QPR legend Bob Hazell insists all Joey Barton needs is an arm around the midfielder’s troubled shoulder – and Hazell should know.
The defender who helped Hoops to the equivalent of Championship glory 30 years ago now works as a sports prevention manager for the Youth Offending Service.
Hazell was famous for taking no prisoners on the pitch, and now rehabilitates young offenders through sport.
He reckoned Barton, suspended for the first 12 games last August following violent scenes on the last day of the 2011-12 season, and convicted twice for assault, would have been relatively easy to deal with compared to some he helps back home in Wolverhampton.
Hazell said: “We would have worked with Joey on anger issues.
“There are many programmes to deal with wild temperament, and I think an arm around his shoulder would have been part of it, and it’s not all bad where he’s concerned.
“I’d stick him back in the centre of Rangers midfield given the choice.”
Hazell joined Rangers from Wolves just as Karl Henry did two weeks ago, with the former defender insisting Rs need an enforcer at the back just as much as they did three decades back if history is to repeat itself.
“The centre back pairing is crucial and (manager) Harry Redknapp needs that settled,” said Hazell.
“Outside of the Premiership an enforcer is a must and Richard Dunne and Karl Henry look good additions in that department.
“If you take tough tackles into the Premiership it’s usually a free kick, but elsewhere refs tend to wave play on.”