Joey Barton has had a chequered career to say the least. In fact, it was difficult whittling down his list of indiscretions to just six. The much travelled midfielder has been caught up in rows, fights, and Twitter arguments with many of his peers. Now plying his trade in Scotland with Rangers, Barton has, surprise surprise, yet again managed to find controversy. Here’s six times that Joey Barton got it wrong.
1. Chill out, have a cigar!
To kick off we thought we’d go back to Barton’s Manchester City days. Work Christmas parties always have some form of controversy; who kissed who, so-and-so cried, Jamie Tandy got a cigar stubbed in the eye. Hang on – what? Yes that last point did indeed happen during City’s 2004 festivities.
Barton stubbed a cigar in Tandy’s eye after taking offence at the youth team player’s attempt to set fire to his shirt. Tandy’s indiscretion was daft, if not dangerous, yet Barton, the more ‘grown-up’ of the two, should have known better.
An eye for an eye is rarely justifiable, and neither is an eye for a failed attempt to set fire to a shirt.
Barton did apologise, but the damage was already done. He was fined £60,000, equivalent to six weeks’ wages.
2. Blue Moon to Full Moon
On September 30th 2006, Barton and his Manchester City teammates visited Goodison Park. Barton, an Everton fan, managed to rile the Everton faithful by unceremoniously pulling his shorts down to reveal a rather pale backside.
Whilst Barton would have been familiar with Blue Moon ringing around The City of Manchester Stadium (as it was then called), the midfielder decided he would treat Everton fans to a full moon.
Barton’s bottom landed him with a hefty £2,000 fine, a police investigation, and he was warned over his future conduct. A warning he sadly did not heed.
3. The Dabo incident
Just nine months after ‘bumgate’ Barton once again found himself at the centre of controversy. Ousmane Dabo, a teammate at City, felt the full swing of Barton’s now notorious temper.
Instead of giving Dabo a light dab, he decided to go full-whack. Dabo was allegedly knocked unconscious and had to go to hospital after injuring his head in the fracas.
The Frenchmen decided to press charges, and Barton eventually pleaded guilty to the assault.
Barton was fined £100,000 by City, given a six game ban and £25,000 fine by the FA, a four-month suspended prison sentence, and 200 hours of community service. This sorry incident paved the way for his exit from City.
Seven months after the Dabo incident Barton again found himself in trouble. Now playing for Newcastle United, Barton went on a post-Christmas night out in his hometown of Liverpool. In the early hours of December 27th he became embroiled in a fight outside McDonalds.
CCTV showed him punching his victim 20 times, before also attacking a teenager. This time there would be no reprieve and no suspended sentence. Barton served 77 days in prison before being released and being allowed to resume his career.
5. In for a penny, in for a pound
Barton now found himself playing for Queens Park Rangers. His former club, Manchester City, were on the verge of claiming their first title in 44 years.
Barton and his QPR team visited The Etihad on the final day of the 2011/12 Premier League season. This game will be remembered for many things, including Barton’s outrageous sending off.
City needed to win in order to prevent their Manchester rivals, United, from claiming yet another title, whilst QPR needed at least a draw and results elsewhere to go their way in order to avoid relegation. With the score finely balanced at 1-1, Barton saw red – literally. First he elbowed Carlos Tevez in the face. A red card was promptly shown. Not content with this, the ex-City man kicked Sergio Agüero, attempted to head-butt Vincent Kompany, and finally tried to square off with Mario Balotelli.
Thankfully for Barton, QPR avoided relegating despite conceding two last-minute goals. Barton tried to justify his actions by saying that after elbowing Tevez he wanted to provoke a City player into reacting and also being sent off. His ingenious little plot failed quite spectacularly, and once the dust had settled, Barton was hit with a mammoth 12 match ban and a £75,000 fine by the FA.
QPR also punished him; stripping him of the captaincy and fining him six weeks’ wages totalling an eye-watering £600,000.
6. Complete Nonsense
After his Etihad meltdown, the following four years were relatively quiet for Barton. Bar the odd Twitter dispute (something that is obviously inevitable), and a couple of red cards, Barton’s behaviour had looked to have drastically improved.
Playing for Burnley in the Championship, the 2015/16 season was a successful one for both him and his team. Promotion to the Premier League was achieved, and Barton received the Player of the Year trophy.
Despite this Barton chose to head north and sign for newly-promoted Rangers in Scotland. As soon as he arrived in Glasgow he was up to his old tricks. He deliberately tried to antagonise Celtic captain, Scott Brown, and accused Celtic’s manager, Brendan Rodgers, of going through a midlife crisis.
All of this preceded the first Old Firm game of the season. When Rangers arrived at Celtic Park many neutrals were relishing the Barton vs Brown midfield battle. On the day Barton was useless; slow, off the pace, and poor with the ball, his Celtic counterpart completely outplayed him in a 5-1 win for The Hoops.
The fallout from this defeat was a throwback to Barton from years gone by. After having a heated discussion with Rangers teammate Andy Halliday, Barton was banned from the club for 3 weeks. At the same time, he was publicising his new book, No Nonsense.
It remains to be seen whether this episode will spell the end of Barton’s Rangers career. Whatever happens, we can be almost certain that this won’t be the last we hear from Joey.