‘Coward’ Joey Barton’s past catches up with him in Marseille

Sep 4, 2012
Bill Mann

Barton offers Dabo dinner after Frenchman warns Marseille fans: ‘Don’t be fooled – he’s horrible’

JOEY BARTON has invited Ousmane Dabo to dinner in Marseille so they can discuss their differences “like adults” following the Frenchman’s stinging attack on Barton in the pages of L’Equipe.

Stunned to learn of the English midfielder’s loan move from QPR to Marseille – where fans hailed Barton with banners proclaiming ‘Welcome Sweet and Tender Hooligan’ – Dabo accused Barton of lying over their notorious training ground fracas in 2007.

At the time of the incident Dabo - now retired - and Barton were team-mates at Manchester City. The pair squared up to one another in May 2007 and Dabo came off the worst, requiring medical treatment for a detached retina. The Frenchman took Barton court as a result of his injuries and his team-mate received a suspended four-month suspended sentence.

Subsequently Barton has claimed he was acting in self-defence having been set upon by Dabo – but the Frenchman sees it very differently

"He lied about what happened on the training ground of Manchester City, it's amazing. It shocked me," Dabo explained to L'Equipe. “There was a civil trial, he pleaded guilty and took four months suspended sentence… all team members who were present during the assault testified in my favour at the trial."

Labeling Barton a coward, Dabo also issued a warning to Marseille fans eager to see Barton play the first match of his season-long loan. "Do not be mistaken about Barton… he has committed many horrible things, the last in May. Nobody wanted him to stay in England and there is a reason. He is not a man to me, he is a coward.”

The incident in May Dabo refers to was Barton’s assault on three Manchester City players that earned him a 12-game suspension to the fury of new QPR boss Mark Hughes.

Barton’s reaction to his former team-mate’s verbal broadside came, predictably, through Twitter – his favourite way of communicating these days.  “I see Dabo is yet to move on, I feel for him. What happened was unfortunate. Next time he should think twice about throwing his weight about,” was his initial riposte, followed a short while later by: “Thats all I have to say about this chap. I have moved on. Je suis fatigué de cette discussion [I’m tired of this discussion].”
Later, however, in a spirit of touching reconciliation, Barton reached out to Dabo, tweeting: “If Ousmane wants to come to a Marseille game, have dinner and discuss it like adults, he's more than welcome anytime. For me now, its over!”

Dabo has yet to respond to Barton’s invitation although it’s unlikely the two will be seen anytime soon in Marseille breaking bread. A bottle, perhaps, but not bread.

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