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Gone for a Barton
by Clint Wayne
2008-05-23 08:36:33
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As a Newcastle United supporter for nearly fifty years I have witnessed all of the few ups and many downs of our famous football club but none have left me feeling more ashamed than the story behind the news this week that midfielder Joey Barton has been imprisoned for six months following an assault on a man outside a McDonalds restaurant in Liverpool just after Christmas.

Why a professional footballer should be even consuming ten pints of beer and five lagers is beyond my comprehension but to viciously attack a young man punching him twenty times while he was defenseless on the ground is unforgivable. The incident was captured fully on CCTV so there can be no doubt of his guilt. It also does not forebode well that he has still to face another assault charge involving a team-mate during a training session at his former club Manchester City.

Joey Barton is nothing more than a thug whereas he should be a role model to the impressionable younger generation. It is possible that the club and manager Kevin Keegan will stand by him but as far as I am concerned I hope he is never allowed to pull on our black and white stripes again.

However surprisingly, he is not alone as I started to recall other footballers who have fallen foul of our laws and have been imprisoned during my lifetime. I have ended up with a full and very capable team, a sort of Football ‘Dirty Dozen’.

1] Tony Adams, the ex-Arsenal captain and England player, currently assistant manager at recent FA Cup winners Portsmouth, was jailed for nine months for drunk-driving.

2] Gary Charles, the Nottingham Forest and England full back, who was famously on the receiving end of Paul Gascoigne’s reckless tackle in the 1991 FA Cup Final that caused the tearing of his cruciate ligaments. Charles was jailed twice, once for drunk-driving and again for cutting off his electronic tag so he could holiday in Spain.

3] Terry Fenwick, the Spurs and England defender, was jailed for four months for drunk-driving in 1991… and there seems to be a disturbing trend!

4] Peter Storey, the former Arsenal and England hardman, was sentenced to 28 days for the import of pornography in 1990.

5] Jermaine Pennant, the current Liverpool winger, was sentenced to three months for drunk-driving and notably became the first player to play whilst wearing an electronic tag whilst at Birmingham City. Some claim to fame eh!

6] Mickey Thomas, the former Manchester United and Wales player, was jailed in 1993 for his part in a counterfeit currency scam. He later joked that “Roy Keane was on 50 grand a week. So was I until the police found my printing press!”

7] Duncan Ferguson, the Rangers and Scotland striker, was sent down for three months for head-butting Raith Rovers defender John McStay during a match in 1994.

8] Lee Hughes, the former West Bromich Albion striker, was sentenced for six years for causing death by dangerous driving in 2004.

9] Eric Cantona, the Manchester United legend, was sentenced to two weeks imprisonment for the infamous televised Kung-fu attack on a Crystal Palace supporter although it was later downgraded to community service.

10] Patrick Kluivert, the Dutch striker, was convicted of manslaughter in 1996 following a fatal car crash, but much to the disgust of the Dutch media he was only given community service.

11] George Best, the supremely talented Manchester United legend, was convicted of drink-driving and assaulting a police officer in 1984. He served his two months of a twelve week sentence in Ford Prison in West Sussex, who just happened to play in the same local league as me. Had he played, I‘d like to think he wouldn’t have got a look-in!! Strangely, just months before his death I was lucky enough to meet him at a health farm where he initiated a friendly chat. I have to say he was a lovely man.

12] As every modern team needs a good sub, there is none better than Joey Barton of course. As I stated earlier I would hate to see him play for the Toon again, in fact I didn’t even want him in my Dirty Dozen.

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