Joey Barton has hit out at "lazy" Premier League clubs who passed on signing him during the transfer window for not noticing how he's turned his life around.
The 32-year-old gained notoriety after two assault convictions in 2007 and 2008, but he says he has been a different man since becoming a father in 2011.
Barton ended up signing for Championship club Burnley, but he says teams in the top flight missed an opportunity by disregarding him.
"From time to time, people think it's Charles Manson or Fred West that is going to come into the building, but that's the ridiculous legacy I have, which is baffling," Barton said, according to the Telegraph.
"Most people who have met me know I'm hard-working and I'm opinionated, but if you're handled with respect, I've never had an issue with anybody.
"That gets lost with me from time to time because people start worrying about the baggage and how you'll contribute to the group and how you'll react if you're not playing, which is lazy on their behalf. That's how I see it.
"I think if you're a Premier League club, anyone from 10th downwards, and you had the opportunity to take me on a free transfer it's an absolute no-brainer.
"But they are lazy, they don't do their homework so they tune into things you did in 2006, 2007, rather than look at what's going on, what you've done in the last three years, how your family circumstances have changed.
"You go from being a single lad, who has had a lot of baggage and been in trouble, to starting a family, in the process of changing your life around and start progressing."
Barton originally sent a message to West Ham fans saying he had no hard feelings over their reaction to him, and he declined to say that the outcry was the reason the deal failed.
"Depends who you listen to. It just never got over the line," he said. "It was the 11th hour. It was really late and really disappointing. I felt I could have played there, but West Ham's loss will be Burnley's gain.
"They've got their reasons for not doing it. It's probably a better fit for me here. It's not Premier League football, which I wanted, but the aim is to be there quickly."