Barton: Rebel with an amazing capacity for trouble

A troubled, truculent, violent, outspoken rebel. A one-man war against the establishment. When most football fans think of their least favourite English footballer, there is a good chance that it is Joseph Anthony Barton who appears in their mind's eye.

Throughout his short and relatively unremarkable playing career, Joey Barton, 25, has shown an astonishing capacity to attract trouble and controversy culminating in this week's arrest for an alleged assault in Liverpool. His hair-trigger temper has seen him attack team-mates without warning. His acidic comments have made him one of the game's most eminently quotable players but, for many of his fellow professionals, one of its least liked.

The Liverpudlian who grew up in the same Huyton district in Liverpool as Steven Gerrard has always struggled against a difficult upbringing to try to make the most of his undoubted talent. That family background caught up with him in December 2005 when his half-brother Michael was convicted of the racist murder of a black student, Anthony Walker, five months before. But not before Michael went on the run and was the subject of a public appeal by Barton to give himself up.

For having a relative capable of such an evil act there was sympathy for Barton. For the rest of his long list of misdemeanours the Newcastle midfielder has only had himself to blame. His most serious violent outburst to date was the incident that led to his assault charge for an alleged attack on the French midfielder Ousmane Dabo during a training session with Manchester City in April 2007.

The case is expected in court at the end of the season. Shortly after the attack, Dabo alleged that Barton had attacked him from behind and knocked him out before he could defend himself.

That incident was the breaking point for City who sold him to Newcastle a few months later for 5.8m having put up with more than one episode of Barton bad behaviour. At the club's 2004 Christmas party Barton infamously stubbed a cigar into the eye of the City youth-team player Jamie Tandy.

What followed was a 70,000 fine and a public apology by Barton. The irony of Barton's indiscretions is that he always appears to be genuinely sorry and then gets into trouble soon afterwards. On this occasion Barton broke the leg of a pedestrian when he was driving his car in Liverpool in 2005.

That summer life got even worse for Barton when he got in a fight with the City captain Richard Dunne during the club's pre-season tour to Thailand. The incident took place in the lobby of the Bangkok Radisson hotel when Barton struck a 15-year-old Everton fan. Dunne attempted to intervene and was attacked. Barton was fined eight weeks' wages and sent home by his then manager Stuart Pearce.

Only then did Barton undertake counselling at Tony Adams' Sporting Chance clinic. "It's been spelt out to Joey this is his last chance," Pearce said. But there would be more mistakes dropping his shorts in front of Everton fans in September 2006, for one and more forgiveness for the City midfielder.

His one England call-up was to play Spain in a friendly in February this year soon after he launched into an attack on the "bullshit" autobiographies written by England footballers in the aftermath of their 2006 World Cup failure.

Now at Newcastle he has bought a house in the Jesmond area of the city and had showed signs of settling down at long last. His recent comments that the Newcastle fans were "vicious" have not helped supporters simply do not believe he has done enough for the club yet to merit such outspoken attacks.

So far his most memorable contribution for Newcastle has been a waist-high tackle on Sunderland's Dickson Etuhu. He was booed off in the draw against Derby on Sunday and on the bench against Wigan on Boxing Day. He may yet say that after this latest incident he has learned his lesson but the evidence suggest that in Barton's life, history has a habit of repeating itself.

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week