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The life & times of Joey Barton

With Joey Barton on the brink of signing a two-year contract with Rangers, we take a look at the up & downs of the controversial midfielder's career.

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Well, Joey Barton will shortly be a Rangers player with his signing expected to be announced imminently and Got The Battle Fever On thought we'd take a look back at the highs and lows of the former England international's career. The English midfielder is never far from controversy but has underwent something of a character transformation in recent years; becoming more well known for quoting philosophers and poets on Twitter than red cards and punch-ups in restaurants.

There is however much more to Joey Barton, both as a player and a person, than the headlines make out. Despite burning bridges at clubs on more than a few occasions, fans always seem to really warm to him. Although his opinions on social media can often be, let's say disagreeable for diplomacy's sake, he is intelligent enough to be able to hold his own in discussions where the typical Scottish footballer wouldn't know Westminster from West Ham.

There has also been a lifetime's worth of controversy in his personal life away from football; his brother is in jail for murder and Barton was a self-confessed alcoholic in his mid-twenties, and much of it has coincided with the worst points in his playing career but as he reaches the latter stages of his career he appears to be in a good place.

On the pitch he has been in, arguably, the best form of his career and will come into a Rangers side buoyed by the success of 2015/16. The added spotlight of Brendan Rodgers' panic appointment by Celtic will give Barton an opportunity to perform in front of 50,000 supporters every other week, compete for trophies and show his worth to clubs in England.

Hopefully Mark Warburton can maintain that and hope that the madness of an Old Firm game, remember this is a fixture which saw Davie Weir grab Gary Caldwell by the throat, doesn't bring out the Barton of old.

The Highs

2003 - Professional debut, coming off the bench for Manchester City against Bolton Wanderers. Scores his first senior goal two weeks later in a 2-0 win over Tottenham.

2007 - After 153 appearances for Man City, Barton moves to Newcastle for £5.8m. In four seasons at St. James' Park he makes 84 appearances, earns his first England call-up and lifts his first trophy. It's during his spell in the North-East he is jailed (more on that later).

2007 - Makes England debut, replacing Frank Lampard in a 1-0 loss to Spain.

2010 - Wins the first trophy of his career as Newcastle immediately bounce back after relegation by winning the Championship.

2011 - Joins QPR on a four-year deal after his Newcastle contract expired. Makes 99 appearances in a controversy filled stint at Loftus Road.

2012 - Heads to Marseille on a season-long loan.

2014 - Appears on BBC's political debate show Question Time.

2014 - Wins a second promotion to the Premier League, this time as play-off winners with Queen's Park Rangers.

2015 - Joins Burnley on a free after being released by QPR

2016 - Wins the Championship for a second time. A stand-out for Burnley, winning the club's Player of the Year award, Barton is selected in the Football League XI (as voted for by players from all 72 Football League clubs).

The Lows

2004 - Stubbed a cigar out on a Man City youth player's eye. Apologised and was fined £60k by the club.

2008 - Sentenced to six months in prison (he served 77 days) for assault after getting into a fight outside a McDonald's in his hometown of Liverpool.

2008 - Given a four month suspended sentence and community service after attacking a team-mate, leaving him with a detached retina, in an incident at Man City's training ground. City fined him £100k while the FA also hit him in the pocket for £25k and issued a 6 game ban, suspended for two years.

2009 - Suspended by Newcastle after being sent off for a tackle on Liverpool's Xabi Alonso. Then-Newcastle boss Alan Shearer was reported to have got into a confrontation with the midfielder which, allegedly, saw Barton claim to be "the best player at the club; Shearer responding he wasn't and was in fact "shit" before Barton called assistant manager Iain Dowie a "prick".

2012 - Lost the plot attacking THREE Man City players on the final day of the season as his QPR side tried to save their Premier League place. Barton was banned for a record 12-games by the FA.

2013 - Given a two match ban by the French Football Federation,  while on loan at Marseille, after describing PSG's Thiago Silva as an "overweight ladyboy".