Pillow-biting jailbird and professional bell-end Joey Barton was yesterday given an ultimatum by Newcastle big cheese Mike Ashley that he must either take a £30,000-a-week pay cut or face being sacked. Now considering the circumstances, this sounds like an incredibly reasonable offer; in virtually any other profession on the planet, you would just instantly be sacked if you had such a brush with the law, so why do footballers get special treatment? Lee Hughes, for example, went to jail for several years for causing death by dangerous driving, but within a fortnight of leaving prison he was back playing again for Oldham. Doesn’t this kind of thing sort of send the wrong message to both young footballers and general dissenters of the game? If footballers appear to be above the law, then they start behaving that way, and Joey Barton’s playing career has been defined by assault after assault, so why are respected professional clubs continuing to entertain the jumped-up little prick? He’s not even that good!
Anyway, Barton will be asked to give up £6million in total wages over the next four years if he signs the new deal, which still leaves him just about rich enough to scrape by with a couple of Ferraris. In a show of unbelievable conceit and ignorance consistent with his character, the midfielder has been reportedly “stunned” by Newcastle's hardline approach. I mean seriously, was he expecting a pat on the back and pay-rise?! Barton’s salary has already been stopped, but he had hoped to be back in pre-season training next month before a more recent development with the courts. He faces a second trial this month on a charge of assaulting former team-mate Ousmane Dabo while playing for Manchester City, where in a training-ground incident, Barton allegedly just jumped him, and pummeled him to the extent he suffered a detached retina. It’s yet to be proven, but I think we all know our Joey did it.
Should Barton turn down the revised terms he will be sacked and have to find another club as a free agent, although that could involve a further wrangle with United over his fee. At the end of the day, it all comes down to money. Ashley clearly wants rid of Barton because he’s a piece of shit, but ultimately he still wants to make some wonga off him if they can sell him on. Honestly, would any other club be stupid enough to sign him given his history and, er, personality? Unfortunately, the answer is almost certainly yes.UPDATE: Joey Barton has now refused to take a paycut, which hopefully signals the end of his career, at least in the Premiership.