Barton's jail stint must be a lesson to Toon young guns

By Lee Ryder on May 20, 08 05:56 PM

Joey Barton's six month stint in jail for a "violent and cowardly act" outside McDonalds does nothing but put Newcastle United in a bad light.

It's bad enough when players don't do the business on the field but when they don't do the business on the field and then act like nutcases off it - it has to leave Toon fans, many of whom are currently scraping together money for their season tickets, wondering why they should bother.

Of course there are plenty of reasons why they should and will but this must be the end to players finding themselves struggling in the deep end.

For Kevin Keegan, Joey Barton - who he admitted had let him down before (at Man City) at his opening press conference and then threw him another chance - is a problem that he inherited from Sam Allardyce.

But after managing the player before, perhaps he is best equipped to get the best out of a player who can be one of the best in the business.

So far KK, has done that.

Indeed his performances in the last seven or eight games of the season showed he'd made steps forward.

There's nothing wrong with his attitude in training, Barton is one of the club's best trainers and even Big Sam admitted he couldn't keep him away from the training ground when he broke his foot.

It's evident that Barton's troubles stem from one thing and one thing only with today's court outcome testament to that.

Barton must serve his time now and like Tony Adams in his days at Arsenal, he must come out "fighting" the other way in football.

His custodial sentance will come and go and leave Barton with plenty of time to reflect on whether it's wise to go out drinking the day when you've been left out of the team (like at Wigan) and in a city where everybody knows your face.

And picking up the pieces there can be no better time to flag up this unwanted incident to the younger crowd at SJP.

Youngsters like Andy Carroll, Kazenga LuaLua and David Edgar all have the world at their feet at the moment.

And by seeing one of their senior colleagues sent down they have to use this as a warning shot and concentrate on getting Newcastle United in the headlines for the right reason.



Stan the Man said:

As seen in Tuesdays' Liverpool Echo-

"Premier League footballer Joey Barton has been jailed for assault and affray.

Jailing the 25-year-old Huyton-born midfielder for six months, Judge Henry Globe said: “You delivered many blows and were acting in an extremely violent and aggressive manner.�

Barton, who was described by his barrister as addicted to alcohol, had earlier admitted committing assault and affray in the early hours of December 27.

CCTV cameras picked up the Newcastle United star as he staggered along Church Street, getting involved in two separate altercations."

Thanks a million Fat Sam and Fat Fred. Thanks for this. Thanks for £62,000 a week underachieving Alan Smith. Thanks Glenn for Damien Duff, there in body (occasionally) if virtually never in spirit or effort or skill. Thanks Dougie for your casual dismissal of the people who paid your wages. Thanks to Dyer, Bowyer, Bellamy and Bramble. Thanks for the negativity and all the lousy publicity you've generated over the past few years. Thanks for whittling away at a club with a proud heritage and long-suffering but loyal and proud fans until we're reduced to reading stories in the nationals about having to sell Milner to Middlesbrough to raise some cash because Ashley's had to use his to pay off Fat Fred's (and, allegedly, Willie McKay's) debts. God, the other teams must be laughing. Martin O'Neill objects that he doesn't want Villa becoming a feeder club for Liverpool. Lucky s*d, Martin; at least no-one's thinking of you becoming a feeder club for Boro!

Jonnie said:

There's no doubt in my mind that Joey Barton means well, and he says all the right things in interviews etc. But this is a man who beat a man so badly he literally knocked him off his feet and broke his teeth. He may be sorry but he is a walking ticking time bomb. and do not forgetting he also has another famous case awaiting trial.

And this is an awful shame because he has wonderful footballing talent and great potential. I just hope that if we hold on to him, we don't end up once again lving to regret it, because we never know when he'll flare up again and cause more trouble not only for himself, but for Newcastle United.

Paul Patterson said:

In many ways the immediate thought is to wash your hands of the whole sorry episode and write off the contract whatever the cost, just on principle, to show you aren’t standing for it.

Lee, you say Barton can be one of the best in the business on his day, but that day hasn’t come yet.

I don’t think we’ve seen anywhere near what we should have from him yet and must prepare for next season with him out of the side as that’s what Her Majesty has in store for him.

In many ways the immediate thought is to wash your hands of the whole sorry episode and write off the contract whatever the cost, just on principle, to show you aren’t standing for it.

