Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan insists that his controversial midfielder Joey Barton still has a future with the Tyneside club.
Joey Barton – Keegan says he still has future at Newcastle
Kevin talked to BBC Radio 5 today and it appears that Joey Barton will get out of prison next week after serving time on a six-month prison sentence for assault.
Barton will have served less than half the sentence by next week, and Keegan has already said he will give him a second chance at Newcastle.
Keegan told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek today:
“People have opinions, and you must respect those, but mine is to give him another chance and back him,”
“There are a lot of things he needs to put right – but I think he can do it.”
Barton is in jail for assaulting a teenager in Liverpool at 5:30 am on December 27th last year, and the player was also recently convicted of assaulting former Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo.
For that conviction he was given a suspended four-month sentence.
“Joey will be back with us towards the end of this month,” (author note: – it’s now the 27th)
“It’s well documented he’s had his problems, but I knew of them when I took over.”
“He’s served his sentence, he’s been punished for what he did wrong.”
“The world is littered with people that have been given a second chance and taken it with both hands.”
“I told him as long as from now on he did things right and started to rebuild the confidence of people around him, I would stick by him.”
“The Joey Barton that we had in the last couple of months of the season was a much-changed character.”
“I’m hoping that he’ll come back and we’ll get him fit. It’s up to Joey to put things right now – he’s got to win over a lot of people.”
Good words from Kevin, who is probably the very best man that Joey could have as his current manager right now.
We assume Joey is thanking his lucky stars that his manager, who was with him at Manchester City,Â is a good man and has a heart of pure gold, because in truth he probably doesn’t deserve this chance.
But since it looks like the club are willing to forget Joey’s past antics, we’ll have to get behind Kevin and see if we cannot also help Joey to get his life and career back on track.
The Newcastle fans are a forgiving and dedicated bunch, and as long as the players are completely committed to the club, they’ll support them in most things.
And if indeed Barton can take this chance, clean up his act, and become a key player for Newcastle, he will have repaid the fans and the club for the faith they have shown in him.
We look forward, this coming season, to Joey Barton doing just that.