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Joey Barton to end Rangers horror show with pay-off deal

By Gavin McCafferty

Joey Barton's Rangers nightmare could be over in the coming days. It is understood the club and Barton's representatives are discussing a severance package which could see the midfielder officially end an ill-fated spell in Scottish football.

The 34-year-old briefly returned to Rangers' training ground last Thursday after being suspended in September, but he has not been spotted since being signed off on medical grounds last week.

After being ordered to train with the under 20s, and banned from using the first-team car park, Barton supplied the club with a sick-note from his doctor - which is understood to have encouraged the Rangers hierarchy to hasten his departure.

The former Burnley midfielder was initially sent home days after a training-ground row in the wake of Rangers' 5-1 defeat at Celtic Park on September 10.

The club announced his suspension the following week, which was later extended after the ex-Manchester City, Newcastle and QPR man was charged with breaching Scottish Football Association betting rules.

The club had announced the end of a disciplinary procedure last Wednesday and Barton was told he would be returning to full-time training last week but he had to join the under-20s squad and was kept away from the first team.

The former England cap faces an SFA hearing on November 17 but is unlikely to receive a lengthy playing ban given previous punishments issued to players who broke zero-tolerance rules which forbid gambling on any football match in the world.

With disciplinary options apparently limited, Rangers could pay up Barton's reputed £20,000-a-week contract until January, allowing him to train with a new club before signing when the transfer window opens.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche has refused to rule out a return to Turf Moor for the Liverpudlian, who turned down a new Clarets deal in the summer to sign a two-year contract at Ibrox.

Dyche had lauded Barton for both his on-the-field behaviour and manner around the club during their time together.

"In my experience the reason for that was that I was very honest with him," he said. "We had three hours at my house before he agreed to come up to us.

"He was honest with me and I was honest with him and I think he liked that. I'm not suggesting that anybody is not honest with him. I just found that was a good platform to build from.

"Some of the stuff I told him would be in place was in place and he got to the actual environment and probably thought you told me everything and it's actually happening right in front of my face.

"I was asked recently about what has gone on up there and I said, 'look, I can only judge by what I felt, and that was absolutely top class.'

"The way he went about it, the way he was with the group.

"Very demanding still - when he has a question, he needs an answer."

"He was first class on the pitch by the way - people forget that. His conduct on the pitch: exemplary last season. I am telling you now, he was getting smashed all over the place.

"Sometimes it just fits: he fitted with us, we fitted with him."

Belfast Telegraph


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