Browse all

5 GIFs that tell us about Joey Barton

Quick snapshots of the troubled career of Huyton's bad boy

5 GIFs that tell us about Joey Barton Quick snapshots of the troubled career of Huyton's bad boy

English-speaking countries often use the expression Jack the lad to define a presumptuous boy with imposing and blatantly shameless attitudes. A sort of a bully. A guy like Joey Barton, the one who stubbed out his lit cigar in youngster James Tandy’s eye, guilty of mocking him a little earlier at the Citizens Christmas party in 2004. This is just one of many episodes that along with the 269 ​​Premier League appearances and 15 years of high level activity, have marked the career of the midfielder born in Liverpool on September 2, 1982. An endless series of events that ended up giving English tabloids publishers a lot to talk about and giving the good old Joe (do not call him "Joey”, he hates when media call him this way) a popular bad boy reputation. When he posts on Twitter, he seems to be using a handbook of general insults (called prick his former manager Alan Shearer, chose dullard to define Frimpong and used odious toad answering Gary Lineker), in everyday life rarely confine himself to use verbal abuse. There are lots of cases of assault, fights and affrays that forced him to face a judge. It was honestly difficult to drastically change the course of his own life, given his tough childhood. His mother left when he was 14 and his uncle was murdered when he was a kid. He attributes his work ethic to his father, but it was mainly his grandmother who took care of him by educating him and keeping him away from drugs, as he later admitted. One of the three brothers - Michael - is still in prison serving a sentence of 18 years for being involved in a racial-related murder. He has never come this far, but his controversial past it’s full of episodes of violence, including the assault on a taxi driver and a long series of fierce fights which led him to spend a few months in jail.


Although media mainly talks about his stunts when they mention his life outside the pitch, Joey Barton has shown that he’s not only violent when he doesn’t play football. In spite of some controversies on that topic, he founded a campaign to encourage his fellow players to wear Rainbow Laces on soccer shoes to support the fight against homophobia. Over the years he also created a podcast ("The Edge with Joey Barton") in which he deals with various current issues, mainly sports, politics and music, of which he has always been said to be a great fan (in a post of few years ago he listed his 5 favorite bands, compiling a very respectable ranking: Oasis, Beatles, Arctic Monkeys, La's and Smiths). 

However - on the pitch - Barton belongs to the typical hard, rough and aggressive player stereotype, similar to Vinnie Jones, who made violence his main course during his career. Specifically, we are interested in the "dirty" and provocative side of Joey Barton as a footballer, and how he managed so easily to build his unshakable reputation over the years.


The punch to Pedersen

Let’s immediately try to argue in favor of the good old Joey: Morst Gamst Pedersen wasn’t a saint and probably not even a player with a stainless moral (as evidenced by his clumsy attempt to deceive 60k people with a theatrical simulation). However, none of this can justify the punch that Barton gave him in a match against Blackburn, whose prodromes are still difficult to understand.


The friendly relationship with Torres

Even when he is not directly involved, Barton always finds a way to enter the discussion and foment frictions. Exactly how it happened during this match against Liverpool. The flashpoint occurred in the second half as Barton appeared to make crude taunts towards the Spanish striker. Some lip-reader said he called Torres a f*cking poof, but this version has never been confirmed. In any case, not the best example of constructive discussion.


How to lost it in key moments

A well-known episode in Italy for the blatantly of the gesture, but above all, thanks to the passionate comment by Massimo Marianella, Sky commentator who documented the story of that Manchester City - Qpr in 2012. Try to imagine the scene: 40 minutes before the final whistle, score is fixed on 1-1. Qpr is a step from relegation and if it does not win it must hope that Stoke does not lose against Bolton. Barton thinks well to elbow Tevez. The result: red card and Qpr in ten men. Not satisfied with that stunt, before leaving the field, he kicked out Agüero on his back. At that point Marianella breaks the role of a super partes commentator, demolishes the fourth wall and sits directly on the sofa with us viewers, loosing up completely: "The same old Barton [...]. He's really a fool [...], he's a criminal, and in fact he's been in jail twice. He is a stupid and a criminal. And he is a coward [...]. He should never be in a Premier League stadium, not even with a ticket. It is the worst image that can be given to a sport. He is a shameful player".



How to upset opponents' fans: Joey Barton's way

What do you do when you lose 1-0, but your team manages to reach a late equalizer? Are you full of joy in the middle of the field, maybe join the lads to celebrate? Nah. Barton decides to send back all the insults received so far, lowering his shorts and showing his arse to the Toffees’ fans who targeted him from the very beginning of the game. Usual diplomatic reaction.



Can’t mess with Joey

It doesn’t matter who you are. Ibrahimovic - after fouling him - tells him something like "you shall be a strong man. So stay on your feet". Barton's reaction - quieter than usual - is not long in coming: ironic response and explicit gesture imitating Ibra’s big nose.


The exaggerated reactions, the continuous scuffles with opponents and teammates (when he sent Dabo to the hospital, for example), ended up creating a real character that almost overshadowed his status as a football player. Today Barton is retired and behind his career it remains some kind of bitterness that almost completely obscures his qualities as a player.

Seneca claimed that "it is a mark of a great spirit to hold great things in contempt and prefer moderate circumstances over excess. For moderation is useful and life-enhancing, whereas excess harms by its abundance". According to Barton way of thinking, he must never have been completely in agreement with the philosopher. After the retirement he summarized his past and his tortuous career: “I used a lot of the dark energy to make myself a footballer. If I’d been a balanced person I’d never have been an elite-level sportsman.”