Monday, May 14, 2012

Is Joey Barton quite possibly the worst role model in the history of football?

Joseph Anthony Barton has had a chequered career both on and off the pitch. Only yesterday the Merseyside born footballer was sent off for QPR, sparking outrageous scenes during his teams final and most important game of the 2011/12 season.

His behaviour yesterday as the red mist descended was by no means the first time he has been sent off in his career, but his behaviour off the pitch is equally disturbing. He has a catalogue of criminal offences to his name, and it will be interesting to see how the football hierarchy propose to deal with this latest bust-up as Barton seemingly ‘lost the plot,’ and tried to angrily confront anyone and everyone on the pitch in a display of hooliganism of unbelievable proportions!
He then went onto twitter that same evening ranting at ex-footballer and TV pundit Alan Shearer.

Here follows a list of his inexcusable misdemeanours that simply begs the question: Is this man of sound mind and judgement?

At Manchester City FC:

Feb 2004 – In an n FA Cup match against Tottenham Barton receives the first red card of his career in unusual circumstances: At half-time, with his club 3–0 down, he argued with the referee and received a second booking resulting in his dismissal, although the match was not in progress at the time

July 2004 - Barton sparked a ten-man brawl in a friendly match against Doncaster Rovers after "hacking" at an opposition player.

Dec 2004 - In an incident at the Manchester City Christmas party Barton stubbed out a lit cigar in youth player Jamie Tandy's eye, after he had caught Tandy attempting to set fire to his shirt. Barton subsequently apologised for his actions and was fined six weeks' wages (£60,000).

Summer 2005 - Violence continued with Barton after he was sent home from a pre-season tournament in Thailand after he assaulted a 15 year old Everton supporter. The boy provoked Barton by verbally abusing him and kicking his shin. Richard Dunne was forced to restrain Barton from attacking the boy anymore. He underwent anger management therapy at the order of City manager Stuart Pearce and paid £120,000 in club fines.

Sept 2006 - His behaviour appeared to improve after his participation at the Sporting Chance clinic. However, on 30 September 2006, television cameras captured Barton exposing his backside to Everton fans, following City's injury-time equaliser in a game at Goodison Park. Barton had received abuse from Everton supporters throughout the match and the gesture has since been described as "light-hearted" and "inoffensive" by people involved in football. Barton was fined £2,000 for bringing the game into disrepute and warned about his future conduct by The Football Association

Dec 2006 - In December 2006, Barton received the second red card of his career, for a late two-footed tackle on Bolton Wanderers player Abdoulaye Diagne-Faye

Feb 2007 - Barton openly criticised certain members of the England squad for releasing autobiographies after an unimpressive 2006 World Cup. He suggested players had ‘cashed in’ on the national team’s lack of success. He wrote: "England did nothing in that World Cup, so why were they bringing books out? 'We got beat in the quarter-finals. I played like shit. Here's my book.' Who wants to read that?" - Joey Barton

April 2007 - Barton displayed his outspokenness once again when he publicly criticised City's performances during the 2006–07 season, and described some of the players the club had signed as "substandard". Following his comments, City's manager Stuart Pearce banned him from speaking to the media. May 2007 - Barton was fined £100,000 and suspended by City until the end of the season following an incident during training when he assaulted his team mate Ousmane Dabo. Dabo said that he had been hit several times, was left unconscious and had to go to hospital after suffering injuries to his head, including a suspected detached retina. Dabo requested that the police press charges against Barton, and as a result, Barton was arrested and questioned by Greater Manchester Police. This altercation effectively ended Barton's time at City, Barton was bailed until August and was later charged with assault, to which he initially pleaded not guilty. He later changed this to a guilty plea and on 1 July 2008 was sentenced to a four-month suspended prison sentence plus 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay £3,000 compensation and Dabo's court costs. Barton was also charged with violent conduct by the FA. Barton pleaded guilty and on 1 September 2008 was banned for six games with a further six game ban suspended for two years and fined £25,000.

At Newcastle United FC:

Nov 2007 - In his first Tyne-Wear derby for the Toon against Sunderland, he appeared to dangerously raise his foot in a challenge with Dickson Etuhu with headlines following the game being ‘Ban Him’.
The FA were unable to charge Barton for the incident because match official Martin Atkinson did not witness the act take place; Barton later apologised for the tackle.

Dec 2007 - On 27 December 2007, Barton was arrested on suspicion of assault in the Church Street area of Liverpool city centre following an incident at around 5:30 am. He remained in custody on 28 December since the offence was committed while he was on bail for two prior offences.
CCTV showed Barton punching a man twenty times causing him to lose consciousness, and attacking a teenager; breaking some of his teeth.

May 2008 - Barton was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty for his part in the assault in Liverpool city centre. Barton admitted to being an alcoholic and served 77 days of his prison term before being released on 28 July 2008.

