So, who in their right mind would take Barton off Newcastle's hands now?
05 May 2009 01:01
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For a man with more baggage than British Airways, it's an appropriate question: where next for 26-year-old Joey Barton?
Alan Shearer has labelled the troubled Liverpudlian 'stupid' and effectively ended his Newcastle career.
Stupid is putting it mildly: dogged by injuries, a six-month jail sentence for assault and a six-game ban for a fight with a team-mate.
Portsmouth, under the angel of reform that is Tony Adams, and Bolton offered the sinner of St James' a fresh start but Barton felt he had something to prove at Newcastle. Sadly, he only proved his critics right.
There will be few takers. Birmingham, Wolves or Hull, perhaps, on reduced terms from his £55,000 weekly wage.
All have the manager he needs - but their chairmen may disagree. Abroad may be the only place Barton has to turn. After Barton blows it again, Newcastle must beat Boro or it's bust for Shearer.