It is difficult to write a profile of Joseph Antony Barton and concentrate on football matters alone. A part-time philosopher and Twitter user extraordinaire, Barton has had his brushes with the law and served a six-month prison sentence for common assault and affray while also receiving a four-month suspended sentence for a training ground attack on former Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo.
He joined Manchester City after coming through Everton's Academy. Given his chance to shine by Kevin Keegan, Barton became a first team regular in 2004-05 season, but that same term the disciplinary problems began. At the club's Christmas party he poked a cigar in the eye of a youth team player and City almost sacked him then. Following that, on the club's pre-season tour of Thailand in 2005, Barton was sent home after a fracas in a hotel bar which allegedly saw the player attack a young Everton fan.
After beginning the 2005-06 season in superb form, leading to calls for an England call-up, it was generally thought the player had beaten his demons. But a month later, as the transfer window was about to close, Barton handed in a written transfer request. He did not get a move and instead signed a new contract shortly before was rewarded with his England debut in February 2007, replacing Frank Lampard for the final 12 minutes of the 1-0 friendly defeat to Spain at Old Trafford.
Trouble was not far away again though, as he was questioned by police with regards to an alleged criminal damage incident involving a taxi driver in Liverpool. And six weeks later came the Dabo clash which saw him suspended by City and given a 12-match ban - six matches of which were suspended - and a £25,000 fine. Newcastle then met his £5.8 million release clause, he moved.
By the end of the 2007, he had landed himself more legal problems and in May 2008, he was sentenced to six months in jail for his part in an assault in Liverpool city centre. When he was released after serving 77 days, he made his way back into the Newcastle side but continued to court controversy wherever he played.
In May 2009 he was shown a red card against Liverpool for a horrible late challenge on Xabi Alonso, which led to him being suspended by Newcastle. And 12 months later he saw red for punching Blackburn winger Morten Gamst Pedersen.
Ultimately, the Magpies grew tired of his issues and he was allowed to leave on a free transfer in August 2011 when he joined QPR. The newly promoted side immediately made him their captain and they stayed up - but Barton was given a 12-match ban after being sent off on the final game of the season for elbowing Carlos Tevez, then kicking Sergio Aguero and attempting to headbutt Vincent Kompany. As a result, the Rs loaned Barton out to Marseille for the 2012-13 season.
Strengths: A good passer, tough tackler and committed as they come he can lead by example.
Weaknesses: Hot-headed and rash, his temperament can be more hindrance than help
Career high: Making his England debut in 2007 on the back of some stellar performances for Man City.
Career low: Too many to count, but his prison time is surely the worst of a chequered career.
Style: Temperamental, combative, a tough and uncompromising midfielder.
Quotes: "Barton manages to be patronised [by the media] and held up as some kind of exemplar all at once... he is skilled at tricking us into watching him veer between the extremes of thinker and thug. Either this is a repudiation of societal hypocrisy or, more likely, indicative of a sociopathic tendency." Paul Hayward, chief sports writer for The Telegraph on Joey Barton.
Trivia: The very beginning of his career maybe pointed to trouble ahead as Barton should have earned his City debut as a second half substitute in the trip to Middlesbrough in November 2002... until a thief intervened! He left his shirt in the dug-out during half-time, and when he returned someone had stolen it.
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE