Joey Barton- Im not the bad guy

Last updated : 27 September 2011 By Daily Mail

But the 29-year-old, who has been dogged by controversy both on and off the pitch, insists he has no interest in the bright lights as he prefers to jump on the bus and visit art galleries in London.

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And Barton, whose long-term girlfriend, Georgia McNeil, is expecting their first child, is keen to banish his bad boy reputation.

'I like to jump on the tube but I haven't got an Oyster card yet,' he told the London Evening Standard.

'I'm not a big fan of driving so once I get the internet set up at my new place I'll order my Oyster card and get going properly on the buses and the underground.

'I'm not attracted by the bright lights of the city but there are thingsin this place I want to do to broaden my horizons. I was in Soho the other day and there's loads of characters around there. I like people-watching and was able to look at everyone and think "maybe I'm not as peculiar as I once was".

'At the moment it feels great to be here. There's a lot more to see and do in London and that appeals to me. But don't get me wrong, I also liketo sit in on a Saturday night watching X-Factor and Match of the Day. But I have an amazing opportunity at QPR to live in a great city and start a family here. Life's good.'

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In 2008, Barton was jailed for six months for assault.

But three years on, the new Rangers captain has drawn on his influences - Morrissey, Banksy andFriedrich Nietzsche - to project the image of a reformed man.

'People should embrace the fact they're individual.

'I can't think of anything more morose than being the same as everybody else. What would we get out of that? I embrace that I'm peculiar and refuse to conform.

'People can be influenced by the wrong people and, for a time, I probably was. But I've really tried to change my ways. It's a daily battle but I'm happy with the man that I am.'

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Barton says Twitter has played apivotal role in the transformation of his image from notorious hell-raiser to a man more thoughtful.

He regularly sends retweets of Nietzsche and George Orwell to his followers, 568,000 and counting.

'Twitter has helped people see the real me,' he adds.

'The football pitch is our stage but it's not a true reflection of who I am as a man.

'It also allows me to talk absolute crap at times and people seem to find that interesting. I don't know why they tune in but they do.

'Tabloid propaganda is all fans had to base their opinions on in the past and I've been typecast as the "baddie".

'A lot of it was down to my own stupidity but Twitter allows me the right to reply and opens up a more human side to who I really am.'

Following the London riots, Barton even used the social media platform to reveal his views on reform and accountability and has urged the PrimeMinister to join up.

'I actually quite like David Cameron but what's he got to lose by joining Twitter? It would be good for him to be at the forefront of technology and able to listen to what people are saying.

'I agree with his theory of the smaller society taking care of the big society but we as a city and a nation have to be more accountable to oneanother - and that includes the Prime Minister.

'The riots highlighted a demand for a better society and increased accountability. There's a lot of social unrest, people unhappy with how this once great country is being run and whether they're getting a fair shake of it. But is the answer to loot and riot? I don't think so.

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'It started off with people leaving colleges and universities and not having a future that was as bright as it once was. Cameron's Government has to do something about it. They're employed by the people, for the people, as a representation of the people - so they should get out thereand interact with them.

'If I was a politician I'd be out there speaking to people and working out how I can make things better.

'We're too concerned with how America and the EU perceive us. People arestill going to want to trade with Britain but we need to get exporting more.'

Cock-a-hoop: Barton is enjoying himself

Barton is now at the peak of his powers on the pitch. The last two yearshave seen him produce some of the best football of his career - he was player of the year at Newcastle last season - prompting suggestions Fabio Capello should consider Barton for an England call-up.

'It would be great to play for England again,' says Barton, who won his lone England cap against Spain under Steve McClaren in 2007. 'I feel really sharp, as I should do having just turned 29 and I'm enjoying my football.

'I think I'll play until I'm about 38 or 40 because my game is not basedon pace or power, it's all about knowledge of football and manipulatingthe ball. So I'm confident I can play for a long time.

'If I decide to coach or manage in the future, it would be quite prudent to have experienced a different culture or philosophy of football. Or even just experiencing how the approach changes when you manage players from different backgrounds or cultures.

'If the opportunity arose to play abroad in the future I'd definitely consider it.'

But right now Barton is looking forward to at least four years in the capital and further trips to London's finest cultural hotspots. After a recent visit to the National Gallery, he admits that Monet is his favourite artist but remains fascinated by the madness of Vincent van Gogh.

'Van Gogh was clearly off his barnet but, as Nietzsche says, 'You have to have chaos within to give birth to a shining star'. Having said that,I think I could have done some of van Gogh's paintings myself.'

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Source: Daily Mail

Source: Daily Mail