Joey Barton is a player that has become no stranger to controversy over his career and he often divides opinions; but whilst he is on the look out for a new club, his past will do him more harm than good.
After being released by QPR this summer, Joey Barton had been in talks with West Ham but the deal broke down after fans reacted angrily on Twitter, with threatened protests if the 32 year-old signed for the London club. As a gesture to the West Ham fans he posted a video (scroll down to view) addressing them, reported BBC Sport.
In the video, he thanked fans who had left kind messages for him on social media and "especially Twitter", a platform in which is a very prominent figure. He said he wanted to wish the fans "all the best in the future" and stated it was "exciting times" for the club.
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Although this video was generally well received, Barton is normally much more controversial on twitter and in the media, most recently upsetting Bournemouth and Villa fans. He claimed in a BBC 5 Live interview, that during the opening weekend clash between the two clubs, the best player was himself in the stands.
Further back, all throughout his career, his opinions, comments and, even more so, his actions on and off the pitch have landed him in trouble.
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In one of his most recent tweets he said:
In 2004, whilst at Manchester City, he sparked a ten-man fight during a pre-season friendly against Doncaster Rovers and later in the year he was almost sacked for an incident at the club's Christmas party. He got away with only being fined six weeks of wages.
Three years later, his career and City was brought to a close after assaulting a teammate during training and a year after that he was again involved in assault allegations. The incident in Liverpool city centre, ended with Barton's imprisonment for 4 months.
Although, for the veteran, who has been described as "the Premier League's dirtiest player", most of his punishments came in the form of match bans. Several career red cards and other bans for off-pitch events all contribute to his poor disciplinary record.
He's a player who speaks his mind, and although some praise him for that, his regular critique of teammates, managers, fans and opposition often gets him in trouble and his only ever England cap was surrounded by controversy after he ranted about several of his fellow England players.
With all of his record and history for causing a stir, any club looking at him will have to take that into account, regardless of actual talent. It's a past that will certainly not help in his struggle to pen a new deal.
Although, a recent poll revealed 72% of Newcastle fans would be happy to have Barton back at the Tyneside club, but what the future holds for him is uncertain. Wherever he ends up, one thing's for sure though, Joey Barton will not stay under the radar.
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