18 September 2011

Joey Barton: seeing things in a different way

In an interview with The People, Barton says he's changed: “Obviously I conformed to the footballer thing before, otherwise I wouldn't have bought a £100,000 car. But you change as you get older. I’m 29. I’m not a young footballer any more. You grow up and see things in a very different way.

"I thought it was so wrong that I had a collection of ­designer watches worth ­hundreds of thousands. People are struggling to put food on the table and there I am with flash watches and cars. I told my PA to get rid of them. I can get a Casio watch for £6 which does the same job.

"I am about to sell my Aston Martin to buy a Prius. I am sick of paying the Government all that tax on petrol. It costs me £100 to fill my car and that only lasts me a few days. A lot of that money is going to the Government. On top of that there is a higher tax charge and ­because I am a footballer my car ­insurance is ­ridiculous. I am also getting a moped. It is so much quicker to get around London because the traffic is so bad.

"I think I am definitely ­misunderstood by people. All they knew about me before was that I had got into trouble in the past. Now I spend a lot of time reading. People look at my Twitter and see the things I write and they’re, like, ‘Who is that freak?’ But it’s me. I love looking at the outside world and taking notice of things. It is so interesting.

"I have been ­offered lots of book deals but I’m not sure what to write about yet. I am into the environment and what I really want to do is an ebook so there would be no paper which means there’d be no carbon footprint. That would surprise people a lot because it is not what they would expect from me.”

In May 2008, Barton was sentenced to six months’ jail for common assault and affray following an incident outside a McDonald’s in his home city Liverpool. He served 77 days. Weeks before his ­release he was given a four-month suspended sentence after ­admitting actual bodily harm against team-mate Ousmane Dabo during a ­row in training in May 2007. The bust-up ended his ­career at Manchester City, where he began as a teenager, and that summer he was ­transferred to Newcastle for £5.8million.

Barton, whose girlfriend is 24 weeks pregnant with his first child, has realised he can stay out of scuffles by avoiding bars and alcohol. “I stopped because I would be out ­drinking in the past and someone would come up to me ­outside a bar and call me a prick or something. If I was drunk I would go for them and if I hit them they would go to the police. So I find it better just to stay away from it now.” He was helped by Sporting Chance, the clinic set up by Tony Adams to aid high-profile athletes with addictions.

On politics he opines: “I was Labour until the Gordon Brown and Tony Blair debacle. Brown is a talentless idiot who I can’t believe was running the country. It was left in a mess. I don’t think the working class should be ­running the country and that’s coming from me – I am working class.

"I don’t like Ed Miliband either. He is a dickhead. His voice is so strange it’s like a Monty Python scene where you see the other MPs sniggering behind his back. I like David Cameron. I think he is doing an OK job. I am not a Tory, though, I have very left wing views on some things. You can’t really put me in a box. I have lots of different thoughts going on in my head.”

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