I’m no war criminal, says bad-boy Barton

NEWCASTLE: Troubled Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton has defended his bad-boy reputation by claiming he is not as bad as war criminals. 

Barton brushed off his growing list of offences – which have included stubbing a cigar out in a team-mate's eye and allegedly attacking another from behind – as mere misdemeanours and pleaded not to be branded amongst the likes of Pol Pot and Slobodon Milosevic. 

But despite his troubles, Barton claims he has been unfairly judged. 

His £5.8mil summer switch from Manchester City to Newcastle was overshadowed by an imminent court case involving an alleged assault on former team-mate Ousmane Dabo. 

Barton – who pleaded not guilty to the charge in court this week – will also be prevented from making his Newcastle debut until at least September after fracturing his foot. 

The midfielder accepts he has made mistakes but told BBC Radio: “When you put things into context, the misdemeanours I've been in – in the real world with the things that are going on like wars – the things that I've done are stupid and childish. 

“It's stupidity on my behalf but they are not war crimes. 

“Serious issues are going on and that's what gets me – when you're on the front page and page seven is about a soldier dying, or people in floods, the real tragedies and the real bad things in this world. 

“It just baffles me. But this is the world we are in, this is the way our society has become. I'm not trying to defend myself, I'm a human being I've made mistakes and a few of them.” 

Barton was fined six weeks' wages by his former club Manchester City in December 2004 after an incident in which he poked a cigar in the eye of youth team player Jamie Tandy. 

The following summer he was sent home from the club's pre-season tour of Thailand and ordered to undergo anger management therapy by then boss Stuart Pearce. 

In September last year he was fined £2,000 for bringing the game into disrepute after television cameras captured him dropping his shorts in the direction of Everton supporters after a game at Goodison Park. 

Now Barton insists he is ready to put his mistakes behind him and buckle down in a bid to secure a place in the Magpies' first team. 

“People want to keep beating me with a stick that I'm a bad boy. I'm not a bad boy. People who know me, whose opinions I respect, know what kind of person I am. 

“I'm a human being and I've made mistakes – stupid mistakes and a few of them. I've also stood up and said I was wrong.”  

Barton added: “I've never shied away from the fact that I've been in trouble. I'll make bad decisions and good decisions just like anyone else – I'm not some superhuman robot just because I play football. 

“My life is lived out in the public forum and people only get to see the side of me that makes mistakes and they don't see the real me. 

“I'm a human being. I've made a lot of mistakes but I'm learning from them. I've been trying to lead a good life and be a good person.” – AFP 

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