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Barton forced to backtrack
05 Dec 2007 - 15:40:41
Newcastle United mdfielder Joey Barton insists his recent derogatory comments about the club's fans were taken out of context.
The former Manchester City star described Magpies fans as "vicious" in their treatment of boss Sam Allardyce before Saturday's Premier League encounter at Blackburn Rovers.
United lost the Ewood Park clash 3-1, but Barton said: "The support we had at Blackburn Rovers was just phenomenal - how many other clubs would take 6,000 fans to Ewood Park at a time when things haven't been going great on the pitch?
"They were right behind us from the first whistle to the last and I was choked that we couldn't give them a better result to take home.
"I woke on the morning of the game to see that comments I had made earlier in the week had been presented in some quarters in a way they were never meant to be.
"When I spoke about the atmosphere at our last home game against Liverpool, the point I was making was that, through results good or bad, we all need to stick together on and off the pitch.
"There are a lot of new players at the club still finding their feet, and there was a big summer of change at the club with a new manager and owners coming in.
"So it's clear everyone needs time to come together and move the club on. And that will happen much, much quicker if everyone is pulling together.
"Of course I never questioned any fans' loyalty - who could question the loyalty of any Newcastle United fan - or their right to be unhappy if performances aren't going well?
"In fact, I actually made the point that it's up to the players to lift the fans when results aren't going our way.
"What I said was intended to be a rallying call after a defeat. It wasn't a blast or an attack, but sadly a lot of what I said was ignored."