Bad boy Joey Barton criticizes lifestyles of footie stars | inside World Soccer

Bad boy Joey Barton criticizes lifestyles of footie stars

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bad boy Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton has branded modern-day footballers "knobs" for their flash lifestyles.

The 27-year-old, who spent two-and-a-half months in prison in 2008 after being convicted of common assault and affray, expressed dismay at footballers' isolation from the wider world and the rampant materialism of many of his peers.

The £50,000-a-week star, who drives a £170,000 Aston Martin Vantage DB and has two houses, claims he has turned over a new leaf.

Interviewed on an edition of BBC Radio 4's Today programme which was guest-edited by his mentor, Tony Adams, Barton claimed that prison had given him a sense of perspective that many other players did not have.

He said: "I know this is probably gonna carry, but most footballers are knobs. They are so detached from real life it’s untrue.

"I’ve never lived in the real world. You grow up in an environment where, as long as you’re a good player, you’re told that you’re the best all the time.

"At the age of 20 I was earning more money than everyone in my family. And I’d never grown up, I was still a child, it was like a Peter Pan world.

"There’s always an agent who’ll sort your contract out or your car out or your mortgage out and you never have to do anything.

"And so you’ve got a situation where your driving round in flash cars and changing them like you change your socks, wearing stupid diamond watches and spending money like it’s going out of fashion in the middle of a recession when some people are struggling to put food on the table for the kids – it's not the way to do it."

Barton's rap sheet includes stubbing out a cigar in a team-mate's eye, slapping a fan, battering team-mate Ousmane Dabo, and the aforementioned attack on a 16-year-old outside a branch of McDonald's in Liverpool.

On the pitch he earned a reputation for X-rated tackles, triggered a mass brawl and dropped his shorts at Everton fans.

Barton added: "That’s the stuff people know about – there’s stuff I got away with too.

"I’m very fortunate that because of my profile and the job I do, and the fact I’m in the public eye, it got addressed.

"I was forced to address my issues – either carry on doing what you’re doing and your career is gone, or address it.

"I am very thankful to the media of this country. If it was not for them vilifying me I may have p****d my career up the wall."

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