Lout Barton must leave Newcastle, says apoplectic Alan
06 May 2009 02:24
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Joey Barton will never play for Newcastle United again as long as Alan Shearer is manager at St James' Park.
The club are taking legal advice to see if the midfielder, who was suspended indefinitely yesterday, can be sacked after swearing at Shearer in an outburst in the dressing room at Anfield on Sunday.
Barton is alleged to have told Shearer he was 's**t' and called the manager and his assistant Iain Dowie 'p***ks'. Doing so in front of team-mates and other Newcastle employees could be regarded as gross misconduct.
Sportsmail can reveal the row is the latest show of dissent from the squad. Indeed, Shearer had already felt compelled to address a group of players over indiscipline with the ultimatum: 'You are not going to take the p*** out of this football club and you are not going to take the p*** out of this city.'
Despite it being clear that Barton will never play for Newcastle as long as Shearer is manager, his agent Willie McKay spoke of the player's determination to see out the three years remaining of his five-year contract. Newcastle, meanwhile, were said to be 'gathering evidence' to see where they and the 26-year-old midfielder stand.
Although Newcastle would be effectively writing off the £5.8million paid to Manchester City for Barton less than two years ago, or his reduced asking price in the transfer market, the player's basic wages of £55,000 per week add up to £7.5m over the next three years.
It is not yet known if Shearer will be at Newcastle beyond the next three matches but, if owner Mike Ashley persuades him to stay, then Barton will not.
The club stood by Barton when he was jailed last year for assault, an offence that occurred after a Newcastle game at Wigan in December 2007, but the club's hierarchy are aware they would be undermining Shearer if Barton was given another chance.
Sam Allardyce, the Newcastle manager who signed Barton, could offer him a route out of Tyneside at Blackburn, though there are known to be boardroom reservations at Ewood Park.
Having been sent off for his violent lunge at Liverpool's Xabi Alonso in the 77th minute of Newcastle's 3-0 defeat at Anfield, Barton was ignored by Shearer as he left the pitch and was then told by the Newcastle legend: 'That was a coward's tackle.'
Barton, infamous for his short temper and reckless behaviour, replied with a tirade at Shearer, calling him and his tactics 's**t'. Shearer managed to restrain himself but Dowie intervened. He was called 'a p***k' by Barton, who then called Shearer the same.
When Dowie asked why Barton had not given his views on tactics in the team meeting beforehand, the midfielder was defensive.
Other players were shocked by Barton's outburst and were still talking about it yesterday at the training ground. On hearing of his indefinite suspension, there was relief. They are supporting Shearer rather than Barton, the overwhelming majority realising that a new order had to be imposed.
On top of inheriting an unbalanced squad and a relegation-threatened team playing without cohesion when he took charge five weeks ago, Shearer has encountered a lackadaisical culture at the training ground.
He had already told his players to improve their time-keeping but last week he decided to give each squad member a written order over the issue.
Simultaneously, he has substantially increased the punishment for failure to adhere to the new rules.
Previous fines had been minimal but now any player late for a meeting, training or travel will have 10 per cent of his weekly salary deducted. It increases to 20 per cent for a second offence and 40 per cent for a third.
Additional fines are at Shearer's discretion and this aspect of the new regime is said to have its critics internally. Nevertheless, Shearer's position is strong.