Ashley v Barton - Only One Winner? Don't Believe It!
Despite Mike Ashley's desperate efforts to kick Joey Barton out of the door ... the 'Puppetmaster' won't neccessarily have things all his own way. Ashley can work Alan Pardew's strings, but Barton isn't as limp-wristed as the Newcastle manager ... and he is threatening to see out his contract at Newcastle and throw Pardew's position into caos. Pardew has always said he sees Barton as one of the key players in his push for honours, saying back in May: "My main piority is to tie up the best players at the club on long term contracts - Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan and Jose Enrique." What Pardew wants ... is NOT what Ashley wants ... and Nolan was promptly sold to West Ham (and if you believe what the midfielder said this week) "without being offered a contract of any shape or form." Enrique is expected to be a Liverpool player by Saturday; and Ashley wants to see the back of Barton ASAP. But there could be a sting in the tale, as Joey threatens to dig in his studs and make the Toon owner sweat - paying him £60,000 per week. That is Barton's option and I certainly would not rule it out. That puts Pardew in an impossible position - WANTING to play (what he regards as) his best player - but having Ashley pick his team for him. The longer this goes on it shows Pardew in a poor light. Yes, we all know he has no say, but what is a manager when he is instructed what to do ... and THAT was why Barton had a blazing row with him at Elland Road on Sunday. This has become more than a tiff over a tweet - it will soon be making WWF style headlines - THE PUPPETMASTER v THE REBEL. Barton went from quoting George Orwell to George Washington as he hinted he was prepared to remain at St James' Park despite Ashley wanting him out. But the 28-year-old, who claimed he had been fined two weeks' wages on Tuesday, has suggested in another Twitter post he will not be pushed out against his will. "Just because ur [sic] told to jump, it does not necessarily mean u have to. I may choose to stand perfectly still. It's my right...just a thought," Barton, who has a year to run on his contract, said. Barton then returned to the social networking site to quote Washington, the first President of the United States, in another thinly-veiled attack on the Magpies. "Quote of the day: If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington," he tweeted. Barton revealed on Tuesday that he had been made to train alone.
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