The Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton has changed his plea from innocent to guilty,Â just before the scheduled start of his trial today at Manchester Minshull Crown Court.
Ousmane Dabo – arriving at court in Manchester today
Barton, 25, has now admitted one charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm to Ousmane Dabo, in a training ground incident, when they were team mates at Manchester City on May 1st, last year.
Barton has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons off the pitch, over the last three or four years, because of his anger and temper tantrums.
This is the third criminal trial this year for Barton, and in one he was declared innocent, but in the other he was found guilty of assault and affray and jailed for 6 months, a sentence which he is currently serving.
In April 2004, he stormed out of Eastlands before kick-off after being dropped from the side to face Southampton that day, and in a 2005 pre-season friendly game, although it was anything but that, he sparked a mass brawl in the game against Doncaster Rovers.
The fact that Barton has suddenly pleaded guilty, after previously strenuously denying the charges against him for over 13 months, may not stand him in good stead for the sentencing.
If he is found guilty we think there is a very good chance that his club, Newcastle United will sack him, immediately following the verdict.