Sam Allardyce signed Joey Barton to Newcastle last year for Â£5.8M, and it was a controversial signing at the time.
Â Sam Allardyce -concerned for Barton’s frame of mind
So you may think that Allardyce may try to defend his decision to sign the player, after Barton is now serving 6 months in jail for a crime of assault he committed while a Newcastle United player on 27th December last in Liverpool city center.
But in his regular column for a Middle East newspaper, The National, Big Sam has defended his decision to sign Barton, and seems concerned there could be long term repercussions for the midfielder if he is sacked by the club now.
“If Newcastle sack him, then it will be another punishment and defeat the objective of Joey trying to put things right and become a better person.”
“It could also be dangerous to take away football from him. He is a complete football man.”
“His life revolves around it; there’s nothing else. Without it, he could re-offend and, even worse, go into a depression.”
“We’ve had people in the past committing suicide because they could not cope with life after professional football.”
“Dave Clement, who was with me at Bolton, was one at 34 and it’s very sad when something like that happens.”
“If Newcastle keep Joey, this is the last chance for him. He is fighting for his future because I don’t think anyone will take him if he steps out of line again.”
“He owes it to the club and playing could help rehabilitate him, especially if he puts something back into the community like working with kids.”
“Joey has had help but he needs to do things for himself now. There is no point blaming other people any more.”
“It’s down to him to steer clear of the people who are not good for him, to steer clear of alcohol and to control his anger.”
“Inside, he will have had time to reflect on what’s happened and I’m sure that he will not want to go through it all again.”
“Prison is the ultimate punishment and if this doesn’t make him want to get things right, then nothing will.”
“If he comes out with an electronic tag around his ankle, that will be a constant reminder about the experience and make him grateful he has a second chance.”
First of all we think Sam is thinking purely of Barton, and doesn’t seem to be interested ind defending his signing, since Joey let Sam, the club and himself down for the assault that happened on 27th December last year in Liverpool.
Barton got a 4 month suspended sentence for his Dabo attack, which occurred last May 1st (2007) while he was still at Eastlands, the trial completing earlier last week.
We think Sam’s words are realistic and to the point, and it’s obvious he hopes that Joey gets one last chance at Newcastle – this would not be his second chance, because he’s already had a few of them already.
We also think Kevin Keegan will have an attitude very similar to Big Sam’s, about Joey, and we think Kevin will try to persuade Ashley and others to give Joey once last chance.
We’ll have to wait until Newcastle meet with Barton, probably next week, when he gets out of jail, and whatever they decide we’ll support the decision.
After having some experience in management for quite a while at IBM, I know he would have been fired from his job long before now, if he worked at the computer company, or most other companies for that matter.
But if Newcastle decide to give him another chance we’ll support and that – and we’ll be pulling for Joey to make good – 100%. It’s not an easy decision for the club, because whichever they go will get plenty of criticism.
If Newcastle give him that last chance – and Joey does make good at Newcastle, that will be some story – but it’s all up to Joey, again, if indeed Newcastle give him one last chance.