Newcastle United: Joey Barton and 6 Bad Boys of the Toon Army
Newcastle striker Nile Ranger foresaw a Newcastle win against Stoke City, so he decided to celebrate in advance at a nightclub by getting drunk, making a nuisance of himself and getting arrested for the third time in two months.
The 20-year-old is similar to Mario Balotelli in terms of notorious behavior, but worlds apart when it comes to talent and now risks being sacked by manager Alan Pardew.
Nile Ranger is the latest Yin in Newcastle’s Yang of bad boys, as the Magpies have hosted a number of these delinquents in the past.
Let’s take a look at some of the names who have put Newcastle United in the headlines—for all the wrong reasons.
1. Nile Ranger
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Nile Ranger decided that the best way to warm up for the Stoke City match was with some beers, so he hit a nightclub, got himself all boozed up and invited the cops and the press to view the aftermath.
His love for alcohol also got him into trouble two months ago when he was arrested for drunk driving.
The striker has been scoring with the law more than on the pitch, having previously served 11 weeks in a young offender’s institute for his part in an armed robbery.
If this guy doesn’t spell trouble, I don’t know what does.
2. Craig Bellamy
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Former Newcastle manager Bobby Robson described Bellamy as “a great player wrapped round an unusual and volatile character.”
He couldn’t have said it any better.
Craig Bellamy turned from match winner to troublemaker in an instant.
His vital goals for Newcastle took the Magpies to the UEFA Cup & FA Cup semifinals, but his temperament always stood in the way of his talents.
He was involved in plenty of controversy during his four-year stint at the club, from throwing a chair at a first-team coach and threatening to fake injury to avoid playing in a position he disliked.
The final straw came when he sent abusive text messages to club legend Alan Shearer.
He was loaned to Celtic and never returned to Tyneside.
3. Titus Bramble
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Titus Bramble’s defending was as bad as Emile Heskey’s finishing, but somehow he stayed at Newcastle for five years—despite being voted worst defender in the league by his own fans.
But he recently made the headlines for something much worse than dodgy defending: Bramble was accused of sexual assault and possession of Class A drugs and is currently suspended by his current club, Sunderland.
This surely has to be the end of his forgettable career.
4. Paul Gascoigne
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Gazza embarked on an epic but controversial career beginning at Newcastle.
Alcohol and football always went hand in hand for him, with devastating results.
He got into a hit-and-run incident with teammate Jimmy Gardner after a drinking session, then wrecked the car to make it seem as though it had been stolen.
He also drove a tractor into the dressing room’s wall because he was unhappy being picked on for his misbehavior and burgeoning weight.
Somehow, his talent eclipsed his notoriety and he left Newcastle for Tottenham Hotspur after three incident-filled years at the club.
5. Joey Barton
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When it comes to Joey Barton, the list of controversies just goes on and on.
From beating a guy unconscious outside a McDonald’s outlet to stubbing a youth player with a cigar, Barton has done it all.
This guy spent more time behind bars than in training during one stage of his career.
Despite all of that, the board put up with him for four years, until he crossed the line by publicly attacking their policies via Twitter.
Queens Park Rangers announced interest in him after their takeover, and he was sold to mixed reactions among fans.
6. Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer
Lee Bowyer was a known hothead even before his Newcastle days; his racial attack on a student near a Leeds nightclub was clear testament to that.
His public brawl with injury-maligned Kieron Dyer, however, is the highlight of his stint with the Magpies.
Newcastle were being pummeled by Aston Villa when Bowyer suddenly struck out at Dyer for allegedly not feeding him the ball.
The whole country watched as both teammates went at each other like an Ali-Holyfield match and had to be separated by players from both sides.
The referee sent both men off, leaving Newcastle with only eight players and the dignity of the club down the tatters.
Both culprits were fined six weeks' wages, banned four matches and hardly featured after that.