‘I knew deep down that they were going to go away’: Joey Barton opens up on his two 2021 court cases

Joey Barton Bristol Rovers manager
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In 2021, Joey Barton faced two separate court cases - one related to the alleged assault by beating of a woman at an address in London, the other connected to the alleged assault of then-Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel, while Barton was still in charge of Fleetwood.

While police charged Barton on both occasions, the first case was dismissed due to Barton being unable to get a fair trial, while the second cleared the former Manchester City and Newcastle midfielder of assaulting Stendel. 

Barton, who had taken up the manager's position at Bristol Rovers by then, was unable to keep the club in League One in the 2020/21 season. As he explains to FourFourTwo, he knew he was innocent but, naturally, court proceedings affected his work as a manager. 

“I had one court case when I came in, we got relegated, then I picked up another that summer,” Barton states. “I knew deep down that they were going to go away, because I knew what had happened. 

"But nowadays, you’re guilty before you’re proven innocent. Months and months later when it’s actually resolved, people have already formed their opinion and been judge, jury and executioner on you. I was fortunate here that the owner absolutely believed in what we were doing and took the time to understand what was going on with me. 

“It wasn’t ideal – you can’t be completely focused on your job every single day when you’ve got court cases rumbling on in the background. So to get them out of the way, it’s no coincidence that when the court cases disappear, a smile is back on your face and you can concentrate on giving your all every day to the players. Football has always been my salvation – and whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Barton also says he knew football management was his calling when he retired from playing, revealing he used to organise teams even in his early days at school.

"I was always coaching when I was playing, trying to organise teams, even when I was at junior school,” he explains to FFT. “Our teacher was more of a rugby league man, so he leaned on me because of my football ability. 

"We enjoyed a very successful period at St Agnes School in Huyton – it’s gone now, they’ve built houses on it, but it had been there for 50 or 60 years and never won the local cup until our team.”

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future. 

With contributions from