Barton too big for his boots
As Joey Barton looks set to leave QPR for a season-long loan with Marseille the question beckons - does he deserve a future in the English game?
The ex-Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder has scored a hat-trick when it comes to being kicked out of clubs, making QPR the third who have had enough of him.
In 2007, whilst at Man City, Barton assaulted team-mate Ousmane Dabo, hitting him several times in the head and leaving him unconscious. Like team-mates do eh Joey?
For this he was charged with assault and eventually served 77 days in prison, suspended for the remainder of the season by City, and issued a 12-match ban, plus several fines amounting to over £150,000. Strike one.
Just months later he was arrested for another assault, this time on a night out in Liverpool.
CCTV showed Barton punching a man over 20 times and this was whilst he was on bail for his previous assault on Dabo.
Newcastle foolishly paid around £5.5m for the thug in June 2007 and, after his numerous bans, prison sentences and altercations with Newcastle managerial staff, including club legend Alan Shearer, Barton was moved on in 2011. Strike two.
One more chance to show the world he wasn’t a bad boy after all and could change came with a move to QPR. Neil Warnock signed Barton on a four-year deal on a free transfer and handed him the captain’s armband.
Rewind to the last day of the season, Man City v QPR. City were looking for a win to claim the title, but QPR were staring relegation in the face - they needed Barton to channel his aggression in the right way. Fat chance of that happening. Instead, he imploded.
What followed was a knee for Carlos Tevez, an attempted headbutt for Vincent Kompany and then an altercation with Mario Balotelli. All of which, of course, saw him red carded and put QPR’s survival chances in jeopardy.
Fortunately for QPR, they stayed up, but it was a case of third strike and you're out for bad boy Barton.
The FA dished out another fine, this time £75,000, and QPR also hit him in the pocket, to the tune of six weeks wages, and stripped him of his captaincy.
Can a dose of foreign football tame him?
Marseille look to have agreed a deal with QPR to switch the services of highly-rated midfielder Stephane Mbia for aggressive, ill-tempered midfielder Joey Barton.
After being on the verge of completing a loan move to newly promoted League Two side Fleetwood Town, have the Ligue 1 outfit seen something in Barton the rest of England have missed?
Barton may have to put up with foreign football for the rest of his career unless somebody throws him an intervention to deal with his temper.
Which will be more than a challenge. Just ask the Sporting Chance clinic, a charity set up to help troubled sportsmen and women, where he spent some clearly wasted time in 2005.
And that was for assaulting a 15-year-old boy whilst at a pre-season tournament, I should add. What a role model. Not.
Ban? What ban?
The FA have not decided whether Barton will serve the remainder of his 12-match ban abroad or when he returns to England, if he returns that is.
So in theory, there is a realistic possibility that he could miraculously escape the ban if he decides to continue his career away from English football. Having said that, you can almost guarantee the FA will be determined to see him serve his suspension.
After striking out with three different clubs, pardon the cliche but it really does seem that Barton is too big for his boots, and that's putting it nicely.
By Lewis Edwards – Follow me on Twitter @LCEdw