I once thought that it might just be best to do that and tell him to sling his hook and get rid, but then you put it into context- he comes from a background of problems, not all his own, he is a self confessed alcoholic, which he has admitted to Kevin that he needs help for and he hasn’t been in trouble since Kevin took over.

Newcastle United also stood by Lee Bowyer and Keiron Dyer when they decided to lump each other in front of 52,000. Now that’s not an excuse.

Alcoholism is a tricky thing- I don’t remember George Best ever saying ‘Er You know what? I think I may have a problem here?’ he just sauntered through life and his problems with the sauce are now, sadly overshadowing everything he did with a football.

Tony Adams admitted he had a fix and he needed help and he got it, and won medals and became a top player thereafter.

Newcastle United have form with regards to signing trouble makers- we stood by Craig Bellamy when he caused ‘Rumble in the Jungle II’ in Newcastle airport, by hoying chairs at coach John Carver, we signed Woodgate and Bowyer, who had racial convictions over their heads, so I don’t think we can just write Barton off, because of his problems.

Like everything in life, this stance by me, will probably be reviewed when/if he is brought to book over the Man City affair, but at this moment in time I have a step by step process, that may upset fans and a certain Newcastle player in the process.

1- I’d give him what Kevin has done so far, support and a shoulder.

2- (This may shock you) I’d give him the Captains armband and build a midfield around him.

In return I’d want a product from him- no more trouble, goals from midfield and service for the front line and that would serve Newcastle United better than just chucking £6m away.

I just picture fans like me saying in ten years time- 'Remember in 2008 when Barton had his troubles' 'Look what happened in a few seasons time, he scored a hatful of goals and then he lifted that trophy. . . '


Karl said:

I still think to an extent that he's having an example made of him. My younger brother made a similar mistake (unprovoked however) and this resulted in another lad having to have surgery on his nose, and my brother was quite rightly made to apologise and slapped with a £1200 fine (or ordered to pay the lad that, im not sure). Joey should have shown restraint, but if after "10 pints" someone was being a smart mouth to a relative of mine, i think i'd do similar, mind not straddling him, the one punch would suffice. Either way, im banking on him to come back and be better than he's ever been. Or in a worst case scenario spin off, keep getting wound up in prison and ending up with a longer sentence. Maybe im slightly biased, but i have never and still dont dislike the lad, he's actually one of our more articulate and philosophical thinkers.

james said:

I am of the opinion that certain newspapers calling for Joey Barton to be thrown out of football and NUFC should terminate his contract are being their usual blinkered self. Yes he has made a mistake (well a few) and standing over some guy and repeatedly punching him in the face whilst on the ground is a discrace and should not be seen ever FULL STOP. But like thousands of young Lads, Blokes, Men and woman this is a sad but almost inevitable part of city nightlife. The fact that he is being made an example off will not deter other youngsters or other footballers making a similar mistake as has been proven in the past by the likes of George Best, Jermain Pennant, Duncan Fergasun, Dyer and Boyer the list is endless but will without a doubt keep growing. With this in mind i think Newcastle should stick by Joey Barton as i think this spell in prison will only serve to do him some good and continued support from Kevin Keegan the Newcastle board and the fans will undoubtably help him to become the good player he is.

Snapper said:

I think people are missing the point here about Barton, the assault, as many have said has been levied against Barton for what his perceived status is, i.e a millionaire ne'er do well pro footballer. The jail term might be over the top, look at the Bigg Market on an average weekend, these fights happen all the time, thats not to justify his actions but the jail term. No the greater problem is he is a self confessed alcoholic, at 26 my God, if the ventures into a night club or bar he is inviting some moran to spike his drink and away he goes again. It saddens me this day and age, when a persons masculinity is judged on how many pints he can sink. Sky sports were trumpeting long and loud yesterday about the "stupid" Barton, and low and behold, who is one of the pundits, one Paul Merson. Mi Lord I rest my case.

william p said:

Sack Him

Charles said:

Only a few days from the news and many have already been critical over Barton. When will people learn than crying over spilled milk is never the solution.

Before any more negatives comes into this blog, let me remind you that Barton was only 'another' in the whole gallery of vigilantes that obviously got drunk after three gallons of brain-sucking, mind-blurring drink you guys call alcohol.

Think about the time where Bellamy lost his head and let his body loose without a guide. He's about as dangerous as a charging bull on blindfolds. Bet no one but his mum visited him in hospital when he got injured...

