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Barton to miss Newcastle's US tour after visa denied
Published : 13 Jul 2011 18:30:11
Joey Barton's criminal past came back to haunt him when the Newcastle midfielder was denied a US visa, meaning he will miss his club's pre-season Stateside trip.
The 28-year-old, who was given a six-month jail sentence after admitting assault and affray in 2008, has been denied the necessary permission to travel with the rest of the first-team Magpies' squad when they leave on Sunday.
Newcastle said that Barton will instead link up with Peter Beardsley's reserves when they head for Holland on July 20.
The club announced later Wednesday striker Nile Ranger had also been denied a visa on similar grounds following a juvenile offence and that the 20-year-old would also join up with the reserve tour.
Barton said in a statement on Newcastle's official website: "Unfortunately, I was denied my visa due to my past.
"I regret not being able to travel with the club on this trip, but at the same time, I don't expect to be treated any differently or more favourably than anyone else in a similar situation.
"All I can do is continue to improve as a person, which is what I intend to do.
"Again, apologies to all the NUFC supporters -- as well as the fast growing legions of football supporters in the United States who I was looking forward to meeting. I will see you in the future."
On his Twitter account, Barton described the US Embassy's decision to deny him an entry visa as "hypocrisy".
"Visa story is correct, they told me am not allowed in until I have 5yrs without any trouble. 3yrs down, 2yrs to go...
"Totally hypocrisy considering what they get up to, but rules are rules..."
The news will also come as a blow to manager Alan Pardew as he faces the prospect of having to do without a key member of his squad for a significant part of his preparations for the new campaign.
Newcastle will play three games in the United States, against Sporting Kansas on July 20, Orlando City three days later and Columbus Crew on July 26.
Barton will instead work towards his match fitness in the second string's clashes with Hollandia, FC Utrecht and Almere City.
The former Manchester City player was one of the club's most impressive performers last season as he returned to his best to help the Magpies ease their way to a 12th-place finish in their first season back in the Premier League.
Pardew signalled his intention to tie him up in a new contract long before the campaign drew to a close, but having failed to agree terms in January, he was told at the start of the closed-season that he would not be receiving an offer.
Barton has worked hard in recent years to tackle the problems which repeatedly landed him in trouble earlier in his career.
The most serious incident was when he was jailed for six months in May 2008 - he served 74 days - after admitting an assault on a man in Liverpool the previous December.
He has since sought the help of the Sporting Chance clinic and has spoken frankly about the ongoing battle with his demons.
Apart from punching Blackburn's Morten Gamst Pedersen off the ball last season - for which he received a three-match ban - he has kept himself out of trouble.
"Joey is still suffering from past misdemeanours," Pardew told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.
"He has put his life back on track, and long may that continue.
"There is no problem. He will go to Holland with the development group and do the work there."