What Joey Barton did during six-month prison sentence in 2008 shows his passion for gambling

Joey Barton has announced his intention to appeal the 18-month suspension he has received in relation to betting charges.

The Burnley midfielder was hit with the ban, as well as a £30,000 fine, after placing 1,260 bets on matches between 2006 and 2016.

Barton even backed his own team to lose.

Barton, while accepting responsibility for breaking the FA’s betting rules, hit out at the governing body for coming down hard on him despite having strong ties with various betting companies.

“I think if the FA is truly serious about tackling the culture of gambling in football, it needs to look at its own dependence on the gambling companies, their role in football and in sports broadcasting, rather than just blaming the players who place a bet,” the 34-year-old wrote in a statement.

“Surely they need to accept there is a huge clash between their rules and the culture that surrounds the modern game, where anyone who watches follows football on TV or in the stadia is bombarded by marketing, advertising and sponsorship by betting companies, and where much of the coverage now, on Sky for example, is intertwined with the broadcasters’ own gambling interests.”

Barton’s been surrounded by a betting culture

But betting has always been a part of Barton’s life. He says he “grew up in an environment where betting was and still is part of the culture,” and family members would place bets on the Grand National for him while he was young.

He even admitted to a gambling addiction in his statement.

He continued: “I have fought addiction to gambling and provided the FA with a medical report about my problem.”

Even during his six-month stint in Walton prison in 2008, the midfielder managed to get involved in gambling.

In Barton’s autobiography, ‘No Nonsense’, the former Manchester City midfielder revealed that he became the prison’s “unofficial bookmaker”, taking bets on the European Championships in Austria and Switzerland.

How Barton became the prison’s bookmaker

“He (Barton’s cellmate, Billy) urged me to find my place in the system, which I duly discovered scanning the racing page,” Barton wrote, via the Daily Mail. “I had a eureka moment studying the form, and realised the prison lacked a bookie.

“I borrowed Billy’s chocolate stash to establish a float, gave us insurance by skimming the original odds, and recorded all bets in a notebook. Before long we were an illegitimate version of Cadbury World.

“I diversified, using my inside knowledge to create a range of markets for that summer’s European Championships in Austria and Switzerland. It didn’t matter that England had failed to qualify.

“I offered odds on opening goalscorer, number of cards, timing of goals and the final result. When confectionery supplies ran low, we accepted toiletries, bedding and food privileges as stakes.

“The screws inevitably discovered our scam, but were sanguine about its success, since they trusted us to prevent inmates getting too deep into debt.”

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