In our Transfers that shook the club feature, Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at deals that had many may not have seen coming and the impact that they had during their time by using statistical data and pundit remarks.
Two seasons after helping QPR to win promotion from the Championship, Joey Barton returned to the division to join Burnley in August 2015 after being released by the R’s, with the Clarets beating West Ham to the midfielder’s signature. Despite his chequered past, the one-time England international helped Sean Dyche’s team to an immediate return to the Premier League with three goals in 38 league games and was named in the Championship PFA Team of the Year for 2015/16.
However, he rejected the offer of a new contract at Turf Moor in May 2016 to sign for Glasgow Rangers, who themselves had just been promoted to the top tier of their domestic pyramid. He lasted only six months at Ibrox, though, as his contract was terminated just a few weeks after he was suspended by the club over a training ground bust-up (as per BBC).
A bigger shadow was hanging over Barton at the end of 2016, though, in the form of a misconduct charge for breaching Scottish FA rules on gambling. It was amid this backdrop that the midfielder retraced his steps to sign for Burnley just eight months after leaving Lancashire, completing the move despite the threat of an FA ban hanging over him (as per BBC).
Disciplinary action over the betting controversy was deferred, enabling him to line out for the Clarets for most of the remainder of the 2016/17 season. Seemingly never far from the spotlight, Barton predictably dominated the headlines after his Premier League debut for Burnley, except this time it was for positive reasons. Five minutes after coming off the bench in a home clash against Southampton, he directed a free-kick past Fraser Forster into the Saints’ net for the only goal of the game (as per BBC). Barton was truly back with a bang.
Were you happy with Joey Barton's time at Burnley overall?
It would prove to be the only goal he would score for Dyche’s team that season, although he played in 14 successive league games before past misdemeanours again came back to haunt him. On 26 April 2017, he was handed an 18-month suspension from football for the aforementioned betting charge, with Barton placing 1,260 bets on various matches between a seven-week period the previous year and admitting that he had an addiction to gambling (via BBC).
Even though he would subsequently have the suspension reduced to five months on appeal, Barton’s appearance in Burnley’s 0-2 home defeat to Manchester United on 23 April 2017 would prove to be the final match of a playing career which spanned 434 games and six clubs in three countries, collecting nine red cards in the process (as per TransferMarkt).
His brief second coming at Turf Moor lasted just 18 matches and 115 days, yet he still contrived to pick up seven yellow cards in that timespan. He was released by Burnley one day short of a calendar year after signing for Rangers and while the final spell of his playing career was fleeting, it was far from uneventful.
Burnley fans, were you stunned when Barton came back to the club in 2017, only for the reunion to be short-lived? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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