Renowned philosopher and occasional footballer Joey Barton was finally given the stage his cerebral wit deserves this week as a special guest speaker at the Oxford University Union.
One of the students asked the Queens Park Rangers midfielder about his infamous dismissal against Manchester City on the final day of the 2011/12 season. With QPR's Premier League survival hanging in the balance, Barton was given a red card in the 55th minute for elbowing Carlos Tevez in the face. As he left the field, he kneed Sergio Aguero to the ground before allegedly attempting to headbutt Vincent Kompany and squaring up to Mario Balotelli as he was wrestled from the field.
He subsequently received two FA violent conduct charges, and if Bolton hadn't lost that day, QPR would have been relegated. The blame would have laid pretty heavily on Joey Barton's shoulders.
Most of us assumed this incident was the result of his red mist descending — the kind of uncontrollable rage that led to his other two FA violent conduct charges and a six-month prison term for assaulting a teenager. Yet, the Twitter bard explained to the Oxford Union that the whole situation was a "cold, calculated decision to try and even it up."
Apparently, kneeing the "snitch" Aguero was a subtle attempt to get him sent off to bring both teams to 10 men.
It would have been even more cold and calculated not to elbow Tevez in the face and keep both teams at 11 men, but there you go.
Barton finishes on the topic by saying he can laugh at himself and hopes he will be able to look back at the incident in a few years and smile. If you had nearly caused the relegation of the team you were captaining and assaulted two people, you'd probably find it pretty funny too.
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