Fine time for Barton
Newcastle outcast Joey Barton claims to have been fined two weeks' wages by the club as he draws closer to making his exit from St James' Park.
Barton was on Monday told he can leave on a free transfer, amid his ongoing criticisms of the Magpies hierarchy on Twitter and the breakdown in talks over a new deal. Returning to the social networking site on Tuesday, Barton announced the club have also now hit him in the pocket.
Barton wrote: "Ha ha the inevitable, 2 weeks wages fine has just arrived. Needless to say it shall be appealed forthwith. #kickingamanwhilsthesdownha"
For Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and manager Alan Pardew, Barton's 'tweets' appear to have been the final straw, the duo willing to let him leave for nothing, even though he has another year remaining on his contract.
Despite the turbulent situation, less than two weeks before the start of the Barclays Premier League season, Barton turned up for training on Tuesday as normal. However, he was told to train alone, initially describing that as "predictable" on his Twitter feed.
Barton even took to quoting George Orwell just before that when he wrote: "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act."
Barton also further expressed his feelings over local press reports, claiming club officials were making "false statements".
"I also have too much respect for my teammates and the fans to get in a tit for tat war with them. I have too much self-worth and dignity," Barton wrote.
It appears only a matter of time before the 28-year-old's four-season spell on Tyneside draws to a close, with a number of clubs rumoured to be in the running for his signature. Agent Willie McKay has confirmed he has been contacted, and that there "won't be a problem finding Joey a home".
Despite his troubled past, which includes a 2008 prison sentence for actual bodily harm and affray, Barton is understood to be a wanted man and has been linked with Arsenal, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Everton, the latter of which would mean a return to his Merseyside roots.