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The thin and thick life of Joey Barton

By Hilman Ali Hazmi



Marseille's British midfielder Joey Barton looks on during the UEFA Europa League Group C football match VfL Borussia Moenchengladbach vs Olympique de Marseille in Moenchengladbach, western Germany on October 25, 2012
Marseille's British midfielder Joey Barton looks on during the UEFA Europa League Group C football match VfL Borussia Moenchengladbach vs Olympique de Marseille in Moenchengladbach, western Germany on October 25, 2012

The thin and thick chapter in the life of Joey Barton has caught my attention once again. From being a bad boy to an Englishman who speaks with a French accent. I have to admit that so far  Barton has been brilliant for Marseille. Last week he was brilliant setting up all the goals agaisnt Brest in a match which Marseille won 2-1.

During his debut, he was very instrumental against Lille with his superb 50 yards pass that results in Balmount getting a straight red. Not to forget months ago Barton also had scored a wonderful goal directly from the corner, one which is similar to David Beckham.

So far the French media has been kind by labeling him as the  "real catalyst" in Marseille's midfield problem. Well Is that praise fair enough for barton's achievement? Perhaps it is. Anyway forget all the hype on Barton, there's still lots of work to be done before he can be as good as Steven Gerrad (when he was in his prime).

That one thing which block Barton from being himself is his brutality. Barton had become famous in England for his brutal life on and off the pitch I believe. I have to admit Barton is somehow a half-talented football player. He's  very good but so far he's been overshadowed by his past criminal life-style.

If I were to remember again 8 years ago, Barton tub a lit cigar into the eye of young team-mate Jamie Tandy. He then fined six weeks' wages by City. That was the first chapter of his life. Shortly after that, Barton was involved in a spat with a 15-year-old Everton fan at City's team hotel in Bangkok. Again he is fined by City.

Three years later when he was at Newcastle, Barton admits assault and affray and is jailed for six months, of which he serves 74 days at Strangeways prison in Manchester. Finally to complete his life, Barton was banned for 12 games by the FA for elbowing Carlos Tevez during the last fixtures of the season during his spells at QPR. His brutality did make him an infamous picture of what today's modern footballer is.

 It's  pretty shambolic because the other side of Barton was actually a brilliant footballer. Turning back the years, we can witness his skill and quick passing movement of the ball which is a joy to watch, a highlight of the 4 goals comeback against Arsenal In which he played a very pivotal role in it during his spells at Newcastle United.

In terms of his International career, Barton only won a single cap for England during Steve McLaren reign. I never had a question on Steve selection against Spain the day Barton was asked to replace Lampard. It's fair to say Steve know what Barton was all about in terms of his football skill of course.

I'm not surprise at all to see Barton changes his attitude recently during his move to Marseille, he became a much more positive man who know how to keep his head down. Plus he care about politics too, In which not most of the footballer would do.  I'm just devastated to see Barton maturing in his late 30's. If he had matured earlier in his 20's, I think Barton can be as good as any midfielder in Europe today.