There is some good news and some bad news for Joey Barton today.
Joey Barton – in action against Arsenal earlier this year
The good news is that Alan Pardew will make Joey captain of the side for the next two games, in Kevin Nolan’s enforced absence.
Kevin picked up his 10th caution of the season on Saturday, and is now suspended for the next two games at Aston Villa this Sunday (another 3 points?) and at home to Manchester United on Tuesday night, 19th April.
The bad news is that Joey will very likely miss the US tour in July, because he will not be allowed into the US, because of two prior felonies.
There was also good news yesterday that Joey Barton wanted to re-enter negotiations with Newcastle, to get a new contract at the club, and it seems like the initiative is coming from the player himself, so that is welcome news.
Of course Joey’s past behavior still haunts him, and he will need to show some respect to the captain’s armband on Saturday, and conduct himself appropriately, but we’re sure he will do just that.
Alan Smith would normally be the one to take over, but Alan is out injured for the season, and Fabricio Coloccini seems to be the only other player who was considered to take over from Nolan by the manager.
This is what Alan Pardew said today:
“It is important Joey continues to represent the club in the right manner.” “He will be captain for the next two games and the spotlight will be on him, that is for sure.”
“Everyone will be watching him to see how he handles it, but he deserves the chance to take on that responsibility – not just with his displays but also his behavior.”
“There is a maturity and a calmness about Joey and, apart from one mishap against Blackburn, he has kept his control.”
“He was excellent again against Wolves last weekend and we hope that he can play as well this weekend against Aston Villa and in the game after that, because we will need him to.”
Barton has done well both on and off the field this season, and should be given some credit for finally overcoming his demons, for most of the time.
He’s had just one little act of aggression in the home game against Birmingham, when he punched Pedersen, and of course he received a three match ban for that altercation.
The two convictions Barton has for assault, will almost certainly stop him from getting a visa, so he can tour the US with the Newcastle team in July.
Barton will have to apply for special dispensation to travel with the squad, because of his two criminal convictions for assault, but we think it will be highly unlikely he will be allowed into the country.
There are precedents of other sportsmen routinely having their visa applications rejected, when they have had criminal convictions in the past, and it’s unlikely, very unlikely in fact, that Joey will be able to accompany the Newcastle squad to the US.
Actions have consequences, and bad actions have bad consequences – and that’s the way it goes unfortunately.
The next two games will be an excellent opportunity for Joey to show he has matured big time over the last couple of seasons, and we have every confidence that he will conduct himself very well while wearing the armband.
It would also be fantastic if Newcastle can get two wins in those games – because then we’d all be flying.