Joey Barton seduced by Rangers' history and tradition

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Joey Barton admits he was seduced by the notion of playing for Rangers after knocking back the English Premier League's millions.

The 33-year-old could have stayed on with Burnley after helping Sean Dyche's men to the Sky Bet Championship title but has instead penned a two-year deal with Gers.

The midfielder has foregone a lucrative 12-month deal with the Clarets but Barton insists it is the history of the Ibrox side and the lure of challenging for trophies which persuaded him north.

And a week after being given a guided tour of both Ibrox and the club's training base, he has now promised to help deliver more silverware to the club's famous trophy room as Mark Warburton's men gear up for their return to the Ladbrokes Premiership.

He said: "I came up here a week ago and I was just blown away by the history and tradition in the stadium.

"That is really seductive for someone like myself, who is a football man.

"I had a great tour guide in [assistant boss] Davie Weir. As soon as I walked into the trophy room and saw the portrait of Bill Struth and the 54 pennants on the wall I was just bitten.

"When I saw what had gone before and when I spoke to the gaffer here and saw what an exciting future this football club could have, I thought it was an opportunity I just can't turn down.

"I had great options on the table. I had a phenomenal year at Burnley but what they are going to do next year is a something I've done before.

"I had far better financial offers but I swore to myself a long time ago I would never make a career decision based on finance.

"You've got to be true to yourself as a human being. You've got to be comfortable looking the man in the mirror each morning in the eye. Coming to Rangers allows me to do that and know I'm taking on the correct challenge.

"I've played in the Premier League for a number of years. The last few times I've been battling relegation but in the cold light of day, the competitive animal in me wants to win trophies.

"I had a taste of that last year winning the Championship, with the collective and personal accolades that came with that. The easy thing would have been to stay with Burnley in a comfort zone.

"But I'm very keen to keep challenging my own perception of what the game is and experience as much of this great game as I can.

"Hopefully this is now a very successful period in the club's history and I can contribute to that."

Warburton has been looking for an experienced figure to guide his young side since he himself crossed the border from Brentford last summer.

Barton shied away from declaring himself a role model for his fresh-faced team-mates but the former Manchester City, Newcastle, QPR and Marseille battler does plan to lead by example.

"I have a wealth of football experience based on the fact I'm 33," said Barton, Burnley's player of the year. "But I don't feel I have the body or mentality of somebody at the latter stages of their career. Performances on the pitch over the last 12 months have proved that.

"If I can impart my wisdom on the young players then great but it won't be me getting self-righteous and telling anybody how to behave. Far from it."

Barton's previous form for combustible behaviour will ensure his first Old Firm derby draws a curious and sizeable television audience.

He now presents himself as a far more stable character but while he remains outspoken, he was keen to distance himself from tweets he has previously sent declaring himself a Celtic supporter.

And he warned those who remain to be convinced of his loyalties to the blue half of Glasgow that he will provide an emphatic answer come his first meeting with the Hoops.

"You only support one club," he insisted. "C'mon let's have it right, I'm an Evertonian.

"But coming from a football family, if the Milan derby was on you'd have to pick a side, AC Milan or Inter. If it's Barca vs Real Madrid, I'd have to pick a side. That's just what we do.

"So obviously being Joseph Anthony and having gone to Catholic schools, I didn't really have a choice when it came to it. So I looked out for one of the teams when the Old Firm was on. I've said on Twitter, amongst other things, I'm a Celtic fan.

"You have to take that in jest. I don't think anybody will have any doubt about my allegiances when we play Celtic."

Joey Barton
Accrington Stanley

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