Former Lioness and pundit Eni Aluko says she feels ‘under threat’ as she leaves the UK following Joey Barton’s abuse

She has stressed the importance of reminding people how much of an impact online abuse can have on people's mental and physical health.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 17th January 2024

Ex-pro turned pundit and football executive Eni Aluko has been “scared this week” and has felt her personal safety was “under threat” following abuse from former Manchester City player, Joey Barton, and others online, so much so that she has now left the country for a spell.

The retired Lioness and WSL hall of famer, who currently works as a sports broadcaster for the likes of ITV, TNT Sport and more, revealed in a lengthy social media post that she didn’t leave the house for the best part of a week following the misogynistic and hateful comments made by Barton.

Barton retired in 2017 and has since gone on to manage Fleetwood Town and Bristol Rovers, but also has his own podcast as well as being very vocal on social media, through which he caused a huge uproar by taking aim at both Aluko and fellow pundit Lucy Ward over their match analysis earlier this month.

The 41-year-old said, “How is she even talking about men’s football. She can’t even kick a ball properly”, in a post on X, before going on to equate the two commentators to serial killers by dubbing them “the Fred and Rose West of football commentary.” Aluko has finally addressed the situation.

The former Birmingham, Chelsea, Juventus and England star stated that “online abuse has a direct impact on your safety and how safe you feel in real life”, reiterating that she genuinely felt like something might happen to her following the torrent of sexist abuse that his comments ultimately helped spark.


Aluko and Ward are also reportedly considering taking legal action against Barton following his misogynistic rant and for what many have labelled “dangerous comments” — including the Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Stuart Andrew.

The MP said that Barton’s comments could “open the floodgates for abuse [which they already have] and that’s not acceptable”, adding that he didn’t to give people like Barton “the oxygen to fuel” further offensive behaviour. It is thought that the government could also look into any legal proceedings.


ITV Sport issued an official response following the Merseysider’s comments on Friday, 12 January, sharing a heartfelt statement of solidarity and condemning Barton for using his industry position and social media presence to dish out “such vindictive remarks based on gender”.

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The ITV dubbed his comments “contemptible and shameful”, with countless people around the country echoing the sentiment but he still has a select following and there are plenty online who share his problematic views latching on to the rhetoric.

Barton — who was sacked from his job at Bristol in October 2023 after just 13 games — is no stranger to sharing questionable and often inappropriate opinions online and has been targeting women in football in particular of late, and has only doubled down in his position since the controversy.


As Eni Aluko goes on to emphasise, “racism, sexism and misogyny” continue to create a culture where “people don’t want to go to work or leave their house”, stressing that her fear is that similar abuse could be dished out in the future and lead to a tragedy such as someone taking their own life.

For anyone suffering from online abuse, you can find helpful resources below. If you need to talk to someone, please get in touch with the Samaritans on 116 123 and if you believe you or someone you know is at immediate risk, daily 999 immediately.

  • Bright Sky App –
  • Safer Online –
  • Stop Online Abuse –
  • Disrespect Nobody –
  • Get Safe Online –
  • UK Safer Internet Centre –

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Featured Images — ITV/Common Sense Pod (via TikTok)/Eni Aluk (via IG)