be extremely damaging to your confidence & mental health when you’re starting out. Is that how a grown man should be treating a young person who is just doing a job she’s been employed to do. By men no doubt! Now apparently I’m acceptable because I’ve done my time but that’s not what was said when I did my first live match reporting. I was also “ticking a box” & constantly sent a wide variety of abusive & graphic messages. Yet I’d spent 10 years working behind the scenes as an Assistant Producer on Soccer Saturday before I got the chance to report. If he has a problem with influencers & YouTubers crossing into mainstream tv broadcasting before they’re ready, that’s a different argument entirely & probably one I might have common ground with him on. But that relates to young men as well who are being given opportunities in TV when they perhaps haven’t done the groundwork or have the journalistic qualifications that Joey was saying is so important last night. Also as I said on Piers Morgan, not every top player is a consummate broadcaster, they can make mistakes, mispronounce names, sound dull (but that’s ok apparently), & sometimes “average” or lower level players can become brilliant broadcasters. There are no hard & fast rules. You either have a knack for it or you don’t & more often than not, you may be given a chance on TV but if you don’t know your stuff or you can’t speak eloquently & with good knowledge then you will fall by the wayside. Let’s get it right though, men have been given certain roles over the years regardless of experience or quality. It’s been jobs for the boys for decades. Now that’s changing & perhaps some female pundits are thrown in before they are ready. But you have to start somewhere! You only gain experience on live TV by doing live TV, it doesn’t mean you don’t know about the game or can’t reflect, analyse or provide insight on it. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to learn how to articulate yourself well in a broadcasting environment. And I truly believe you don’t have to have played at the highest level to do that. Otherwise we would never have had some of the legendary male commentators we’ve been fortunate enough to listen to over the years. Women were denied the right to play football for 50 years. So yes we may be behind in the professional game. That’s normal. But using Joey’s logic I’m not qualified to talk about that either because I never played it & until the last few years not watched it. My expertise is in the men’s game that I have watched, loved all my life & dedicated my career to. Women are now talking about football & whether you like it or not we are here to stay. So I go back to what he said initially regarding women’s authority in the game & calling men eunuchs if they listen to our opinions. Is Ian Wright a eunuch then? He doesn’t strike me as the kind of man who just pays lip service to female pundits because it’s fashionable or “woke” (God I hate that word) to do so. I’ve worked with countless men over the years who have valued my opinion because they know my experience & knowledge is legitimate. And until recently I have needed that male approval to be given a voice & platform to be heard. Now the playing field is levelling up & we don’t need permission to speak. Real men aren’t threatened by female voices speaking in power, authority or football. It doesn’t detract from their own masculinity or manhood. So who are the real eunuchs? And the facts are, despite the much-needed diversifying of on screen talent, that hasn’t really stretched to the upper echelons of management in much of sports broadcasting. Those who do the hiring & firing are mostly middle-aged white men (& let me tell you they’re not necessarily ‘woke’ either). So all of you who are whining about how your football experience has changed so dramatically maybe you should speak to them or vote with your remotes by switching off, instead of bitching about it to women on social media who are just trying to do the jobs they love in peace.

This is how Twitter users reacted as Bianca Westwood hits back at Joey Barton after his interview with Piers Morgan on female pundits…

@MrMabon11: He’s absolutely right! It’s the men’s game you wouldn’t have female players playing for men’s teams so why have them doing punditry and commentary on men’s game. It’s not sexist either.

@RGnb5wg84xd:I agree with joey Barton and I’m a woman. Drives me nuts

@PNESneaky: Well done @Joey7Barton for saying what a lot of men have been saying for ages. Would you get a semi pro male footballer telling the likes of Salah how to play? I don’t think so.

@SufcLee: what confuses me with men that are so dead against female in male football, in 7 months olympics nobody will bat an eyelid when denise lewis or gabby logan will talk about male athletes or Michael johnson talking about Dina Asher smith. football is football regardless

@timdredge1: Bianca is quite right to call out Barton & his misogynistic crap. Meanwhile Barton then calls other men eunuchs for not supporting him. Seems like he’s been watching that bell end Andrew Tate. Grow up Joey. You’re talking utter shyte.

@GREENYPUNXI: I hate wokery 😂 I think it’s clear. But ngl having females simply giving their opinions on football does not bother me. And I mean you can’t argue with @beewestwood logic here. How the hell can we just quantify the knowledge of someone before they are allowed to speak.

@Jase_stokes23: Men don’t want to turn sky on a Saturday afternoon with their pals and listen to 3 females presenters talking about men’s football. It’s just facts.

@neilgraydon83: Bianca Westwood made a good point about how long she worked at getting to where she did but most of these woman ain’t done that and are getting chucked on men’s games and getting paid good money and they sound like the only studying they done is have 1 game of FIFA!

@Ryanblades83: I don’t particularly like joey but on this I thought he was absolutely bang on! It should always be about who’s the best not about ticking boxes as it’s ruining the football experience for most

@steduncalf95: Joey Barton tryin to stay relevant by doin this show about women in mens football commentating and present in the same two weeks he comes out about his brother being in a so called scrap with a cousin who pulled out a ice pick this man is a idiot and should n’t be involved media

@TardellisScream: Bianca Westwood serving Barton his arse. Lovely stuff.

@afcyorkshire41: Well done @beewestwood hit the nail on the head you was always one of the best when Jeff was on. @laura_woodsy @AlexScott have more knowledge and insight than most former players especially efl players who are given a chance. Barton shouldn’t be anywhere near the game it’s 2023

@AFC_fan1995: I just want good coverage of the game. People with knowledge and insight it doesn’t matter if they are man or woman I just want them to be actually good. There are shit male and female pundits there are also really good male and female pundits. If you don’t like it don’t watch 🤷🏻‍♂️

@georve7: Bianca spoke very well 👏

@IanAkki07: There’s a difference between commentators and Co-commentators/pundits. Using Motson, Davies etc having never played isn’t Bartons point. It’s the punditry he has issue with as a pundits role is to analyse tactics, players performances etc.

@kieranmlkelly: Some top level male managers have never played a professional game. Many great commentators have never played a professional game. Some women have played for England and won a Euro final. Who is allowed to commentate? What’s the rules of earning the right exactly?

@_Zeets: We really can’t let Joey Barton drive conversation about football and who gets and doesn’t get to participate in it in 2023. Beyond being one of the stupidest human beings to ever play the game, his attempt to pretend that he cares about morality or good behavior is pathetic.

@woodythecoach: Looking forward to Joey Barton going around hospitals telling male doctors to leave maternity wards due to no experience in childbirth.

@calywalyalvin: There are a lot of points Joey Barton has made that are absolutely bang on but they are bogged down amongst the ramblings of a complete bastard of a guy famous for all the wrong reasons. This I feel is doing the whole overall argument more harm than good.

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