Embarrassed Newcastle United officials are looking at various ways of ending Joey Barton’s five-year contract at the club, if he is indeed found guilty of assault and affray.
Joey Barton – contract will be canceled by Newcastle United
We expect Newcastle to announce fairly shortly that, if he is found guilty, they will cancel Joey’s contract. There’s no other respectable way out for the Tyneside club, in this matter.
We had talked about Joey being on a zero tolerance policy at Newcastle United and weâ€™re sure he was told in no uncertain terms when he joined Newcastle in June, that the club would not put up with any of his previous aggressive behavior, both on and off the field. The 25 year-old midfielder is of course spending New Year in jail in Liverpool, and it couldnâ€™t get much more embarrassing for our club.
Barton was remanded in custody by Liverpool magistrates yesterday, leaving Newcastle’s board with little choice but to pour over his contract, but surely they will have left some provision in his contract for this possibility. Newcastle United have already negotiated a get-out clause in his contract, if Barton is found guilty next year of assaulting his former City team-mate Ousmane Dabo.
Now facing this additional, but less serious charge (common assault), which carries a maximum six-month prison sentence, Newcastle are considering their options, well before Barton’s next remand hearing on Thursday of next week.
We expect Newcastle to cancel Joeyâ€™s contract but retain his registration to protect their investment in the player. Then they could demand compensation should another club take Joey on. The case would then be similar to former Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu, sacked when he tested positive for cocaine in 2004. He later joined Juventus and then moved on to Fiorentina, but Chelsea won the right to a claim of Â£15M in compensation. Weâ€™re sure Newcastle lawyers are studying this particular situation very closely.
This incident will come as a major embarrassment to the Newcastle manager, Sam Allardyce, who had vowed to control the one-time England international. But the player has let down himself, his club, his manager and not least of all, the entire Newcastle United fan base.
Barton, 25, was arrested in his home city of Liverpool at 5:30 am on Thursday morning, after police were called to a fracas outside a McDonaldâ€™s restaurant in Liverpool. Joey is said to have been shouting after being goaded by the other customers. He was then asked to leave, but CCTV operators alerted police, after seeing the alleged fracas outside the restaurant at just after 5.30 am.
Two men claimed they had been attacked by Barton and police arrested the young footballer along with his brother Andrew, who is 19 years old, and a woman. One of the alleged victims is said to have been knocked out, and was taken to hospital but released after treatment.
Barton appeared the next day in the dock looking rather disheveled. He kept his eyes down throughout the 68 minute proceedings, speaking only once to confirm his name and address.
Crown Prosecutor Jayne Hughes said:
“He is already on bail for previous offenses and the Crown would oppose bail on the grounds that he may reoffend.”
Defending solicitor Gwyn Lewis did apply for bail but this was rightly rejected, since Joey is already on bail, from his previous fracas in April at Manchester City’s training ground with Dabo.
Joey has had every chance at the famous Newcastle club, but this is beyond the pale. Newcastle chairman Chris Mort will be challenged will have to act with authority and some speed in this matter. We think an announcement that Joeyâ€™s contract will be canceled by Newcastle, while keeping their options open for future compensation, will be made shortly. The proviso will be if Barton is found to be guilty.
Thereâ€™s no other reasonable path the club can follow in this matter.