Barton handed early release

28 July 2008 11:42
Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton has been released from prison after serving two months of a six-month sentence for assault. The 25-year-old was convicted of the offence after being filmed punching a man in Liverpool city centre at the end of last year, with the judge telling Barton he had committed a "violent and cowardly" act. However, the former Manchester City player is likely to be given a chance to get his career back on track with the magpies, after manager Kevin Keegan voiced his support for Barton. He told the BBC: "People have opinions and you must respect those, but mine is to give him another chance and back him. "There are a lot of things he needs to put right, but I think he can do it. "It's well-documented he's had his problems, but I knew of them when I took over. He's served his sentence, he's been punished for what he did wrong. "The world is littered with people that have been given a second chance and taken it with both hands. "I told him as long as from now on he did things right and started to rebuild the confidence of people around him, I would stick by him. "The Joey Barton that we had in the last couple of months of the season was a much-changed character. "It's up to Joey to put things right now, he's got to win over a lot of people."

Source: ESA