Claim To Fame
Sadly, despite his progress on the pitch, a lot of Barton’s claims to fame have been for the wrong reasons.
He came close to being sacked by Manchester City when, at the club’s 2004 Christmas party, he drunkenly stubbed a cigar into the eye of a trainee player, Jamie Tandy.
Last summer, on City’s pre-season tour to Thailand, Barton had an altercation with a young Everton fan at the team’s hotel, an incident in which captain Richard
Dunne was also injured. Barton was disciplined by the club, being sent home from the tour.
Barton has also had to deal with the fact his younger half-brother Michael Barton and his cousin Phil Taylor were found guilty of murdering black student Anthony
Walker with an axe in a racially-motivated attack in Liverpool, and are now serving life sentences in prison.
On 30th September 2006, he was seen on TV dropping his shorts to jeering Everton fans after Manchester City equalised in injury-time at Goodison Park. Merseyside
Police looked into the ‘mooning’ incident but took no further action, but Barton was fined £2,000 and warned about his future conduct by the FA.
On 13th March 2007, he was arrested on suspicion of criminal assault and criminal damage after an alleged argument with a taxi driver in Liverpool as he went to his
hotel after a match.
Then on 1st May 2007, Barton was suspended by Manchester City until the end of the 2006/07 season following a bust-up with team-mate Ousmane Dabo at the City training
ground. Dabo alleged that he had been hit several times, and had to go to hospital for treatment to facial and eye injuries. Dabo asked the police to press charges
against Barton, and as a result, on 16th May 2007, Barton was arrested and questioned by Greater Manchester Police. He has been bailed until July.
In January 2007, his agent McKay revealed that under the terms of his contract, if any club offered at least £5.5 million for Barton, Manchester City would have to
allow Barton to talk to them. Everton manager David Moyes immediately asked City about Barton’s availability, but the player himself said: “People are trying to unsettle
me, but I’m happy to stay here.” However, when City suspended him for the Dabo fracas, his time at Eastlands appeared to over, and Newcastle duly offered the required
trigger price. A dispute over another clause in Barton’s contract, regarding £300,000 to be paid to him by City if he was transferred without requesting the move, delayed
the switch to St James’ Park until the Magpies resolved the matter by raising their offer to £5.8 million. So on 14th June he officially became a Newcastle United player.
Barton is a combative midfielder who typically gives his all in every game. He has a decent scoring record for a midfielder and has netted with some memorable long-range
That is one of the aspects of his game that attracted Allardyce, who said: “Joey has been among the goalscorers for Manchester City over the last two years and I felt
this was the biggest area where Newcastle needed to improve having looked at the goal-scoring ratio of midfield players last season. There’s no doubt about his outstanding
qualities and no doubt about his desire to play football at a club capable of winning something.”
On 2nd February 2007, a run of impressive form for City saw Barton called-up to the full England squad for the first time, for the friendly match against Spain. He
duly made his senior international debut on 7th February 2007, replacing Frank Lampard in the 78th minute of England’s 1-0 defeat by the Spaniards at Old Trafford.
Did You Know?
By 2006, Barton’s off-field problems, which had cost him £120,000 in club fines, resulted in his undergoing anger management therapy at the request of Manchester City
manager Stuart Pearce, who had given the midfielder a choice: straighten out your life or ruin your career. Barton checked in to Sporting Chance, a charity started by
former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams to help sportsmen and sportswomen deal with alcoholism and other addictive and behavioural problems.
Barton’s therapy was made public when he visited a school on behalf of the charity and told pupils not to repeat his mistakes. He also spoke of his half-brother, and
told the children that when faced with the problems of the last year he had found that walking away was not the answer.
His new manager Sam Allardyce, responding to question’s about Barton’s controversial past, said: “He’s got a little bit of baggage off the field, yes. I think he admits
that himself. In my time at Bolton, we had lots of people come with that sort of reputation but have found that, with a little bit of gentle care and handling, hopefully
he’ll mature and we’ll see the last of those disturbances.”
Despite his reputation, Barton is also respected for his forthright honesty. Last season he articulated what many Manchester City fans were thinking when declared:
“This club and its fans deserve to be at the highest level. If I was a fan I wouldn’t have paid to watch us at home this season. There has to be a plan. Everyone seems
to have one in place but at the moment it just feels like this club is praying to get the right players this summer.”
He was also critical of City’s recruitment policy, saying: “There is no way Reading have spent more than us and no way Everton have either, but they seem to have
overachieved. Bolton have not spent big either. I know they paid a lot of money for Nicolas Anelka but we paid a lot for Georgios Samaras. You have to face facts.
We have not brought quality in. One or two have done all right but not enough to take the team onto the next level. We can’t gamble on players who have scored
six goals in six games in the Pontins League or in Belgium. I know a lot of the supporters are umming and ahhing about whether to buy their season tickets. They
go out and work hard. It is a lot of money to buy a season ticket at our place and they are not getting value for money.”
Last season Barton also blasted the rash of autobiographies by England “stars” that were rushed out after the national team’s particularly uninspired World Cup.
“I can’t get my head round that,” said Barton. “England did nothing in that World Cup, so why were they bringing books out? ‘We got beaten in the quarter-finals.
I played like s***. Here’s my book.’ Who wants to read that? I don’t. If I’m buying a book I’ll buy a book about someone who’s won something. Not a book someone’s
written for the sake of it because their agent’s telling them they can cash in on the English public on the back of the World Cup. I know football is a well-oiled
PR machine these days, but that’s just bull.”
View of a city fan on Bartons “mooning”
“I am a City Fan and went to the game on Saturday with a few friends who are Everton Season Ticket Holders and was sat in the home section and
listened throughout the game to the chants of “where’s your brother gone” and other abuse aimed at Joey.
I didnt see it at the time and only read about it in yesterday’s paper and even my Everton supporting Friends think it is a bit OTT having the
Police involved as having put up with the abuse for 90 minutes they too think it was funny him getting his own back at the end.
One final point, at the end of the game Joey went over to a disabled City Fan and handed over his shirt. This was shown apparently on MOTD which
I didnt see nor have I read about this in any newspaper. After all, this kind act on Joey’s part is not what gets tongues wagging.”