Joey Barton earns a start... at university


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The Independent Online

The notorious English footballer Joey Barton, famous for his combative presence both on the pitch and on Twitter, started a course at Roehampton University last Thursday.

Barton, who currently plays in midfield for Queens Park Rangers, is studying philosophy at the London university.

On Thursday morning, prior to starting, the footballer tweeted: “Off to my first lecture this afternoon. Eyes peeled, ears open, brain engaged...”

Barton has over two million followers on the social networking site, where his tweets have attracted interest and controversy.

The University of Roehampton is currently ranked 84 on the Complete University Guide.

Born in Huyton, Mersyside Barton began his football career playing for Manchester City, gradually appearing more and more in the play. Having made his first cap for England in 2007, he joined Newcastle United in the same year for a reported £5.8m.

Barton’s personal life has not been so smooth.

In 2008 he was sentenced to six months imprisonment for common assault and affray in Liverpool town centre, although he served 77 days of this prison term later in the same year he was given a suspended sentence of four months after admitting to assaulting a former team mate.

His personal life makes for an interesting mixture on Twitter, where commenters have struggled to reconcile his past with his varied tweets on subjects ranging from Isambard Kingdom Brunel to George Orwell to Morrissey.

Earlier this year Barton faced an online backlash from thousands of teenage girls after criticising the singer Justin Bieber on Twitter.