Bad Boy – Joey Barton’s sad decline

For his entire footballing career, Joey Barton has always took centre stage when the word controversy is mentioned. Whether the Englishman is laying his hands on minors or ‘mooning’ the opposition fans, Barton always seems to find himself making the news headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Recently, the QPR midfielder reached a new low as he set an all time Barclay’s Premier League record. You only have a fleeting education in English football in order to know that this new record set by Barton is indeed a negative one.


For those of you who that have not yet heard about Barton’s most recent act of mischief, all suspense is about to be banished. In QPR’s recent 2-0 victory away to Sunderland, Barton received a yellow card. You might ask what’s the big deal, as this is quite a regular occurrence with Barton. Well, this booking happened to be Barton’s seventh consecutive booking in seven straight Premier League fixtures, a shiny new record in the Premier League.

As things stand, Joey Barton has been shown a yellow card in every league game since the 28th December. This feat sees Barton overtake the duo that previously held the dishonour of most consecutive Premier League bookings, Aston Villa’s Ciaran Clark and Newcastle’s Cheick Tiote who shared six apiece.

The 32-year-old has proven to be a handful for any manager or player that has had to deal with him in his career. Although, he has tamed ever so slightly as he has advanced into his thirties, it is quite understandable to still hold the impression that he could possibly implode at any given moment. It could be a fresh Twitter feud with Piers Morgan or it could be a soap opera on the playing field itself, you just don’t know with Joey.

While we are here discussing Barton’s latest dishonour in the hall of shame and how much of a nuisance he is to his employers, lets take a look back at some of his all time biggest lows and the impact they imposed on both, himself and everyone involved. Warning, the content of this review may be suitable for mature readers only.

In February of 2004, Barton would receive his first of many career red cards. The midfielder picked up two bookings in a FA Cup fourth round tie at Tottenham. Two months later in April, Barton caused a ruckus when he stormed out of Eastlands before kick off after being axed from the match day team to take on Southampton.

Even after the season ended, Barton was still causing uproar. He was heavily criticized by Kevin Keegan for causing a mass brawl in a pre season friendly away to Doncaster.

If we had been away from home in the Premiership and he did that, he would have been sent off

However, Barton’s antics did not prevent him from claiming Manchester City’s player of the year for that season.

In 2005, Barton’s bad deeds started to become more hands on and more controversial. At the club’s Christmas party,  the midfielder stubbed a lit cigar in the eye of young team mate, Jamie Tandy. As a result of his despicable actions, Barton was fined six weeks pay, forced to pay four weeks salary immediately and was suspended for two weeks. Unsurprisingly, Tandy sued Barton and won £65,000 in damages.

If 2004 and 2005 were troublesome years for the City player, 2006 would top them both.

It all began in May of that year. Barton was driving through Liverpool City Centre at a peculiar time of two in the morning. Lo and behold, Barton had broken a pedestrian’s leg. The question remains unanswered? Was Barton drink driving or was it just a careless act on his behalf?


Two months later, and Barton was up to mischief yet again. The midfielder became involved in an altercation with a 15-year-old Everton supporter at Manchester City’s team hotel in Bangkok. City were taking part in a pre season tour in Asia and if it wasn’t for Irishman, Richard Dunne, the young Everton fan could have been toast at the hands of Barton.

Barton was forced to enter anger management therapy by then manager, Stuart Pearce, and the club fined him a further eight weeks pay after he was pleaded guilty of gross misconduct.

However, all the behaviour and anger management classes Barton had been taking part in from 2005-2006, amounted to nothing. It was one of the opening games of the new Premier League season and Manchester City were pitted against Everton at Goodison Park.

Following a 1-1 draw, Barton dropped his shorts in the direction of the home fans, exposing his bare backside, as he was making his way off the field. Barton had to be dragged off the pitch by his team mates, who were rather kindly trying to save their team mate from further embarrassment.

Barton would go on to have a quite season for his troublesome standards and he would not make the headlines again until May 2007. Of course, the headlines he did make were bad ones and this time the Merseyside man would take things a step too far.

Barton was suspended, again, by Manchester City after a training ground confrontation with Ousmane Dabo. The scrap left Dabo in a poor state in hospital and the Frenchman required treatment for the damages he received as a result of Barton’s attack. On 1 July 2008, Barton was handed a four month suspended jail sentence. The FA dished out a 12 match ban and a £25,000 fine.

A month later, City decided that they had enough of Barton and his antics. The club decided to part ways with the once promising midfielder. Barton was booked on 39 occasions and sent off three times in his time at Manchester City.

Newcastle United forked out £5.8 million for the Englishman’s services.

Unfortunately for the Toon army, they were not the ones to finally tame Barton. Halfway through the 2007/2008 season, Barton was arrested in Liverpool City Centre, the place where Barton seems to hang out on a regular basis, following a late night incident at a night club. Barton remanded in custody, thus missing Newcastle’s New Year league fixtures. He was released on January 3.

In the new year, CCTV footage of the late night incident showed Barton punching a man no fewer than 20 times, knocking him out in the process, and assaulting a teenager, breaking some of his teeth.

In May, Barton was jailed for six months after he admitted common assault and affray. It would be fair to say that Barton did not kickstart his United career on a high note.

