Search icon


25th May 2016

Joey Barton’s classy statement on modern football should win over even die-hard Celtic fans

Great take on the game

Patrick McCarry

Nail on the head.

As much as some might want Joey Barton to be the spark that reignites another century of Old Firm fury, the English midfielder is determined to strike his own path.

Barton was unveiled as Rangers’ marquee signing ahead of their Scottish Premiership return and he deftly handled a series of tricky questions at the specially organised press conference.

He had no hesitation in confirming he did support Celtic in past Old Firm games but insisted Everton are the only club he supports.

Barton was ‘blown away by the history and tradition’ of Rangers and spoke of the expectation and pressure that comes with being a Rangers player.

“I knew the moment I stepped foot [into Ibrox] that this was the right time and the right place for me,” he said.

Barton was asked why he opted to move north rather than take up a more lucrative offer from newly promoted Premier League side Burnley. His reply was somewhat of a stand against modern football. He commented:

“I swore to myself a long time that I would never make a career decision based on finance.

“Sometimes in this world, you’ve got to be true to yourself as a human being. You have to be comfortable looking the man in the mirror straight in the eye, in the morning.”

Barton pic

Barton was then asked about the importance of renewing regular rivalry with reigning Premiership champions Celtic. He said:

“It’s a massive game but titles are going to be won and lost on Tuesday, Wednesday nights. Championships aren’t won or lost over three or four games off the season.

“But I’m aware of the significance of what the [Old Firm] game means to the people of this city and beyond.”

The 33-year-old rejected the suggestion that his successful spell at Burnley was an upward arc in his career – pointing out promotion with QPR and a second place in Ligue 1 with Marseilles.

Barton did concede that he had disciplinary problems in the past but feels he is at the top of his game. As for being a role model, he is not so sure. He said:

“If you can impart that knowledge and experience on others, that’s great, but I won’t be getting self-righteous or telling people how to behave or how to play football. Far from it.

“[My example] will be me showing up every day with the right mind-set and mentality.”

Strong words. Rangers fans will be hoping they are matched by deeds.

Celtic fans may have other ideas.