Joey Barton to take up coaching role after betting ban expires

Joey Barton's ban expires on June 2. (Jon Super/AP)

FLEETWOOD, England — Joey Barton, who once stabbed a teammate in the eye with a lit cigar and also served a jail sentence for assault, will take up his first coaching job in June once his suspension for breaking betting rules has expired.

The 35-year-old Barton was hired as the new coach of third-tier team Fleetwood on a three-year deal on Wednesday.

Barton will bring "experience and profile" to Fleetwood, said club chairman Andy Pilley, who believes the former midfielder "has the potential to become one of the best in the new generation of coaches."

Barton started his career at Manchester City and went on to play for Newcastle, Queens Park Rangers, French side Marseille, Glasgow club Rangers and Burnley. At Burnley he was banned for 18 months for placing 1,260 bets on soccer over the last 11 years, including games he played in.

That ban expires on June 2.

In an incident-filled career, Barton was fined six weeks’ wages by City for stubbing a lit cigar in the eye of teammate Jamie Tandy during the club’s Christmas party in 2004, and was jailed for six months in 2008 after admitting to common assault and affray.

A year earlier, he was charged with assault and received a four-month suspended jail sentence after a training-ground altercation with Ousmane Dabo at City that left his teammate needing hospital treatment.

Barton was handed a 12-game ban by the Football Association for that incident, and again in 2012 for various incidents of foul play while playing for Queens Park Rangers on the final day of the Premier League season at City.

His 18-month ban for betting breaches virtually ended his playing career.

"My first job in management was always going to be a big decision for me," Barton said, "and I’m delighted with the opportunity ahead, I’m joining a club with big ambitions."


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