What you see is what you get with Joey Barton but it appears it is too much for Glasgow Rangers to handle.
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Barton, 34, was sent home from Rangers’ training ground last Thursday, didn’t feature in the 0-0 draw at Ross County at the weekend and was told to come back on Monday after a heated exchange with teammate Andy Halliday in the aftermath of Rangers’ shocking 5-1 defeat to Old Firm rivals Celtic.
On Monday morning, following a meeting with manager Mark Warburton, Rangers released a statement which confirmed Barton has been suspended for three weeks after his actions.
Here is the statement in full from the Scottish Premiership club:
Joey Barton has today been suspended by the club and will not return to Ibrox or Auchenhowie for a period of three weeks. The manager, Mark Warburton, and club believe that time and space is required for both the club and the player to assess all that has happened. Neither party will make any further statement or comment on this issue.
Barton was seen leaving their Ibrox home on Monday after a meeting with manager Mark Warburton and although he declined to comment about that meeting, when asked if he was still a Rangers player he simply said: “I think so.”
Since the incident occurred last week and during his initial time away from the club, Barton sent out a lengthy message on Twitter where he apologized for his actions but also said “saying sorry doesn’t always mean you are wrong.” He then went on national radio in the UK and talked about the incident further. That won’t have gone done well with the Rangers hierarchy.
We all know about Barton’s past and it is difficult to see if he has a future at Rangers after the latest in a long line of spats involving the Manchester City academy product who has one cap for the English national team.
During his time at Man City he was handed a two-month suspended sentence by the police for beating up teammate Ousmane Dabo in 2007, plus put a cigarette out in the eye of youth team player in 2004. Barton was also sentenced to four months in jail in 2008 after being involved in a street fight in his home city of Liverpool. On the pitch he has been banned numerous times by the English FA during his spells at Man City, Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers.
Still outspoken on social media and in rare media appearances, Barton seemed to be finally settling down as he played 38 times for Burnley last season and was in the PFA Championship Team of the Year as they won promotion to the Premier League. However, despite being offered a new contract Barton decided to leave England and make a very surprising move to Rangers who had just returned to Scotland’s top-flight four years after being demoted to the bottom division due to financial mismanagement.
Now, Rangers knew what they were getting into with Barton and if this incident with Halliday was only a verbal disagreement, as it’s been widely reported, then a three-week ban seems very excessive. These kind of bust-ups happen more often than you think on training grounds.
Then again, when Barton is involved things always seem to be a lot more sinister and we don’t know exactly what was said by the talented yet troubled Englishman. Perhaps his meeting with Warburton turned sour quickly. We will find out in due course but sadly this was an incident many could see happening a mile off.