Joey Barton is Desperate Dan reading Shakespeare’s Sonnetts in between mouthfuls of cow pie, but he should not be ridiculed

It’s easy to scoff at Joey Barton. Whether it’s his demeanour and actions on the pitch, his philosophical quotations on Twitter, or his dalliance with blogging, he’s a controversial figure and an easy target for derision.

A thug with a past that includes drunken violence and a spell in prison, Barton has attempted to distance himself from the snarling image of him in the mainstream media.

This hasn’t been an easy transition though, as his temper once again got the better of the former QPR captain at the Etihad back in May.

And with a resulting 12-match ban to ponder his actions he has taken to blogging. Eschewing views on politics, hydration, the arts, the media and the game of football itself, Barton’s openness and willingness to express himself sits in stark contrast the perception of him as a player, and indeed a person.

However, this is not an easy to step make, as the picture of a hard man as a thoughtful person interested in literature only brings to mind Grant Mitchell reading Chaucer, Rocky reciting poetry, or Desperate Dan pouring over Shakespeare’s Sonnetts in between mouthfuls of cow pie.

This juxtaposition though is gloriously entertaining and wildly different from the cliché ridden “just looking forward to next game guv’” nonsense most footballer vomit on a weekly basis.

Naturally you don’t have to like what Barton is saying, or associate with it, but the fact that he’s willing to honestly express himself is a rare commodity in football and something that should be embraced, irrelevant of any preconceived views of the man.

After all, how many footballers are you aware of that have openly confessed to shitting on a mirror?

He took to Twitter on Tuesday to say: “The only Daily Mirror I subscribe to is in the bathroom next to the bog. Lot of similarities between the two…

“…Ones full of sh*t, the other you wipe your arse with? You decide..”

And it’s on Twitter and through his website that he has found a substitute for the confrontation of a football match.

Willing to talk about the incident that landed him in prison, wax about politics and stretch his knowledge and understanding of subjects, Barton is prepared to expose himself to abuse and the only top flight player to blog so candidly.

And whatever your views on him as a player, social networker, thug, writer or anything else he might try his hand at, he’s certainly an interesting change from the seemingly banal lives footballers lead away from the pitch.

So please stand and raise a glass to celebrate the difference that is Joey Barton.

However, whether I personally like him or not is a different matter entirely.

Tags: Joey Barton, Premier League, QPR

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