Barton, manager of League Two side Bristol Rovers, made an ill-judged reference to the holocaust after his side were beaten 3-1 by Newport County last Saturday.

He said: "I said to the lads during the week, the team’s almost like musical chairs.

"Someone gets in and does well but then gets suspended or injured. Someone gets in for a game, does well but then has a holocaust, a nightmare, an absolute disaster."

The Holocaust, carried out by the Nazis during the Second World War, claimed the lives of roughly six million Jews. The comments were vilified by many, including Rovers' supporters, Jewish leaders and many commentators.

Joey Barton has been managing Bristol Rovers since February

On Wednesday, Barton broke his silence - albeit in bizarre fashion.

Rather than release a carefully-worded statement, Barton instead took to Twitter to quote a passage from Persian poet Rumi. The lines are from 'A Great Wagon', which explores concepts of non-judgement.

Barton tweeted a picture with the lines: "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

"When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about."

Jalal ad-Din Mohammad Rumi was a 13th century poet, musician and spiritual guide, who has had a considerable cultural impact throughout the Muslim world, in particular Turkey and Iran, but is also considered the best selling poet in the United States.

As well as Barton attracting plenty of criticism for the episode, many have also brought into question Rovers' responsibilities.

Barton is expected to carry on in his role, which he has held since February. It is his second managerial role following a previous spell at Fleetwood.

The 39-year-old spent two-and-a-half years with the Lancashire club before leaving in January this year.

Rovers are 18th in League Two and on Saturday travel to Harrogate Town. Before then, Barton is expected to face the media for his pre-match press conference duties. That is expected to take place on Thursday lunchtime.

Barton is scheduled to appear in court in November to stand trial on a charge of assaulting ex-Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel.

The matter relates to an incident that happened in April 2019. Barton has denied the charge.

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