On 21st February 2012, Tyrone Barnett was announced as Peterborough United’s first £1m man.
He then scored on his debut, from a beautifully weighted Ryan Bennett cross on his last game for the club, before scoring three in his next five matches to well and truly get Posh fans excited for the prospect of a new goalscoring sensation to revel in, after the departures of Craig Mackail-Smith and Aaron McLean.
Fast-forward eight months and the image of Barnett in most Posh fans mind isn’t of the versatile target man we were promised, but of a lazy and lethargic frontman, well in need of a spell out of the first team.
First Barnett was dropped, and then due to his own ridiculous actions on a night out with three other players, he found himself transfer listed and told by Fergie he ‘would never play for Posh again.’
The situation moved on and Barnett was shipped on loan to Ipswich, where he told the local press: “if I could get away [from Posh] I would be delighted.”
Not really a way to endear yourself to fans Tyrone. But I suppose, he was less fussed about what fans of a club that he had no future at would think.
Now with Posh sitting at the bottom of the Championship table, and with goals again becoming a problem, after Dwight Gayle’ s scoring streak seems to have ended, Barnett is back in the match day squad.
The burning issue then is whether Barnett’s value as a player for Peterborough United, in these tough times, outstrips fans loathing of a player who disrespected the club he was welcomed to with open arms just over a year ago.
Before Barnett’s loan move to Ipswich and indiscretions off the field, the ex-Macclesfield and Crawley striker looked like a £1m wasted. He contributed little to the offensive side of play, with his lack of pace and ability to get muscled out in the air much easier than a man of his size should only going to show why he has looked so out of his depth in the Championship. Whilst when the phase of play transferred to defending, Barnett would often be the last to track back and only really be effective defending a corner.
Dwight Gayle and even Saido Berahino’s arrival has given Posh fans a taste of what a striker who chases every second ball looks like. Maybe not in the way CMS did, but with a kind of endeavour that a team at bottom of the league needs to see from its frontmen.
So with all these negatives about Barnett, surely the answer to whether he can contribute to the Posh fight is a staunch NO.
With Barnett looking to find a new club it seems, perhaps the former West Brom trainee could pick up his performances in an attempt to allure a move to another Championship club. Maybe the enticement of a lucrative move elsewhere, sooner rather than later will force some of the goalscoring form seen in League 2 return to Barnett.
Will Posh fans welcome back Barnett with open arms. No, I have to say no.
But if he scores the goals that keep us in the Championship, then perhaps Posh fans may warm. It’s a longshot, but it’s one of those all hands to the mast situations which could require some fans (myself included) to reserve their bitterness.
Written by John Fernandez, We Are Going Up’s Peterborough United Blogger
John tweets @johnfernandez1