Barton’s tenure in the North East went from bad to worse when he was heavily criticised by manager, Alan Shearer following a sending off for a reckless challenge on Xabi Alonso in a home game versus Liverpool. Barton was suspended by the club two days later.


In November 2010, Barton would see the all familiar colour of red once again. The centre midfielder was sent off when he punched Blackburn Rovers winger, Morten Gamst Pedersen. Newcastle lost the game 2-1 at St James Park and Barton accepted an FA charge and a three match ban shortly after the game’s end.

In the very same month, Barton sparked further controversy against Liverpool. Barton managed to slither away from punishment despite appearing to be directing homophobic remarks and lewd gestures at Spanish striker, Fernando Torres. Barton was visibly ticked off at his sides 3-1 home defeat to the reds.

This incident was one too many for Newcastle’s liking and Barton was subsequently transfer listed by the Toon club. Barton joined Neil Warnock’s newly promoted QPR side, being handed a handsome wage and the captain’s armband upon his arrival at Loftus Road. Whether these perks were deserved was very questionable.

In January 2012, Barton was the hero turned villain in a home game against fellow newly promoted side, Norwich City. Barton opened the scoring but was later red carded in the 2-1 loss at Loftus Road.

Twitter was now very much popular in the modern world and Barton took to the social media site to launch one of his inaugural attacks from the site. Barton lashed out at English football’s governing body, the FA, branding them an “Orwellian organisation” who were in desperate need of a drastic shake up. This would be the first of many future outbursts Barton would have on Twitter.

Famously, on the last day of the 2011/2012 campaign, Manchester City took on QPR at the Eithiad Stadium. City were playing for their first ever Premier League title, whilst Rangers were fighting for survival in the division.


Barton was skipper of course and his actions were the furthest thing from setting a good example as captain. Barton was shown what must have felt like his 1000th red card of his career, after elbowing Carlos Tevez. Joey Barton, being Joey Barton, didn’t just leave the field in a civil manner like any normal player, no Barton had to put on a soap opera for the football world.

Barton hit Sergio Aguero with a nasty looking knee to the leg, giving the striker a dead leg in the process. Barton, feeling brave, also attempted to headbutt his City counterpart, Vincent Kompany.

In the wake of the drama, Barton attacked his former manager and now Match of the Day pundit, Alan Shearer over Twitter. Shortly after, Barton turned on the show’s presenter, Gary Lineker:

Back under your stone you odious little toad.

On 23 May, the FA handed the midfielder a fresh 12 match ban and a fine worth £75,000. Barton was charged for two acts of violence against Aguero and Kompany respectively. The QPR captain accepted the first charge but denied the second one, but, of course, the final verdict would go against him.

In the summer, it was announced that Barton had put pen to paper on a season long loan deal with Marseille. This was QPR’s way of killing the heat on the skipper as such. However, Barton refused to be gagged during his time in France and as expected the animated star took to social media to voice his ruthless opinions.

QPR had just been relegated to the Championship and Barton demanded to be heard. In a series of tweets Barton put the clubs failures on boss, Mark Hughes and his ridiculous signings.

Barton labelled these players “maggots” and specifically hit out at full back, Jose Bosingwa who was spotted laughing and joking in the players tunnel immediately following the club’s demotion to the second tier. Many deemed Barton a hypocrite for his comments, with the midfielder’s short sightedness causing him to forget his idiotic actions that took place a year earlier.

A matter of weeks later, and Barton was on Twitter again, this time to make an announcement. Barton went on to state that his heart was with Marseille and that he would not be playing Championship football with QPR, implying that he is better than that level of football.

Unluckily for Barton, a permanent move to the South France club and an alternative transfer to Everton, both fell through and he remained isolated in Shepard’s Bush with QPR.


Barton would then go on to tarnish his disciplinary record further, away to Hull City. Joey Barton was sent off in the R’s 2-1 defeat at the KC Stadium for none other than violent conduct after attempting to strike Tom Huddlestone in the testicles right in front of the referee.

At 32 years of age, it is debatable how long Barton has left in his troubled career. It is a shame that Barton had to be such a character off the field because there is no denying that on his day, the boy has some good football skills in his locker.

Unfortunately, the filth in Barton’s career will overshadow his on field contributions and abilities long after his retirement from the game.

The Author

James Nolan

I love to play football, coach football and most importantly write about football. I ply my trade for Wicklow Rovers in the Leinster Senior League and coach a team in the same club. I write for my local newspaper, the Wicklow/Bray People where I provide coverage of local soccer, as well as BackPageFootball.Com.

4 thoughts on “Bad Boy – Joey Barton’s sad decline

  1. It is difficult to understand why the FA continue to allow Barton to play, or why managers continue to employ him, or why the media – including Question Time, FFS – continue to give him a platform to speak. How is he meant to learn when everyone keeps rewarding him despite his disgraceful behaviour?

  2. I agree Bob, it’s a mystery. I was shocked to see how much mischief he’s been up to in his career, when I was doing my research. I knew he was bad but some of these incidents are something else.

  3. You conveniently missed out the 2012/13 season in this article. You suggest that Joey was ‘isolated’ at Loftus Road. Really? Where’s your evidence for this assertion? QPR would not have been promoted to the Premiership without Joey Barton. Here’s an example of why, QPR vs Wigan playoff semi-final second leg:

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