Joey Barton, a former professional football player and currently a manager of League One team Fleetwood Town has had an interesting career filled with ups and downs in and off the pitch that shaped him into a person he is today. Widely regarded as one of the “dirtiest” players that ever played football, Joey Barton’s career was much more than just that, however, if we want to cover his life, we need to start at the beginning.
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Joey Barton’s Personal Life
Joey Barton was born on September 2nd, 1989 in Huyton, Merseyside, which was recognised as one of the 10 worst places in England to live. While it may not be the best place for a young boy to live in, Huyton is also known for being football-crazy, which played a crucial role in Joey Barton’s life who as a young boy fell in love with the sport and decided he will one day be one of the greatest. Becoming one of the best football players might seem like a long shot, however, considering that Huyton produced some of the most well-known football names up to date, Barton had at least that going for him, as he could join names such as Peter Reid, Steven Gerrard, David Nugent and Tony Hibbert.
As stated by Joey Barton, his childhood was all about football, he did not care about school or any other obligations he had, his only desire was to play football. While he was not among the fastest, strongest nor the most technically gifted player, Joey Barton said he always felt he was a lot tougher than any other kids he played with. He knew that one day he will get to prove that by becoming a professional footballer. In his book, he said that he decided that by the time he was only 7 years old, and never let go of that dream. It might sound silly, however, he only needed 7 years to set his life goal and there was nothing that would stop him. Well… except for his grandmother, who forced him to study for school exams. While he did listen to his “nan” and studied for exams, his goal of playing as a professional footballer was still his main priority. Trying to be the best football player he could be, Barton played football in pick-up games in his town. Facing countless types of players, some of which by his words played quite brutal football, Barton slowly but surely sharpened his skills on the streets of Huyton which prepared him well for his career as a professional footballer.
Joey Barton’s Football Career
Alongside playing kick bouts with his mates, Barton also played for a local team names St Anne’s. He was by his words the best player in that club, and while we could question the authenticity of his claims, there is no denying he was among the best, considering he got approached by an Everton scout. With only 9 years of age, Joey Barton joined the Everton team, which was also his favourite club. He remained at the club until the age of 16, when the new academy director said Barton was too small to make it as a midfielder, which resulted in Barton leaving Everton. Knowing he must improve as a player if he was ever going to make it in professional football, Barton started training even harder and ultimately got spotted by Manchester City, who offered him a spot in their U23 team. By proving himself in the U23 team, Barton got a spot in the senior team in 2003, which marked the start of his professional football career.
Joey Barton remained at Manchester City for 4 years, where he accumulated 150 appearances. In 2007 Barton got traded to Newcastle, where he remained for 4 more years until he packed his bags and headed over to QPR in 2011. During his time at QPR, Joey Barton got loaned out to Marseille, where he spent one season, returning back to England in 2013. In 2015 Barton moved to Burnley and to Rangers one year later. During his time at Rangers, Barton got in an argument with Andy Halliday which ultimately resulted in Rangers terminating his contract with immediate effect. On January 2nd, 2017, Barton returned to Burnley, however, faced an FA ban on April 26th due to gambling incident. On May 23rd, 2017 Barton was released by Burnley and decided to end his football career in 2018.
Joey Barton – Incidents
Looking back Joey Barton was not among the best football players in the world, however, still managed to become one of the best-known football names in the world. It was not his quality as a player, but his style of play and controversy surrounding his name that made Barton stand out of the rest of football players. Widely considered to be one of the dirtiest players in the world, Joey Barton did not only get in fights on but off the pitch as well. Two of the most talked about incidents were when Barton was arrested on suspicion of assault, criminal damage and an incident in 2004, when Barton stubbed out a cigar in youth team player Jamie Tandy’s eye. While all very unsportsmanlike events, the mentioned incidents are only a tip of the iceberg of Barton’s misdemeanours.
Joey Barton – Gambling
To top it all off, Barton was charged with breaking rules in relation to gambling on football matches. He was accused by Scottish Football Association of placing 44 bets on matches between July 1st and September 15th, 2016. In December he was accused of placing over 1200 bets in the span of the last 10 years, which he admitted of doing in 2017. Football Association then gave Barton an 18-month-ban which ultimately ended his football career.
Following his career as a professional football player, Joey Barton decided to try himself out as a football coach and it did not take long for him to find a club that was willing to sign him as their new head coach. League One club Fleetwood Town announced in April 2018 that they signed Barton as a new manager, who will get to start managing the club on June 2nd when his FA ban was planned to be lifted. While he did not manage to impress as a manager with his new club, Barton did make sure he once again appeared in the news, and again for all the wrong reasons. As it was reported, he allegedly assaulted Daniel Stendel following a 4-2 defeat against Barnsley.
While there can be a lot of negative things to say about Barton, there are also plenty of positives to mention about him and his work. Joey Barton is a patron of the Tamsin Gulvin Found, which is a charity set up to support people who have addiction problems and no financial support to help themselves. Barton was given this role by Tony Adams who was impressed by Barton’s involvement in the Sporting Chance Clinic. Barton is also a part of the “Get Hooked on Fishing” campaign, which helps young children keep out of trouble by encouraging them to take up fishing. Additionally, Joey Barton took part in a celebrity cricket match to help fund a new children’s rehabilitation unit at a hospital in Manchester.
On top of attending many charities, Barton also did his part in helping the homeless by regularly writing a column The Big Issue, which is then sold by the homeless.
As a player who will go down in history as one of the dirtiest players due to all his incidents, Joey Barton also has a positive side which is sadly overshadowed due to all the incidents that he was involved in in the past. However, by now, he has most likely come to terms with the fact that he will always be in one way or another known as a football “bad boy”.
Sports journalist, content writer and passionate football lover.