Barton makes surprise Rangers revelation
By Matt Farr
Joey Barton has lifted the lid on why he quit promoted Burnley for Scottish side Rangers in May – and claimed he would make the same move again.
The one-time capped England international was out of contract at Turf Moor, and despite being named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year and offered the chance to stay, opted to snub a return to the Premier League for a switch north of the border.
Barton signed a two-year deal with Rangers, who had just returned to the Scottish Premiership.
But it proved to be a disaster, as things soon unravelled behind the scenes with Barton earning a three-week suspension in September for a training ground bust-up with team-mate Andy Halliday, before a charge for breaking rules relating to gambling just a month later.
“Celtic & Rangers have missed a trick not joining the Premier League”
Joey Barton on his time in Scotland: https://t.co/jFVQheynuF
— BBC 5 live Sport (@5liveSport) December 7, 2016
The controversial midfielder was eventually kicked out of Ibrox in November after agreeing a pay-off with the club, but he made the surprise reveleation that he has no regrets over his time at Rangers or his decision to join the club.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: “It was an opportunity I couldn’t let pass. I weighed things up at the time, and I’d do it again.
“It’s a great club and somewhere, that if they can get things right, it’s phenomenal. It’s completely unique.
“The Old Firm is what it’s all about in Scotland, and I wanted to immerse myself in that.
“I haven’t played for a superclub in England – the Manchester City when I was there isn’t the Manchester City of now. Newcastle is a massive club, and I was out in Marseille which is a big club in France.
“But I wanted to experience another club of that size. It would have been a lot safer for me to stay at Burnley.
“Do I have regrets at not being at Rangers now? The regret I have is I’m not playing football right now. I’m 34 and don’t have another ten years to go. But I will always look back at my time at Rangers.”
Barton’s apparent refusal to acknowledge that his time at the Scottish giants was an unmitigated disaster is a shock.
Barton made just eight appearances before his Rangers contract was terminated, but did experience an Old Firm derby clash.
It was not quite the memorable encounter Rangers and Barton were hoping for, however, as Rangers lost 5-1 on September 10.
The 34-year-old is still without a club following his release from the Scottish outfit, with his immediate playing future up in the air.