Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'While Ashley Is Owner the Magpies Will Not Be What It Can Be' Barton Has Unfinished Business, but Won't Be Back

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'While Ashley Is Owner the Magpies Will Not Be What It Can Be' Barton Has Unfinished Business, but Won't Be Back

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK DOUGLAS NUFC Editor mark.douglas@trinitymirror.com

JOEY Barton is bristling.

The former Newcastle United midfielder has been out of the game since July, when he was banned by the FA for gambling offences. But he's hardly disappeared: a burgeoning career as an erudite and occasionally eviscerating pundit, a fascinating new podcast, an audiobook version of his excellent autobiography and a speaking tour which takes in a date in Gateshead have kept him in the public eye as he awaits a return to football next season.

And it is that that is keeping him going. "I'm living day to day - I just can't wait to get back," he says.

But when he decides where to go when his suspension is lifted, one destination will certainly be off the agenda. Newcastle United is one of the clubs where he feels he has "unfinished business" but as long as the current owner remains, there will be no chance to return to a club where he would have happily ended his career if given the chance.

He knows this for a fact: "Steve McClaren wanted me to go back. That was the year I joined Burnley - he asked me to come back but Mike Ashley said you can have anybody but him!" he said.

"It was good to know I made that impression on him (Ashley) because the feeling is definitely mutual."

Barton spoke in the week that the Chronicle chronicled the story of one of Newcastle's best ever comebacks: the 4-4 draw against Arsenal in which Barton was instrumental in turning the tide against Arsene Wenger's side.

The depth of feelng he has for the club remains. The antipathy towards the owner has not subsided either.

Speaking about the club's current status - battling for survival in a divison which they have only just won promotion to - he notes that the strange deci-sion to run the club's transfer budget along austerity lines after supporting Rafa Benitez during promotion is typical of an owner who "just doesn't understand football". …

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