Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Barton in Best Peroid of Career; Magpies Midfielder Putting Troubled Past: Behind Him and Thanks Hughton for His Belief

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Barton in Best Peroid of Career; Magpies Midfielder Putting Troubled Past: Behind Him and Thanks Hughton for His Belief

Article excerpt

WHEN Sam Allardyce offered Joey Barton pastures new in one of his first transactions as manager of Newcastle United manager in 2007 it was hoped that the Scouse midfield schemer would go on and add to his sole England cap won during his Manchester City days.

But even though a smiling Barton completed his pounds 5.8m move from Eastlands in search of winning silverware and experiencing some glory nights in Europe with the Magpies, trouble was brewing.

A broken foot for Barton curtailed the start of his United career and even though Allardyce got Newcastle off to their best start for years at the start of the Mike Ashley era, it soon turned sour for Big Sam.

Just 24 games in at United and Allardyce was gone as his uncompromising style of play sat uncomfortably with both fans and Ashley, who'd heard enough from fans sitting alongside him in the away sections up and down the Premier League.

For Barton, who'd endured his own rocky spell at Man City after a training-ground spat with Ousmane Dabo, his stint with Big Sam lasted just 10 games and three wins - culminating with an arrest in Liverpool City Centre just days before Big Sam was axed.

Ironically, Allardyce could well see in-form Barton at his best in a black-and-white shirt as manager of Blackburn tomorrow night - with talk of an England recall now rife again.

And despite a superb run in the team for Man City which won him England recognition to begin with, Barton feels he is now playing the best football of his career.

He told the Chronicle: "For me this is the best period of my career.

"Nobody expected me to still be playing at the top level.

"People have had problems in football, but have been through nowhere near as much c*** as I put myself through. But they never came back from it.

"Ideally I didn't want to go through what I did, but I always had a great belief in my ability. …

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