JOEY BARTON

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By JON LIVESEY jonl@sun­daysport.co.uk

NOW the footie sea­son is in full flow you can watch the sport’s pam­pered prima don­nas.

But in our Head The Balls fea­ture, we’re re­mind­ing you of the vi­o­lent nut­ters, randy rebels and pea­cock­ing play­boys who over the years have graced the beau­ti­ful game with their pres­ence.

Ev­ery week we’ll be look­ing at a dif­fer­ent one of the sport’s most men­tal mav­er­icks.

And this week it’s the ha­bit­ual tweeter with a pen­chant for vi­o­lence, Joey Barton.

JOEY Barton reck­ons he is “too in­tel­li­gent to be a foot­baller”. The ev­i­dence sug­gests oth­er­wise.

In the first few months of his pro­fes­sional ca­reer at Man City he was sent off, stormed out of the ground af­ter be­ing dropped and was blamed for spark­ing a mass brawl.

His be­hav­iour was put down to youth­ful folly, but it was a sign of far worse to come.

At City’s Christ­mas fancy dress party in De­cem­ber 2004, Barton – who was dressed as the now-dis­graced telly star Jimmy Sav­ile – stubbed a lit ci­gar in the eye of youth player Jamie Tandy.

He was fined six weeks’ wages and later sued by Tandy, who he nearly blinded, for £65,000.

Then, in May 2005, he broke the leg of a pedes­trian while driv­ing his car at 2am in Liver­pool city cen­tre and fol­lowed it up by get­ting into a skir­mish with a 15-year-old Ever­ton fan in Thai­land, land­ing him a hefty fine and a course of anger man­age­ment ses­sions.

Sadly, the ther­apy didn’t seem to have much ef­fect.

Pun­ish­ment

Barton hit the head­lines again in Septem­ber 2006 when he showed his arse to Ever­ton fans, spark­ing a po­lice probe. In De­cem­ber he was sent off for a two-footed lunge.

His most vi­o­lent mo­ments were yet to come.

He was ar­rested in May 2007 on sus­pi­cion of as­sault and crim­i­nal dam­age fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent in­volv­ing a taxi driver, but was later cleared.

He was, how­ever, un­able to es­cape pun­ish­ment af­ter a train­ing-ground fight with team-mate Ous­mane Dabo, who needed hospi­tal treat­ment for a de­tached retina.

As well as be­ing sus­pended by City, he was charged with as­sault and later re­ceived a four-month sus­pended sen­tence for the at­tack. He also ad­mit­ted an FA charge of vi­o­lent con­duct and was banned for 12 matches and fined £25,000.

But even while the Dabo case was open, Barton found it dif­fi­cult to keep out of trou­ble.

Af­ter mov­ing to New­cas­tle, he was in­ves­ti­gated for a tackle on Sun­der­land’s Dick­son Etuhu and de­scribed his own club’s fans as “vi­cious”.

Then, round­ing off the year in true style, he was charged with com­mon as­sault and af­fray af­ter an in­ci­dent in Liver­pool. At the court case, CCTV footage showed Barton punch­ing a man 20 times, knock­ing him out cold, and at­tack­ing a teenager, break­ing his teeth. He was jailed for six months, serv­ing 77 days af­ter ad­mit­ting he was an al­co­holic.

The fol­low­ing year, Barton had to deny cel­e­brat­ing a goal with a Nazi-style salute, claim­ing he had pointed to his mous­tache and raised his arms as part of a pri­vate joke.

And in Novem­ber 2010 he was charged with vi­o­lent con­duct again, this time for punch­ing Black­burn’s Morten Gamst Pedersen in the ribs.

Even­tu­ally, Barton was sold to QPR in 2011 af­ter slag­ging off New­cas­tle’s own­ers on Twit­ter.

But in the fi­nal match of the 2011-12 sea­son – against his old club City – Barton was red-carded af­ter clash­ing with Car­los Tevez, Ser­gio Aguero and Vin­cent Kom­pany, who he tried to head­butt.

In the af­ter­math, he took to Twit­ter, call­ing Match Of The

Day host Gary Lineker an “odi­ous toad” be­fore be­ing banned for 12 matches and fined £75,000. He was sent on loan to French club Mar­seille.

Be­tween matches, Barton of­ten ar­gues with peo­ple on Twit­ter, most re­cently former Liver­pool and Ger­many star Di­et­mar Ha­mann.

Fool­ish

Re­fer­ring to the con­tro­ver­sies that have plagued his ca­reer, Barton, 30, said: “When I sit down and think about it – the mis­de­meanours I’ve had, with the things that go on in the real world – the things I have done are stupid and fool­ish.

“But they are not war crimes. That’s what gets me.

“When foot­ballers are on the front page and on page seven is some­thing about sol­diers dy­ing or real tragedies, I ask my­self, ‘How we can jus­tify that?’”

YOU NUT­TER! Barton clashes with Aguero

dur­ing his in­fa­mous spat at the Etid­had

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