May 2009 - Following a spell on the sidelines due to a knee injury he made his first appearance in over three months at Liverpool on the 3 May. Barton was sent off late in the 3–0 loss at Anfield for a sliding challenge on Xabi Alonso. The red card ruled Barton out of Newcastle's remaining three games of the season, with the club in danger of relegation from the Premier League.
Newcastle manager Alan Shearer raised doubts about Barton's future at the club, saying: "I think it would be wrong to discuss his future now, but I'm not very happy."
On 5 May, Newcastle United announced the suspension of Barton indefinitely, and Barton was told to stay away from the club. As a result, Barton's future at Newcastle United was put in doubt. The club suspension was widely reportedly to have resulted not directly from the red card, but from a dressing room confrontation with Shearer and assistant manager Iain Dowie following the game.
Shearer said he made a mistake putting Barton back into the team, and that his tackle was "a coward's tackle", to which Barton replied that he was "the best player at the club," and Shearer had to play him. Shearer said that Barton wasn't, that he was "sh*t." Barton replied that Shearer was "a sh*t manager with sh*t tactics". When Dowie intervened, Barton called him "a pr*ck."

Nov 2010 - In a 2–1 defeat to Blackburn, Barton again acted violently, punching Morten Gamst Pedersen in the chest. He was not punished during the game as the officials did not see the incident, but after reviewing the evidence, the FA again charged Barton with violent conduct. Barton apologised, accepted the charge, and was banned for three matches.

Dec 2010 - Barton courted controversy once again during Newcastle's 3–1 win over Liverpool on 11 December 2010, when he appeared to direct homophobic remarks and a lewd gesture at Fernando Torres.

Feb 2011 - He was involved in an altercation with Arsenal’s Abou Diaby which led to a straight red card for Diaby. Diaby took offence to Barton's strong challenge and retaliated by grabbing Barton by the neck and shoving him to the ground.

Aug 2011 – On 13 Aug Barton was involved in an altercation with Gervinho of Arsenal, which got Gervinho sent off on his debut. Then, Alex Song stamped on Barton, for which Song received a three-match ban. Barton later revealed he was on a verge of joining Arsenal but his incident with Gervinho ended his hopes of a move to the Emirates and instead, he joined Queens Park Rangers on 26 August 2011.

Arsenal's Gervinho and Barton square-up!

At Queen Park Rangers FC:

Sept 2011 - He was handed the captains armband on his debut with the club in August and scored his first goal on 17 September against Wolves. Following the goal, Barton was involved in a physical confrontation with Wolves player Karl Henry. The pair had clashed before when Barton was at Newcastle and Barton claimed Henry "tries to hurt people," while Henry said Barton was "embarrassing."

Jan 2012 - Barton scored the opening goal against Norwiich but was given a straight red card after head-butting Norwich midfielder Bradley Johnson

13 May 2012 - On the final day of the season, with QPR requiring at least a draw in their match away at Manchester City or for Bolton Wanderers to lose or draw to guarantee their Premier League safety, Barton was sent off in the fifty-fifth minute for violent misconduct after elbowing Carlos Tévez in the face. Immediately after being shown a red card, Barton kicked Sergio Agüero in the back of the knee and attempted to head-butt Vincent Kompany. Barton had to be dragged from the pitch by former team-mate Mica Richards as he rowed with Manchester City players and staff and attempted to square-off with striker Mario Balotelli.

QPR's Joey Barton 'loses the plot' in Sunday's crunch match v. Man City.

After the game Barton posted the following on the social networking site twitter:

"Shearer's still on my case.....I know I f***ed up Alan, thanks for stating the obvious.”
"Whilst were both stating the obvious about each other, can I just say for the record what a great player u were. Well better me......”
"But I have a better hair (which is not hard), wear well better shirts on TV and have a personality (something u lack).”
"P.S. My final point, ur a s*** pundit/manager......”
"I really don't like that p****, in fact I honestly despise him......Goodnight."

Whilst it is impossible to condone any criminal activity or behavioural issues involving Joey Barton I feel it is only fair that I should try, however difficult I find it, to attempt to understand what makes Barton such a volatile character. In no way does it make his behaviour acceptable, but his family and so called friends may be a factor, or have had a bearing or influence on why Barton behaves in such a despicable manner.
I am not making excuses for Barton, simply putting forward my thoughts!

Barton as a professional footballer is in a very privileged position, one which he has chosen to abuse.
He had a good schooling, but Barton's brother Michael, was sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in the racially motivated murder of Anthony Walker in 2005.  In December 2007 when Barton was arrested on suspicion of assault, Barton's cousin, Nadine Wilson and his brother Andrew Barton were also involved and both also pleaded guilty to their part in the assault.

You have to wonder if the behaviour of his family and friends or the environment in which he was brought up in affected him more than he or anybody else ever realised! However we all have major set backs in our lives and we try and overcome whatever is thrown at us by becoming bigger and better people as a result.

Also remember that although Barton has committed some vile and unacceptable crimes he is not is not a murderer, sex offender or a child abuser, but more a bully and a thug..….and a repeat offender at that, it has to be said.

On a more positive note Barton is involved in charity work and is patron of the Tamsin Gulvin Fund, a charity set up to support people who have addiction problems and no financial support. . He is also a part of the 'Get Hooked on Fishing' campaign, designed to keep children out of trouble by encouraging them to take up fishing. And in 2011 he began writing a regular column in The Big Issue, a street newspaper sold by the homeless and vulnerably housed.

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