St James’ Park villain holds his hands up.
Newcastle’s Joey Barton has accepted a violent conduct charge after punching Morten Gamst Pedersen at St James’ Park and apologised to the Blackburn player.
The 28-year-old midfielder, will be banned for the Premier League games against Fulham, Bolton and Chelsea.
“I would like to apologise to [Magpies boss] Chris Hughton, my team-mates, our fans and of course to Morten Gamst Pedersen and Blackburn,” said Barton.
The Football Association acted after referee Mike Jones missed the incident.
However, the official subsequently assessed video replays, in which Barton appeared to strike Norwegian Pedersen in the midriff, to decide if the offence would have warranted a red card if he had seen it.
“I fully accept that I was in the wrong on this occasion and accept the charge that the Football Association have brought against me,” Barton added.
“I hold my hands up, I reacted badly to the situation on Wednesday night and I deeply regret it.
“I have been working very hard to keep that side of my game under control and I think it has showed in the way I have been able to get on and enjoy my football this season.
“I look forward to trying to get back into the team once my suspension is over and helping the club maintain its good start to the season.” (BBC Sport)
Whilst it is good to see Joey Barton come out and make his apologies for his disgraceful behaviour it does seem that he is still to rid himself of the reputation he has for being a thug. Even this statement appears to lack contrition. For some reason the words “I fully accept that I was in the wrong on this occasion” seem to sound very hollow. What does “on this occasion” mean? It’s almost as though he is saying “you accuse of me of all these other offences but on this offence I AM in the wrong”.
The Newcastle United midfielder really does appear to have gone some way to improving his game but let’s not forget that he has been involved in other incidents this season, against Arsenal in the Carling Cup in particular, that would suggest he has some way to go to stop people accusing him of being a bully boy.