The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

When Life Imitates Dream Team: the Barton edition

Posted by steigs on May 21, 2008

It’s the summer, transfer season in the English Premiership.  Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton is looking at a relatively novel loan — six months in the penal league:

England international footballer Joey Barton was jailed for six months yesterday for a “violent and cowardly attack” outside a branch of McDonald’s after he became embroiled in a street fight at the end of a drunken night out in Liverpool.

The Premier League player, who signed for Newcastle in a £5.8m deal from Manchester City last summer, had drunk 10 pints of lager and five more bottles of lager before launching a sustained attack on a stranger and punching a 16-year-old boy in the face.

Now 15 (!) beers might be enough to make anyone stupid, if they’re able to be upright.  But Barton has a long history of thuggish behavior:

The incident took place as the player was awaiting trial for two other offences, which he denies; alleged assault and criminal damage of a taxi – for which he will appear before Liverpool magistrates on May 30 – and the alleged assault of a former Manchester City teammate, Ousmane Dabo, 31, to be heard in Manchester next month.

But wait, there’s more!  Courtesy of Wikipedia:

Although he signed a new contract on 22 September 2004, which would keep him at City until 2007, the club considered sacking Barton in December 2004 after an incident at their Christmas party. He stubbed out a lit cigar in youth player Jamie Tandy’s eye, after he had caught Tandy attempting to set fire to his shirt.  Barton subsequently apologised for his actions and was fined six weeks’ wages (£60,000).

The following summer, Barton was sent home from a pre-season tournament in Thailand after assaulting a 15-year-old Everton supporter who had provoked Barton by verbally abusing him and kicking his shin.Barton had to be restrained from attacking the boy further by teammate Richard Dunne.  Barton underwent anger management therapy at the order of City manager Stuart Pearce and paid £120,000 in club fines. 

While I find it puzzling that so many people appear to want provoke an obvious psycho — seriously, attempting to set his jersey on fire? — it seems there’s ample evidence that Barton is a bad, bad boy.  Just the kind who you’d expect to turn up at Harchester United.  Though I’d imagine that they’d upscale the details of his brawl.  A McDonald’s?  Really, Joey, the Arches?  Make that a high-end nightclub…and then have him score a crucial goal when he returns from jail.

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