Joey Barton appeals to Marseille fans not to pre-judge him, saying bad reputation is 'a bit unfair'

 

Joey Barton believes he is ready to make his mark at Marseille after settling into French life.

The controversial midfielder joined OM on loan from QPR after being handed a 12-match domestic ban following his sending off on the last day of the 2011/12 season.

Suspension has prevented him from making his league bow, but he made his debut against Fenerbache in the Europa League and is ready to line-up in another European clash against Limassol on Thursday.

Barton has thanked the club for easing his transition into new surroundings and is now hoping to help pay them back on the pitch.

"I thought that integration would be more difficult in French football, the French culture and way of life, but it was facilitated by the club," he told the Marseille's official website.

"The staff and players have been incredibly welcoming. It's like a family. Everyone helps everyone, people talk, say hello, are kind and friendly. Many clubs are not like that. Where I come from, there are many clubs where the players and the staff are separated from the rest.

"The club has helped me tremendously and this has made my life easier.

"The team has already won six league matches, so it will not be easy for me (to make the starting XI).

"There are some very good players here, but when you want to be a big club you must have a team of 15, 16 or 17 players. All players cannot play every week and I hope to bring something different to the team and become an important member."

Barton admits his disciplinary problems in England will not go away immediately, but has appealed for his new club's fans to judge him only on his efforts for Marseille.

"It is difficult because my bad reputation, I find it a bit unfair," he added.

"But it's hard to say that when you look at some of the incidents in which I've been involved.

"However, I hope that people in France, and here in Marseille, judge me on what I do here and not in relation to what they read.

"The English media love to make headlines and dramatise because, as English football is the number one sport there, it is is also one that generates the most media coverage on television and in the press.

"They are stories like Hollywood, far from the truth."

PA

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