How about Dyer? The fast-paced, skilled and talented man who obviously showed Lee Bowyer a thing or two about his skills. Surely he's fast paced and skillful, he throw a punch that what only Lee Bowyer could called as a 'shadow punch' that came right out of the sky and hit you like a tin-can pie in the face.

Then there's trouble out of Newcastle. Keane, one of the greatest footballers of all time that could throw a tackle as fast as he throws a fist and strangles you to death for just saying, 'Hi' in a loose fashion.

And Rooney. The talented top who got plenty to sing about. Wasn't he who spawned the 'anger bug'?

What about the 'Gazza'? A famous footballer in our history that I actually regretted for putting his name here in the 'Hall of Infamy' but the obvious thing is even after that, we stood by him.

So, I'm calling the supporters to keep to their namesake, 'support' not 'support-sacking'. Barton was innocent until he knocked a filling of the crown of an obvious drunkard as much as the next guy. He's got a talented future here and I dont want to see one go so quickly. Think about it, at least he's got a bit more potential than Smithy there collecting wages.

But what is done, is done...KK was right to support him and I'd do the same. Six months? Come on! Be realistic! Two months for good behavior is more like our government...

Barton got months to reflect and I doubt he'd do the same again so if we solved his anger, its good enough for me.

And just to reflect upon the media...If you want something to write about, try Roy Keane. I'm sure he'll restrain himself while talking about his auto-biography. A little hope for you that Big Bad Barton doesnt come for your head if he was sacked.

And an additional info, I NEVER drink wine, beer or any forms of alcohol including 'Jolly Sandy'...not even at my own father's birthday.

halfmanhalfkeebab said:

The bottom line is that any average bloke in the street who was convicted of an assault such as this could not reasonably expect their employers to hold their job open for them pending their release AND pay them wages whilst they served their time. So why should a footballer be any different? In addition, I suspect that Barton may be in line for a further stretch at Her Majesty's pleasure if he is found guilty next month in respect of his alleged assault on Man City team mate Dabo. In that case, he is charged with an offence which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years so where will that leave him? Unavailable for a few years I suspect. NUFC have no real option but to kick him out and not be seen to be condoning this type of yobbish behaviour. Too much money, not enough brains! Sadly, the epitome of the modern footballer.

Len Charles said:

Joey Barton has had numerous chances to turn his life around,all of them spurned, because basically he is flawed. It happens, some people no one can help and sadly Barton falls into this category. Terminate his contract, chances are that on the 30 June at his next court appearance the six months will appear mild anyway. Newcastle's kids need this role model like a need a hole in the head!

Peter Murray said:

I think the main problem is that these young players make more per week than a lot of normal people make per year and this makes them think they are fireproof.

Clark W Griswald said:

He's a poor footballer, jail sentence or no jail sentence so i dont think he'll be missed anyway. I dont buy this 'he had a hard life with problems', well so do alot of people and they dont go round smacking punters in the street provoked or not. If we want to stick by him and show support for a criminal in the team lets stick peter sutcliffe upfront.

What will jail do for barton? he'll spend more time on his xbox than think about his actions. I cant see him keeping his fitness levels up so if he does come back in 6 months he'll need another month to get match fit. He's a waste of money and taking a place in midfield from someone that offers more and doesnt reflect badly on NUFC.
I feel KK will want to keep him so he can show people his man management skills and try to turn barton into a decent footballer. Barton had a history of causing trouble at city-the cigar in the lads eye and the dabo incident-they were glad to get shot of him.

He should be made an example of especially for the toon, we should no longer have to put up with players that do as they like and bring bad publicity on the club, we've had enough of those.
He's hardly a player that proposed transfers will relish joining incase he has one of his moments on the training ground and batters them with his predator boots.

M. Sebastian T. said:

For now it is Joey Barton, but soon it will be another Loony Toons player.

There is obviously a fundamental problem at Saint James Park and one that no recent manager has been able to solve. They need to check the air quality or something and find the fungal infection that is giving players the Mad SJP disease.

Perhaps it is all down to the cleaners not having found a rancid pair of Shearer socks in the dressing room. Or more to the point, the problems of attitude that clearly pervades the club must come from the management (not coaches I sure).

Or it could be picking players who cannot handle the proximity to the wild evening life in Toon clubs.

