Thank goodness we women have knitting. And netball. Maybe if we’ve got a bit of time left after that, we could do a bit of cooking and cleaning. 

Because god forbid any of us venture anywhere near football.

Actually, it’s not football in general that women should be staying away from, it’s specifically men’s football. Because we all know, in 2023, that it’s the women who should be doing the ironing while the men deal with the football. And never the twain shall meet.

This is, at least, the view of the ever-intelligent Joey Barton.

Earlier this week, Barton thought it was a good idea to share the dirge that flows through his brain with the world.

Not many others ever think this is a good idea when it comes to Barton, but he did, and that’s all that matters.

The 41-year-old posted on X, formerly Twitter: “Any man who listens to Women commentary or co-comms needs their heads testing… #sticktoyourowngame”, before following that up the next morning with another post stating: “Stand by everything I’ve said on Women commenting and co-comms on the Men’s football. Like me talking about Knitting or Netball. Way out of my comfort zone. Some of the Men are bad enough! We have gone too far. You cannot watch a game now without hearing the nonsense. Any man who says otherwise is an absolute fart parcel.”

Barton was, in his day, a good footballer, but he was certainly never a great footballer. 

Five years and 130 appearances for Manchester City was the highlight with that spell followed by stints at Newcastle United, QPR, Marseille, Burnley and Rangers.

It is, by any estimation, a decent footballing career. But it’s nothing more than that. It’s certainly not the kind of career that sets the heather on fire.

Barton’s managerial career has been even less impressive; three years at Fleetwood Town ended with the club in tenth place in League One. He was then, in February 2021, appointed manager of Bristol Rovers, with Barton and his side relegated to League Two just a few months later.

His spell at Bristol Rovers ended in October with the team a less-than-impressive sixteenth in the league.

It’s maybe the extra time on his hands due to his unemployment that’s afforded Barton head space to formulate these dazzling views about women being entirely unqualified to talk about anything to do with men’s football.

By Barton’s reckoning, only the most decorated, successful male footballers should ever grace our television screens.

Make no mistake, there’s something extremely enlightening about a Roy Keane or a Gary Neville or a Jamie Carragher commenting on the current state of football. 

But it’s such a strange take that only those who have played at the same level as that on which they are commenting should be permitted.

Does that mean only Messi can comment on Ronaldo, and vice versa?

Or only those who have won the Champions League should dare to pass opinion on the Champions League final?

Everyone, even those who have watched the bare minimum of football know that having been a professional footballer is not enough to ensure you will be a good, or even an okay, commentator or pundit.

For every decent male ex-professional footballer who’s commenting on a game, there’s five, ten, maybe even twenty who are not particularly good, or worse, are absolute dross.

Yes, having played at the exact level on which you are commenting can potentially be an advantage, but only if you use that past experience in a productive way.

Too often, male ex-players rely solely on having played football at a good level and forfeit any attempt to do research or preparation on the game on which they are covering.

Indeed, the very same evening on which Barton sent his post out onto social media, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp accused Amazon Prime presenter, Marcus Buckland, of being “completely ignorant” after Buckland made a jibe about early kick-off times in the Premier League.

It’s just the most recent example, in a long, long line of examples, of male presenters being more than capable of being as dreadful as anyone else can be.

People are more than entitled to dislike whichever commentator they choose.

There is, clearly, no way that any commentator or pundit is going to suit everyone’s taste; that’s the nature of the beast, and entirely legitimate.

But to declare one should form an opinion purely based on the gender of the speaker rather than any of their analysis is astonishing.

Don’t try to tell me that a woman who’s played football at the highest level can’t learn the nuances of men’s football in the same way that a man who’s played football below the very highest level can learn those same nuances.

By his own standards, Barton is entirely unqualified to comment on the upper echelons of football.

Having never, as either a player or a manager, won a top-level trophy, how can anyone ever be expected to respect anything that comes out his mouth when it comes to top-level football?

Perhaps, instead, Barton is better qualified to talk about carrying out violent attacks, having twice been convicted of doing so. 

That the overwhelming response to Barton’s comments was derision is encouraging.

Glasgow Times: Alex Scott is generally accepted to be one of football's best punditsAlex Scott is generally accepted to be one of football's best pundits

The most oft-mentioned woman to dispute Barton’s opinion was the former Lioness, Alex Scott who, by many people’s estimation, is a top-class presenter and pundit. She may be female but she’s played at the very highest level in the women’s game for over a decade and, to boot, has a degree in Professional Sports Writing and Broadcasting.

There is, in most quarters, a recognition that women can be just as valuable, interesting and insightful as football pundits or co-commentators as men.

But the fact we’re still having to argue this with some, including a clown like Barton, is a profoundly depressing state of affairs.