There’s plenty of behind the scenes events in football history the average fan would’ve liked to have been witness to.
Like when Roy Keane clashed with Mick McCarthy during a Republic of Ireland team meeting in Saipan ahead of the World Cup 2002.
Or when Roy Keane clashed with Alex Ferguson during a Manchester United team meeting in 2005.
Or when when Joey Barton took a bite out of Richard Dunne during a bar-room brawl in Thailand involving a teenage Everton fan who insulted Robbie Fowler. Or maybe not.
You may not have heard, but Barton has a new book coming out, and has plenty of time to promote it after getting suspended from Rangers.
One of the more bizarre stories, which is saying something given the 34-year-old’s eventful career, involves a brawl on a pre-season tour of Thailand in 2005, when then-Manchester City Stuart Pearce allowed his team to go out and have a few drinks.
“I take after my grandad, in that I am an angry, articulate drunk,” Barton begins the tale.
He and Irish legend Dunne encountered some Everton fans in the bar, and Barton says he didn’t appreciate the fan talking ill of Robbie Fowler.
“He [Everton fan] began to denigrate Robbie Fowler as a cokehead and a coward, because he wasn’t on the trip. Bob was injured, and I wasn’t going to put up with lazy, vindictive lies about him. I could feel the mist start to descend.”
Barton says the fan, who was 15-years-old and in the bar with his father, hit him so the midfielder struck back. Dunne wasn’t pleased with Barton’s reaction and demanded he apologise to the teenager.
“I went back to my pint and was soon confronted by the Honey Monster [Dunne], who was as buried in booze as I was. ‘F***ing get over there now and apologise!’ he screamed. I declined.”
“Dunney grabbed me by the throat, and pushed me back against the wall. He was bigger than me and stronger than me so wrestling was out of the question. I turned feral, and sank my teeth into his fist as hard as I could.
“I rugby tackled him before he could react. Our momentum took us over some steps and into a secondary tier, where Dunney crashed through a glass coffee table.
“‘You’re going to have to fight him now. He’s a big lad, but nothing to be scared of’. I leaped back to the bar and grabbed a pint glass. Tim Flowers recognised my intention of smashing it across Dunney’s head, and threw himself at me.
“I could hear Dunney screaming, he was being frog marched to a secure area, and was so out of control he kicked a plant pot, breaking a bone in his foot.”