Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton has lifted the lid on the notorious rampage at Manchester City that left his career in English football under severe threat.
In a forthright interview, Barton has given his version of the chain of events that left him with a 12-match suspension following his moment of madness at the Etihad Stadium on the final day of the 2011/12 season.
Referee Mike Dean handed the midfielder a straight red card after an off the ball altercation with Carlos Tevez and what followed was one of the most shocking incidents in recent Premier League history.
Crazy scenes: Joey Barton clashed with Carlos Tevez and was sent off as QPR lost to Manchester City
But the controversial midfielder has broken his silence about the incident, telling The Inside ’R’ – QPR’s official digital magazine: ‘I remember going in front of the FA, who were always waiting to throw the book at me because I’d never been someone who toed the line.
‘I put across in my mitigation that the referee, Mike Dean, had told me after the game that if he had seen Tevez do what he did, he would have sent him off because he had punched me in the side of the head.
‘But he never saw it, and the linesman just saw my reaction.
‘I accepted that, but what I was trying to argue was, “Look, if Tevez doesn’t punch me in the face because I’m blocking him off, then everything else doesn’t happen”.
‘He set off the chain of events. Take him out of it and I would have gone through the game with no incident.
‘Obviously because I’ve reacted to it, I was going to be punished. I knew I was going to be banned.
‘They expected me to appeal but when I came out, as is my way, I said “I’m not appealing. I refuse to go back in front of them. They can ban me”.
‘There were times during the ban when I thought, “I wish I had appealed here, and toed the line”.
‘Isn’t it easier to toe the line? Subsequently I have learnt that, at times, it is.’
Such was the enormity of Barton’s rage at the Etihad Stadium that day, Barton faced calls to be sacked by QPR.
Mark Hughes, who was manager at the time, came down hard on the 31-year-old.
He was stripped of the captaincy, told to train away from the first-team and had his shirt number taken away from him before being shipped out on loan to Marseille.
Now under the stewardship of Harry Redknapp, Barton is back at Loftus Road – helping the club achieve an instant return to the Barclays Premier League following last season’s relegation.
Nevertheless, Barton admits the affair has left a bitter taste in his mouth.
‘I was quite angry and quite disappointed,’ Barton told Inside ‘R’.
‘There were people within the club – and they know who they are – who embraced me after the sending off, who said, “We’ve stayed up, that’s all that matters. You were still a part of it, you played a massive part”.
‘And then, when the media drum started beating and the media started demanding that I be held accountable for my actions, they changed tack.
‘I felt they were using it as a way to get me off the wage bill, and to get people they wanted in at the football club: “He’s a commodity who’s done his job, let’s get him out.”
‘I text the owners after the ban from the FA and said, “Look, I realise what I have put the club through and I realise the magnitude of it. If you want me to resign, I will do.
‘I still had three years to run on my contract, but I had got to the stage where I was wondering if I wanted to keep putting myself through all this.
‘I had a tough season in terms of getting stick from the fans and I had got to the point where I wasn’t really thinking about anything else.
‘I wanted out of the club and I wanted out of the atmosphere I was in. It wasn’t for me. I had been loved everywhere I had been, and this was the first time I wasn’t.
‘The owners will testify to this. I text them straight after the ban, as I was coming out of Wembley. I was deeply unhappy at the football club in lots of ways.
‘But the reaction of the owners is the reason I am still here today.
Source : Daily mail