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Joey Barton learns fast in Belfast

By Stuart McKinley

On Joey Barton's own official website he describes himself as a "footballer, ex-con, ranting anti-celebrity, 'football's philosopher king', loving dad and thug all rolled into one."

All qualified by the line "depending who you listen to."

Now, you an add football coach to that list, if you listen to the Irish FA's Coach Education staff.

The controversial midfielder, who has, at various times, been cast in every one of those roles he mentions, but in the future he simply wants to be the boss.

That's why the 29-year-old has delayed his summer holidays in order to spend the next two week's in Belfast.

Barton is undertaking the Uefa B and A Licence coaching courses through the IFA and he is joined by a long list of Premier League and international stars.

Northern Ireland record goalscorer David Healy and former goalkeeper Maik Taylor and retired midfielder Kevin Horlock are among Barton's fellow students.

Nottingham Forest midfielder Jonathan Greening, recently retired Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper and former Spain star Gaizka Mendieta are also taking their first steps on the coaching ladder here in Belfast.

Maybe if he likes it here Micahel O'Neill can find an Ulser-born granny in Barton's family tree and he could wear the Northern Ireland badge on his chest more often.


Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty looks set to quit Swiss side Sion after one season.

His former team-mate Rino Gattuso is understood to want to take Lafferty to Italian side Palermo, who have just been relegated to Serie B.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph