Football - Premier League

Joey Barton: Angel or demon?

Joey Barton may have enjoyed a change of scenery when swapping Newcastle for QPR this summer but at the weekend he demonstrated he has not lost the habit of attracting controversy.

 
Joey Barton under scrutiny - Football - Premier LeaguePA Sport
 

Barton was targeted for some rough treatment by the Wolves players, and defender George Elokobi in particular, having also been on the receiving end when representing Newcastle against Mick McCarthy's side last season.

On that occasion Wolves midfielder Karl Henry fouled him repeatedly, and the two players were involved in a clash at the final whistle on Saturday - but not before Barton had goaded Wolves supporters by signalling the 3-0 scoreline and blowing a kiss to the Molineux faithful. That flashpoint with supporters came after he had been chopped down by Henry again.

Barton took to Twitter to wind up his rival following Saturday's clash, deliberately calling him Kelvin and tweeting after the match: "I bet u Kelvin Henry feels like an idiot again today. He should just keep his trap firmly shut. #sundayleagueplayer."

The midfielder, who has a long track record of off-the-field controversy, continued his attack on live television on Sunday, accusing Henry of deliberately going out to hurt fellow players.

Barton told Sky Sports' Goals on Sunday programme: "Kelvin Henry - he loves it, doesn't he. Always sticking his foot in and trying to hurt people. Why doesn't he do it when it is 0-0 in the game?"

He added: "He is chirping up all week saying he is going to do x,y and z to me and then he lets himself down massively by not even turning up on Saturday afternoons. He should concentrate more on playing and less on talking a good game."

His broadside drew a response from Henry himself on Monday, as he said of the QPR man: "[During the match] Joey Barton was telling everyone he is on 80-grand a week as usual. That is him. He always does that during the game. Always. He riles a few people up when he says those things and tells everybody how great he is.

"It is just embarrassing really. If that is what he wants to do, he can carry on doing it but that is why a lot of people dislike him. He has tried to reinvent his image but it is probably the same old story."

So is Barton more sinned against than sinning? Is he a wind-up merchant or has he been unfairly targeted?

Watch the evidence in the video box above and have your say in the comments box below:

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