Barton hopes his form has convinced doubters
Friday 24 December 2010
Newcastle United and Joey Barton should have been a match made in heaven right from the off, but three-and-a-half years on they finally seem to have started to click. It's that time of year to reflect on Christmas past. Barton needs little reminding of his whereabouts in 2007, sat in a cell, shortly to be convicted of punching a teenager in the head 20 times, the culmination of a drunken night out that would see him serve 77 days of a six-month sentence for assault. Surely the doors on the last-chance saloon had been locked shut this time?
If that was rock bottom in a lifetime of several apparent nadirs which have been raked over enough not to have to go into further gory detail here, the 28-year-old feels his rollercoaster journey is back in the ascendancy, barring the odd blip, as Morten Gamst Pedersen's stomach will attest.
As he prepares to face his former club Manchester City on Boxing Day, a more settled existence off the pitch has belatedly helped signal one of his most productive spells on it, with the midfielder's impressive form in part the reason why Newcastle occupy a place in the top half of the Premier League, when many expected both them and their troubled talisman to disappear without trace.
"If my life was a plot in EastEnders, you just wouldn't believe it," Barton said. Much the same could be said of the recent history of the club he has been at since a £5.8m move from City in 2007, and where he suggests he would happily spend the rest of his career to quell recent speculation over his future. He added: "When you've had the bad times I've had, times when you think to yourself 'how did I get here?', you enjoy the good times even more.
"I've gone from sitting in a prison cell to doing what I'm doing again. It's been a massive rollercoaster. I went from being at the top of my game to being at the bottom. I get the feeling people think differently of me. Not everyone of course, but people can appreciate the steps I've made in my life to make a difference. It's refreshing someone was prepared to give me an opportunity.
"I'm not out of the woods yet. I've been in enough bad times to enjoy the good times and hopefully they'll carry on here."
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani and Gregorz Krychowiak were all linked but Wenger and Gunners fail on deadline day
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners fans devastated as they become only team in top 5 European leagues not to sign outfield player
David De Gea: Manchester United in bitter war of words with Real Madrid over failed transfer
David De Gea, Peter Odemwingie and the 18 weirdest transfer deadline day stories
Tottenham completed transfers: Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier join but time's up for Paulinho and Etienne Capoue
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up