Joey Barton Baffles Reporters With 'Bartonese'

Joey Barton Baffles Reporters With 'Bartonese'

Footballer Joey Barton has surprised journalists by hosting a post-match news conference with a French accent, after his first league game for Marseille.

Barton, who is on loan to the club from Queens Park Rangers, addressed reporters with an accent that has been likened to that of Officer Crabtree, a character from the 1980s television series 'Allo 'Allo.

During the news conference, the midfielder said it was important the media talked about the qualities he brought to the match as a footballer, before adding that he was "bored" of the sports press concentrating on "stupid little incidents" of the match.

He had already courted controversy before the game by suggesting he was too clever for football, saying: "Perhaps I shouldn't say it, but I'm maybe a little too intelligent to be a footballer."

His statement attracted scorn from former Arsenal and Manchester United player Mikael Silvestre, who said: "The uneducated Joey Barton is fascinating for the degree of his stupidity, his ego and his megalomania!"

'Allo 'Allo was a sitcom set in Nazi-occupied France during World War Two. Officer Crabtree was a British spy sent to France to help the Resistance movement, because he could speak French - but not very well.

Barton later took to Twitter to explain his behaviour.

"In my defence, it is very difficult to do a press conference in Scouse for a room full of French journalists," he said.

"The alternative is to speak like a (sic) 'Allo 'Allo! character which is choose (sic). Its simply a case of you had to be there.

"I am christening this new language Bartonese."

Dave Boydon, an English language expert at De Montfort University, in Leicester, told Sky News it was not unusual for people to imitate strong foreign accents even after being exposed to them for a short time.

"Also sometimes people imitate accents to ingratiate themselves into a new environment, which was probably the case here," he said.

However, dialect coach Sarah Shepherd told Sky News the accent could simply be down to a bet or dare.

"Even those of us who are more prone to picking accents up would still be unlikely to completely change our accent system and form of pronunciation on that many sounds that quickly," she said.

Marseille went on to beat opponents Lille 1-0 in Barton's first match.