SOCCER ‘bad-boy’ Joey Barton is showing his softer side by backing a charity that helps people affected by brain haemorrhages.
Newcastle United midfielder Barton will be speaking about his career during a charity dinner and auction in aid of the Peterlee-based Clarke Lister Brain Haemorrhage Foundation next month.
The Toon ace has often courted controversy during his career, with some high-profile misdemeanours on and off the pitch.
But Carole Lister, who set up the foundation after her football-mad son Clarke, 10, died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage in 1996, says Barton is a “gentleman” who has charity at heart.
Carole, 56, from the Oakerside Park area of Peterlee, is delighted Barton is backing the campaign, which funds research into brain haemorrhages and strokes and provides emotional and practical support.
Other Magpies players that could make an appearance on the night include Alan Smith, Shola Ameobi and Kevin Nolan.
Carole said: “We are delighted that Joey is helping us.
“This is an opportunity for him to speak for himself and to see the other side of Joey, because he is considerate and he does support charities.
“He will be speaking about his career and if people want to know the true Joey they should come along to this evening.
“He is a genuine person.
“He has been to a few of our golf days and he comes across as a gentleman and true supporter of charities in general.”
Barton said: “I’m obviously delighted to support the Clarke Lister Foundation.
“It’s quite daunting doing an event like this with so many fans expected to be there, but it’s a great opportunity to do so.”
Several players from St James’s Park have supported the organisation over the years, and the charity’s patron is Easington-born Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper.
The event, called Off the Record: An Evening With Joey Barton, takes place at the Gateshead Hilton hotel from 7pm on March 22.
Tables of 10 are available for £450.
There will be a three-course meal, a raffle, an auction and comedy.
l The foundation is appealing for families who have had two blood relatives suffer a brain haemorrhage to come forward and provide a blood sample to assist with the genetic research.
For more information, call 07770 554 232 or 07768 733576.