‘I know this is my last chance’ admits Newcastle midfielder, for the 27th time

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Do you trust a word that comes out of Joey Barton’s mouth? After all, we’ve been here before with the words of remorse and the head hung low, although maybe the Newcastle midfielder has turned over a new leaf after his spell in prison.

The Guardian reports that the former Manchester City player with a history of being violent is determined to right the many wrongs that have taken place in his life to date. He’s prepared to meet the challenge of being booed at every ground head-on, although that doesn’t mean he’ll be butting any opposition player in the process. Probably.

“The fans who argued I should be sacked have a case,” said the Newcastle United midfielder yesterday. “I deserve every bit of criticism levelled at me. I am the first to acknowledge that I am indefensible.”

Turning teetotal did not bring immediate improvement to Barton’s life. “It was hell,” he conceded. “I knew that I was going to go to jail. When I got back to Newcastle [while on bail] I was getting booed, I was overweight and wasn’t playing particularly well. But since I left prison there has been a weight off my shoulders.”

“I hope I can be a shining beacon for kids who have been in trouble. I have probably made a lot more people unhappy than a normal person. Hopefully young kids who look at squeaky-clean, unbelievable professionals like Michael Owen and David Beckham and can’t relate to them can relate to me.”

A role model eh? Not sure that any parent in their right mind will want their children to be following the example set out by Joey Barton, who is extremely fortunate still to be employed by a Premier League football club. If he wasn’t such a precious commodity, the player would be on the scrapheap by now and it will take more than a few well-chosen words to convince Newcastle supporters that he’s a changed man.

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