Before I wrote this book review, I asked a few people what they thought about Joey Barton. None of the responses can be reproduced.
As I sat down to read the book I was wondering if his persona would shine through or would it be more of the same person that tackled Xabi Alonso.
The lucky thing for Barton with this book is that he managed to acquire the services of Michael Calvin to help ghost write the book. Calvin is a magician when it comes to writing, as one can see by his recent books. Any soccer fan who has read either of “Nowhere men” or “Living on a volcano” can testify that they are brilliant reads.
I wanted to see a different view of him and I believe as autobiographies go, I have seen a different side.
Right from the start one gets a glimpse of the childhood Barton grew up in, based in the St. John’s estate in Liverpool. Regular stories of fights in local pubs up to following his dad everywhere when he was playing non-league football to Wembley show that football and violence were a part of his life from a young age.
Sound bites and paragraphs that reveal his honest approach run from start to finish in the book as he says on page six. The title of the book is very apt for Barton.
“You cannot be seen as a soft touch in a school playground or on a football pitch. Show weakness on the streets, and they will steal the shirt from your back if you let them.
“The dynamics haven’t really changed as I’ve progressed through my football career.”
The current Rangers player’s vulnerability is evident in many parts of the book from stages of being in prison and asked to hand over a list of his contacts to the authorities. For that split second he must consider who he actually regards as close.
The big question though with any book is would recommend it? I would recommend it as a read as it helps to give a very good insight into the player who is often wrongly tagged according to himself on the media.
Put it in your Christmas stocking – you will read far worse books in the months after Santa delivers his goodies in late December.