Bonkers Bardo Strikes Again

Paul Thomas

Just when you thought our former fan favourite couldn't stoop any lower, Bardsley took to Instagram following Sunderland's defeat at the hands of Fulham with an incredible swipe at the club.

Oh Phil Bardsley, when will you learn and more importantly, buggar off? The tale of Philip's fall from grace on Wearside has been spectacular and has left the former Fans Player of the Year without a shoulder to cry on or an ally to count on.

There was a time when Bardsley was a dependable fullback; nothing flash or spectacular apart from the occasional long-range blockbuster of a goal, very much the personification of a hardworking average footballer. Sure questions could be raised over his defensive awareness and positioning, as well as the love for a thoughtless punt down field before blaming his team mates for his own shortcomings but Bardsley was Bardsley and that was our lot.

Then came the now infamous "Casino-gate" at the end of last season. Unless you've been living under a rock somewhere, I am sure you will all have seen the hideous pictures by now.

While Sunderland fans breathed a collective sigh of relief, having narrowly avoided relegation, our fullback decided that it would be wise to pose with fistfuls of cash strewn across his prone body in the city centre casino.

At a time where more scorn is poured upon footballers due to the incredible wages they command and the disconnect between even an average footballer such as Bardsley and the everyday Joe on the street has never been wider, this was an alarmingly stupid decision, even by standards associated with footballers.

Mention football to anyone that isn't a particularly big fan of the game, or even some that are, and the likely response you will receive will be based upon finances as opposed to any memories or recollections of games they may have attended or goals they have witnessed.

It really is quite a sad state of affairs that it seems almost impossible to have a casual conversation in the office at work, for example, without any mention of a great goal or controversial incident without being met with a lazy retort based around player x's alleged salary and the money involved in the game overall.

Personally speaking I have no concerns or gripe with the money being bandied around the sport. For all the importance and emotional attachment that we as fans attach to the game it is, simply, entertainment.

When you watch a fantastic film, for example, which features an Oscar winning performance from the lead actor, rarely do you dismiss such great acting based upon the fact that the performer is very well paid for their work.

So why is such scorn devoted to well-paid footballers?

Of course balance is required, and clubs have a responsibility to balance the books accordingly or face the perils that such mismanagement may bring. But that is the responsibility of a football club to worry about, not the fans.

That doesn't mean however that footballers do not have a responsibility to behave appropriately. There are obviously standards and expected practices that are expected which possibly go a little further than the common decency and respect you would expect from a fellow human being, but not by much.

This is obviously where Phil Bardsley has crossed the line, not once, but now twice following his latest indiscretion this weekend.

Having been cast on the sizeable scrapheap outside of the Stadium of Light, his services no-longer required, Bardsley's time on Wearside appeared to be up and it was only a matter of time before he moved on. That was until a broken foot seemingly ruled the player out of any move this summer.

On Saturday night, following a disappointing opening day defeat at the Stadium of Light, Bardsley saw fit to take to the internet with a startling attack at the club, mocking their efforts and seemingly relishing the fact that Fulham had taken all three points earlier that afternoon.

Bardsley's post on social media website, Instagram, spread across the North East like wildfire and was, quite rightly, met with anger from the Sunderland faithful.

This is where it becomes increasingly hard to defend professional footballers and their incredible salaries. Is it really that hard for a man to keep quiet, pick up his £30k plus weekly salary and await an inevitable move away from a club with which his current relationship has so blatantly broken down? Is that really too much to ask?

For every Lionel Messi, who is undoubtedly worth every single penny he is paid such is the sheer entertainment he can provide every time he steps over the white line, there is a nugget like Bardsley, who besmirches any argument supporting the wages footballers receive.

It will be fascinating to see how Sunderland react to Bardsley's actions. The player already finds himself ostracised and without a squad number, so any punishment relating to his status in the side is no longer applicable.

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