Ryder's reply: Don't think it's a case of Footballers Behaving Badly at just Newcastle.
Would anybody else like to draw up a list and see if it matches with mine?

Tony Adams - drink driving, custodial sentence
Michael Gray - Fracas with Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney - Granny-gate
Stig Tofting - head butted waiter - served four months
James Beattie - once stuck his head in a bowl of muffins while drunk
Don Hutchison - Budweiser labels - enough said
Peter Beagrie - smashed through a hotel window on motorcycle

I know there are plenty of others...

Campbell Waddell said:

This is typical of the way NUFC has been going from the start of the 2,000's,we have had more than our fair share of problem player's Bellamy Bowyer Dyer Woodgate Bramble and Barton. Why on earth do we buy all these nutters it does'nt make any sense both financally and it's terrible PR.

I hope that KK sorts out Joey Barton, and gets us going the right way something like Arsenal, Mr Wegner has shown the rest of the football world how a club should be run and playing the best brand of football that I have ever seen and that includes the entertainers. I'll bet that Arsenal have made a net profit on all transfers in Arsene Wegner's time in charge, a proper manager and not just a cheque book manager.


With Joey Barton joining the porridge club at one of her majesty’s finest prison’s ,he can no doubt lie on his not so soft mattress and be content that at the end of his 6 month incarceration , he can, unlike so many of us walk through the gates of freedom into the welcoming arms of his boss Kevin Keegan , and a champagne lifestyle, of cars and more dolly birds he can handle ,not to mention an injection of a whopping £1, million plus into his bank account for doing nothing but play pontoon and the occasional game of eye spy with his cellmate to pass away the idle hours .How very different the world of football is from our drab existence , the managers,who resign on principle and talk about honour as if it only belonged to the elite world that they live in and as if by magic , choose to forget the thugs and spoilt brats that they have signed up ,who because they can pass a ball around and notch up a acceptable tally of goals, and in most cases, end up , not doing that. While joe bloggs loses his job, his home, and in many case’s his family , football bosses continue to turn a blind eye to their arrogant and childish players, for fear of losing them to other clubs ,while at the same time reminding them that they are roll models for the young fans , what sheer hypocrisy , and utter drivel is spouted from those among us who abide in the lofty world of soccer management

Phil said:

Well said, Stan the Man. It's time Newcastle set some player conduct standards - as Ferguson has done for years at Manchester. What sort of "athletes" do we want? Liverpool quickly got rid of Bellamy. You won't win anything with such "flawed" headcase individuals - they're not true athletes. We're making fools of ourselves, and looking desperate for success at any price. LET US SET SOME DECENT STANDARDS AT NUFC. Most NUFC fans are sick of players who are not worthy of wearing the shirt.

Siomi said:

I am astonished how many seem happy to forgive and forget this man’s brutal behaviour. I think comments being made that are sympathetic to his tough upbringing and suggesting he deserves a chance to redeem himself are really just a veneer to cover the real reason to give him a chance at the club – he just might turn out to be a good footballer and help us win something.

This is exactly the unprincipled and quite frankly unethical approach taken over the years in recruiting and managing players at our club. Newcastle United is now synonymous in many people’s eyes with undisciplined, unprofessional, thuggish and even racist behaviour (Bowyer, Woodgate, Bellamy, Dyer..).

And let’s not forget that the vicious New Year attack was just the latest in a line of unpleasant nasty incidents for this man. When will be the final one? The next time? Or will we still see some potential there and give him another last chance? Maybe even the captain’s arm band eh Paul? This will send a great message to all and sundry about what we value in the North East.

It is about time that Newcastle United raised its standards and developed an atmosphere of professionalism and hard work. It is not our role to rehabilitate habitual offenders and drunks. Leave that to the probationary services and the doctors. If players want to play for one of the best clubs in the world, they need to treat it as an honour and treat us with respect. Are we really the vicious ones?

Kevin can be admired for his big heart, but he should not have played Barton pending these court cases and should now just eliminate him from his plans for the team. The man is a liability to the club and to his colleagues. Do we honestly think prison will improve him? If he can’t control himself when given lip by a couple of teenagers on a night out, how will he cope in prison? Out early for good behaviour? Hmmmm.

The Joey Barton story is far from over, and I really, really think Newcastle United should no longer be part of it.


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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