In a bizarre chain of events today professional footballer Joey Barton was forced to deny any links to the anti-Muslim hate group the English Defence League (EDL) after a picture emerged on Facebook of the footballer posing for a photo with EDL leader Stephen Lennon.
Under the picture, which was posted on the 'EDL Support Group' Facebook page, reads the caption 'Joey Barton Joins the EDL' (I refuse to link to this page and instead refer you to a page on some of my thoughts on the EDL).
This may have shocked many football fans who admired the outspoken scouser but for those of us who know what the EDL are like and are aware of the childish tactics that they use, this seemed like another one of their stupid publicity stunts. The group did the same thing last year to Katie Price, claiming that she was a member when she had unknowingly posed for a photograph with their fame-hungry leader.
On Monday afternoon QPR quickly released a statement denying any links between Barton and the group and the footballer himself also quickly distanced himself from the EDL. The QPR statement read:
Queens Park Rangers Football Club and Joey Barton categorically deny any link between the midfielder and a far-right group who are claiming his support.
Barton took to Twitter (as usual) to condemn the picture, by stating that not only was he unaware of who Robinson was but that that he also thought the EDL were 'right wing numpties':
Can I just state, that should any person, ask me for a photograph when I’m in public, that I am not aware of their religious, political or personal beliefs or affiliations. If I smile and oblige their request, I do so for no other reason, than they’ve asked politely and respectfully.
However this does not mean I am friends or share their beliefs. I categorically refuse to publicly release a statement, because I refuse to raise awareness in a group of mentally deficient right wing numpties. Hope u understand.
Glad that one was cleared up Joey! But as mentioned above, no one seriously believed that Barton had joined the EDL. No matter how much you may hate him as a footballer, he isn't an idiot. But Stephen Yaxley-Lennon is. He resides over a group that struggle so hard to be taken seriously, they have to rely on posing unsuspectingly with mid-ranking celebrities in order to generate publicity.