Before attacking a teenager on the streets of Liverpool, Joey Barton let loose on his then-Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo, and originally protested that he had given the Frenchman a good hiding for his own self-defence. The Newcastle midfielder has now admitted he was guilty and has got away with a pretty lenient punishment, have the FA acted correctly?
The BBC report that Barton has been banned for six matches and fined £25,000 after admitting a charge of violent conduct. This will see him out of action for most of September and October, although the fine is a mere drop in the ocean for someone who is thought to earn £50,000 a week.
A statement from the independent regulatory commission Chairman Maurice Armstrong said: “Much has been written about Mr Barton over recent months.
“The regulatory commission had the benefit of taking all appropriate information into consideration.
“The commission members considered principally the serious attack by Mr Barton that clearly cannot be accepted.
“The members also had to take into consideration the sanctions imposed by the courts and the pro-active support Mr Barton has received from Newcastle United and other professional bodies.
“The commission members wanted to punish the offence appropriately but give Mr Barton an opportunity to ensure his professional conduct does not falter again and ensure he is fully aware of the consequences should he make another serious error of judgment.”
It remains to be seen whether Barton has a future at Newcastle United, especially after one of his biggest fans (a certain Mr Keegan) left the club as manager this week. Unless, the Magpies promote from within, the new man in the hotseat might object to having a criminal on the books who is potentially liable to thrash out at any given moment.