Joey Barton ready for first taste of ‘Lanclasico’
Joey Barton hasn’t been embroiled in the conflict of the “Lanclasico” as yet, but the midfielder feels as though he’s been filled in with everything he needs to know.
The 33-year-old, who moved to Turf Moor in August, is set to feature in his first East Lancashire derby as the Clarets take on Rovers at Ewood Park.
But David Dunn, now player-manager at Oldham Athletic, has educated the Evertonian on the fixture’s recent history.
Barton, who has featured in the Manchester derby with City and the Tyne and Wear war between Newcastle United and Sunderland, said: “I’ve kept hearing about the derby. I did my coaching badges with David Dunn, who was obviously at Blackburn for a number of years, and played in a few of these games.
“I’ve played in Marseille-PSG, Sunderland-Newcastle is really spicy, but this Lanclasico as they’re calling it – as the crow flies it’s probably the shortest derby I’ll have played in.”
Barton added: “There’s only a few miles between Newcastle and Sunderland and what baffled me about it there was, it was really heavy with riot police and so on and the fans transported like they are here on the coaches, but in the city centre during the week they would quite happily walk past each other and mingle.
“But when the game’s approaching they want to kill each other! It’s surreal.”
Barton, who made his Clarets debut against Reading last month, isn’t a stranger to making an impression on the big occasions.
Barton, who represented both Liverpool and the Toffees as a youngster, played in four Manchester derbies and scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford just over a decade ago.
“Back in my day at City we weren’t at the same level as they are now,” he said. “It was more of a derby for us than it was for them (United),” said the 33-year-old.
“Liverpool-Manchester United was more of a derby at that time than City.”
Barton, who is ready to play the pantomime villain, added: “The ground I get the most stick at is Everton, and I’m an Evertonian.
“I infamously showed my backside to them once time. It was meant as a joke and I thought they’d take it well but my sense of humour isn’t the same as everyone else.”