BotN: Barton to spend the summer training with Fleetwood Mac

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Football's 'philosopher king' will be spending the next few weeks away from QPR. Back of the Net's John Foster explains all...

After being left out of his club’s pre-season tour of Malaysia, QPR bad boy Joey Barton has opted link up with soft-rock mainstays Fleetwood Mac, joining the veteran hitmakers for a number of aerobic fitness workouts and bluesy, chilled-out jams.

The move comes as a surprise, given that Barton, who is serving a twelve-match ban for his part in a one-man brawl during the final game of last season, had previously been dismissive of the classic rock genre, comparing it unfavourably to the alternative, stripped-down miserabilism of Mancunian indie pioneers The Smiths.

Moreover, Barton has been involved in a long-running feud with Stevie Nicks’ ex-boyfriend Don Henley of The Eagles, with whom Barton allegedly exchanged drunken insults in a Newcastle chip shop back in 2009.

"Am I leaving QPR? No, it's just RUMOURS! HA HA! GET IT!? Please RT"

But the bad blood following the 2010 release of the Henley-Nicks collaboration Joey Barton Is A Knob appears to have dissipated, after Barton tweeted to his 1.6 million followers that he is "Looking forward to sessions with Fleetwood this week," promising that he "will get a much needed funk on."

“Fleetwood Mac are a great institution,” Barton told “Everyone knows that class is permanent, and I think a return to the glory days is just a matter of time. To be sharing a dressing room with Lindsey Buckingham, if even for a couple of weeks, is every player’s dream.”

Band founder Mick Fleetwood has also spoken up in support of Barton’s move.

“Obviously our promotion to League Two took a lot of people by surprise,” he said. “We’re expecting this year to be a struggle, given that John McVie is 66, I have type two diabetes, and Lindsey Buckingham is probably better suited to lead guitarist than to the Makélélé role.”

“We’re hoping Joey can share some of his experience and passion, though so far he’s mostly just shown me some lyrics he’s written,” continued Fleetwood.

“I don’t care about his lyrics. He’s a professional footballer, not a misunderstood poet, and I kind of wish he’d remember that sometimes.”

Editor's note: this isn't a serious accusation and all quotes are fictionalised. But you knew that, because you're not stupid.

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