Barton leaving with bitter taste
The turbulent career of Joey Barton is at another crossroads, with the outspoken midfielder searching for a new club after being told by Newcastle he can leave on a free transfer.
The St James' Park hierarchy made the decision on Monday, after another prolonged Twitter outburst from the 28-year-old. That appears to have been the final straw for owner Mike Ashley, who has taken decisive action, despite the player holding a contract that runs until next summer.
In a brief statement, the club said: "Newcastle United can confirm that Joey Barton has been placed on the transfer list. The player has been advised that he can leave the club on a free transfer."
Barton has made a number of comments over recent months that hint at behind-the-scenes unrest at the club, and went on another lengthy tirade following a friendly defeat to Leeds on Sunday.
The former Manchester City player, who had promised a statement of his own on his future at 4pm, was beaten to the punch by his employers, but replied by tweeting: "Somewhere in those high echelons of NUFC, they have decided, I am persona non grata.
"I am on a free but the honour of wearing those B+W stripes, surpasses that. One day the board might realise, what the shirt signifies. HONOUR and PRIDE. Thanks for your continued support........... #toonarmy."
His agent, Willie McKay, called Newcastle's decision "suicidal" and claimed he would have no problems in finding his client a new club.
Speaking to talkSPORT, he said: "I think it's a wee bit suicidal by Newcastle because how would you let your player of the year leave on a free transfer, approaching his prime?
"There will be a lot of takers. Joey would hope to go to a top club and in actual fact a couple of top clubs have been in contact already.
"There won't be a problem finding Joey a home."