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Joey Barton wants full Bristol Rovers fan experience after mixing with Marseille ultras at Tottenham
Barton met in a London pub with fans of the French club after playing for them on loan in his playing career. He was positioned with their voal away support but could only watch on as former Toffees striker Richarlison scored a brace.
He had only spent a year in France and played 33 times for Les Phocéens, but built up a positive relationship with one of French football’s biggest teams.
The former Newcastle United midfielder was keen to show his son the other side of the game after his eldest child had recently experienced a match day at the Mem against Shrewsbury Town.
He said “I’m a football fan. I started as a football fan. It’s where I still see football from. It’s why sometimes I say what I say and behave the way I behave because I’ve never lost that pureness.
“I was a supporter on the terraces and standing outside training grounds, waiting for autographs, climbing on walls to peer over fences to watch sessions.
“I was dead lucky to become a player and I never forgot that. The one thing that happens to you as a player and you look under the wizard’s curtain and it changes your relationship with the game.
“I went and I felt it must be great this, come in and sing your heart out, support your team, win or lose you’re on the booze.”
Wednesday’s trip to North London acted as an opportunity to let his hair down, getting away from the pressures of professional football.
An ardent Everton supporter, Barton did admit that the feeling of putting himself in the shoes of supporters was something that did entice him.
He said: “Go back with your mates, back to work and you don’t have to worry about managing people or the psychology, or dealing with the press and the stuff that goes with it.
“You’re caught up in the atmosphere taunting the opposition fans or singing the songs for your team or players.”