While most of us wouldn’t dream of attacking even our worst enemies, if you are thinking about doing it, please note that you won’t be treated like a professional footballer. A long jail sentence is likely, while you’ll almost certainly lose your job and, with a criminal record, find it tough to get another one.
This is not the case for the thug that is Joey Barton, with The Guardian reporting that the soft touch that are Newcastle United have decided not only to give the player the 137th chance of his career, but also keep him on a hefty whack of a salary that is an offence to everyone who gets up and works hard for their crust every day.
Joey Barton will return to Newcastle United this week with a “final warning” ringing in his ears but, instead of a previously threatened “significant” pay cut, he is likely to retain his £65,000 a week.
The midfielder, who was released yesterday from Strangeways prison in Manchester after serving less than three months of a six-month sentence for assault, appears to have succeeded in backing Mike Ashley, Newcastle’s owner, into something of a corner. Although he can still anticipate some form of club sanction and will certainly be expected to comply with strict new conditions, any real reduction in his salary now seems unlikely and he is in a strong position.
However, the Magpies are not the only culprits here. The article goes on to report that their decision is partly based on the fact that up to four other Premier League clubs were interested in bagging him if United were going to sack him. What message does this send out to teenage apprentices at clubs up and down the land? That you can beat the crap out of somebody and probably get away with it?