Barton, who played youth football for City, signed with the club as a professional in 2002 and, by 2006, was already in the process of developing a reputation for trouble. At the City Christmas Party in 2004, youth player Jamie Tandy--himself no stranger to trouble--attempted to set fire to Barton's shirt. Barton responded by sticking a lit cigar in Tandy's eye. Although Tandy's injuries were limited to a burnt eyelid, City issued Barton a club-record fine of £60,000.
In the summer of 2005, City were participating in a preseason tournament in Thailand when a 15-year old Everton supporter verbally insulted Barton and kicked him in the shin. Barton responded by attacking the boy and had to be pulled away by teammate Richard Dunne. Afterward, City manager Stuart Pearce ordered Barton to take anger management classes and also fined him £120,000.
By contrast, Barton's backside-baring earned him a paltry £2,000 fine and a caution from the Football Association.
Barton was not through making headlines for off-the-pitch behavior, however. On 27 December 2007, he was caught on video fighting on the streets of Liverpool. He attacked a 16-year old boy, breaking several teeth, and punched another man at least 20 times. He was sentenced to six months in jail, but was released after spending only two months behind bars.
He left Man City in 2007 and, after spells with Newcastle and Marseille, currently plays for Queens Park Rangers.