There were a lot of misgivings from Newcastle fans back in the summer of 2007 after Sam Allardyce was signed on in mid June of that year by Chairman Freddie Shepherd replacing Glenn Roeder when his first signing was Joey Barton from Manchester City.
Joey had been in trouble for an incident during training earlier that year at Manchster City when he assaulted his team-mate Ousmane Dabo and left him unconscious.
Joey Barton in his early career at Newcastle
The Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce couldn´t get rid of him quickly enough in the summer and there were misgivings when he arrived on Tyneside for £5.8M.
In the lead in to the derby game at Sunderland on Sunday former Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce has talked about his brief eight months in charge at Newcastle and how it was a mistake to have signed Joey.
Mike Ashley bought the club that summer by buying shares from Sir John Hall and Freddie Shepherd and brought in Chris Mort as the Chairman in August to replace Shepherd.
Having bought the club quickly, Ashley didn´t do the usual rigorous due diligence work and subsequently found out the club owed £100M – and basically Ashley gave out an interest free loan to save on the interest payments.
We found out Newcastle paid for their players in yearly installments then and that we were still paying off the transfer fees on some players who had long since left the club.
This is some of what Sam Allardyce wrote in his new book about Barton:
“I also signed Joey Barton from Man City who I thought would liven things up, which he did, though not in a good way.
“Joey had a three amp fuse in a 13 amp plug and could blow any time anywhere.”“You couldn’t read him.”
“He got injured not long after joining and went into decline and was then arrested for assault at Christmas, having asked permission to go home to Liverpool because his Nan was ill.”
“He was subsequently sentenced to six months in prison.” “Barton was the loosest of cannons.”
“A few years later, Kevin Nolan reckoned he tamed him once he joined Newcastle and tried to get me to take him to West Ham, but I wasn’t interested.”
When Joey Barton was in jail there were attempts to end his contract at Newcastle and in any usual business he would have been fired.
But we learned that football is anything but a normal business and Joey stayed on and over the last couple of years at Newcastle he played well for us and was an asset, although he was injured for much of our promotion season.
But then after he criticised the club for selling Kevin Nolan in the summer of 2011 he was allowed to leave for nothing, even though he had one year left on his contract.
He ended up signing a lucrative four year contract at QPR as a free agent in August 2011.