Joey Barton has been giving a lot of interviews before his comeback from the 6 match suspension he received from the FA.
Joey talked today about his troubles:
“I have made mistakes,” “I’ve probably made a lot more mistakes than other people.” “If you don’t make mistakes, then you don’t give other people the opportunity to throw stones. But all I would say is that, hopefully, I’ve learned from my mistakes.”
“I am trying to put things right and get my football career and my life back on track.” “I deserve every bit of criticism that has been leveled at me,” “I can’t stand here and try to defend myself because I am indefensible.”
“I am the first to acknowledge that – I am indefensible – but all I can do in the future is to try to put right what I have done wrong.”
That altercation in the Liverpool city center, on December 27th, which of course was all caught on CCTV cameras, is the last time Joey had any alcohol, and we hope he can stay off it, because it does nothing for him.
Barton has attended a series of courses designed to help him stay off booze and he continued:
“There are bits of me that I don’t want to be,” “And the majority of those things come out when I am drinking. It’s well documented that I have had problems with alcohol in the past, and the thing I went to jail for was alcohol related.”
“I am not using that as an excuse because it was my own stupidity, but alcohol does something to you that makes you do things you would not necessarily do when you are sober.”
“It will be leveled at me that I had a fight with Ousmane when I was sober, and I understand that. But I know that if I drink again, I am putting my football career in jeopardy.”
“I have to put everyone that has believed in me first, and that is why I will not drink again. I have not had a drink for ten months, and I feel better instantly.”
As well as working with the Sporting Chance clinic to sever his dependency on alcohol, Barton has also been delivering talks and seminars to youngsters who are experiencing troubles in their own lives.
He intends to extend these initiatives in the future, and is keen to use his own experiences as a warning of what can go wrong.
“Prison wasn’t a nice experience, but hopefully people will see the stupid mistakes I have made and think to themselves that they won’t make as many mistakes as I have,” said Barton.
“You can’t make everyone happy and I’ve probably made a lot more people unhappy than a normal person.”
Joey’s saying all the right things, but he was also saying similar things last summer when he joined the club, under Sam Allardyce. It’s not his words that are important now, although they do illustrate he’s trying and seems determined.
But it will be his actions that will determine whether he has a long term future in football – just like his actions have landed him in hot water too many times these last few years.