Some rather weird news is being reported today about Joey Barton, who is due to be sentenced today in Manchester.
Â Joey Barton – will be sentenced today – but will he still have a job?
Barton admitted one charge of assault at his trial yesterday, occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) to former team mate Ousame Dabo, at Manchester City, and will now be sentenced today, with the maximum sentence for causing actual bodily harm being five years in prison.
However, there is news being reported in the Daily Mirror and the Shields Gazette, that Barton is hoping to be back at Newcastle United for the first day of pre-season training â€“ which is this coming Monday.
Barton, who is currently serving 6 months in jail, on another separate charge, but could be released early for good beahvior, has refused to take a 50 per cent pay cut at Newcastle.
The reports this morning suggest that he is expected to be given a suspended sentence for the Dabo attack, which of course led to his exit from Manchester City last summer, when he moved to Newcastle for Â£5.8M, and a rather long 5 year contract.
Why we made it 5 years and not say only 2-3 years is beyond us. We knew he was potential trouble when we signed him, so why did we sign ourselves up for a potential 5 years of trouble? That’s the longest contract of anybody at the club, and seems rather strange.
And since Joey is already in jail for being found guilty on a similar charge, what’s the logic and justification in giving him a suspended sentence?
The Shields Gazette is also reporting that Barton was hopeful he would be released a little over a month into his current six-month sentence, on the condition he wore an electronic tag.
Barton wouldn’t be the first footballer to have to wear an electronic tag, since Jermaine Pennant had to wear a tag after a drunk driving conviction in January, 2005, while he was on loan at Birmingham City from Arsenal.Â But of course he still continued to play football.
It’s interesting that we’ve been linked with Jermaine this summer. The player is now at Liverpool of course.
The 25-year-old Barton is supposedly eligible for early release, and could be released as early as today, but that would be atrocious timing, given that he was found guilty only yesterday on an unrelated charge, and that training at Newcastle starts next Monday.
It would appear, and it could well be true, that things are being worked out nicely so Barton can start pre-season training at Newcastle next Monday – but that seems a little callous not to mention looking absolutely ridiculous.
If he was anybody else, like Joe Blow, working for ABC company, he would have lost his job long before now.
And the release yesterday of CCTV images of the street assault at 5:30am of December 27 in Liverpool, can hardly have enamoured him to owner Mike Ashley. He looks like a thug gone mad.
Make no mistake, over this last year, with Joey Barton at the club, he has hurt Newcastle United’s image around the world.
And as we reported late yesterday, we expect Newcastle to issue a statement, once the sentence has been passed on Barton today.
It’s a very tricky situation for the club, and one option looming large is that the club will just sack Barton, and maybe that will happen today.
But such an action would hardly help manager Kevin Keegan â€“ on the playing side of things, since Keegan has already lost 7 first team players this summer, and is now 0-4 in going after top players, and the club still has to make our first signing of the summer.
But this is above that level, unfortunately for Kevin, because it’s about whether the club wants to risk even further damage in unwanted bad publicity, with Barton at the club.
There are also later reports today that once Barton is sentenced, a Newcastle inside source has said Newcastle’s plan is to sit down with Barton’s representatives, to discuss a way forward.
But we seriously doubt whether BartonÂ can be trusted to behave himself in the future.