A leading English newspaper is leading a campaign to have Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton sacked and never allowed to play professional football again after being sentenced to 6 months in prison yesterday.
When he is fit and available, there is no doubting that the Magpies' midfielder Barton is a talented footballer, but it is his off-the-field activities that make him one of the most hated players in English football.
Yesterday, Joey Barton began a six month jail sentence for assault and affray after a night out in Liverpool turned violent.
On the night in question, Barton admitted to drinking 10 pints and five bottles of lager when out with family and friends, and then they went to a McDonalds restaurant where he got into an argument with another group of people.
CCTV footage showed Barton knocking a man and then punching him four or five times. Barton was then seen attacking a 16-year-old whose teeth were broken in the attack.
On the field, he is a tenacious midfielder, who likes to get stuck in, but off the field it seems he can't control his temper. At a Manchester City party, Barton was again in court after stubbing out a cigar into the eye of a youth footballer, so it's not the first time he has been in trouble.
Newcastle United have not yet commented on the action they are likely to take, but surely Barton has had his last chance. In a world where footballers are deemed role models, do we want our kids to behave like this?
The timing of the court case should also be questioned. Sentenced just after the season's finish, Barton will only serve two months if he behaves, so will be back out in time for pre-season training and ready for the new season.
But the question has to be asked: does Barton deserve to carry on in football?
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