Joey Will Win over the Fans, Says Butt; Nicky Knows How It Feels

The Journal (Newcastle, England), March 27, 2008 | Go to article overview

Joey Will Win over the Fans, Says Butt; Nicky Knows How It Feels


Byline: Luke Edwards

NICKY Butt has backed Joey Barton to finally show the sort of form which made him an England international after sympathising with the midfielder's problems since he moved to Newcastle United.

Like Barton, Butt (pictured right) also endured a miserable first season on Tyneside four years ago and, with large sections of the crowd on his back, was expected to make a loan move to Birmingham City the following year a permanent one.

Yet, when Birmingham were relegated to the Championship, Butt returned to St James's Park and has gone on to become arguably the team's most consistent player over the last two years.

That form has led the former Manchester United midfielder to sign a new contract which will take him through to his 35th birthday, and he is convinced Barton can enjoy a similar change in fortunes. "I thought Joey played well against Fulham and showed what a talented footballer he is," said Butt, who is part of a new look three-man midfield at Newcastle alongside fellow veteran Geremi and an improving Barton. "He was a top player at Manchester City, but it has been tough for him here.

"I know how he feels because things didn't go very well for me in my first year here either. I struggled for form and it was a difficult time in my career. It plays on your mind when you are on the pitch and at home. Joey's a good lad, he interacts well with the rest of the squad. People might have an outside perception of what he is like, but he's a good lad.

"However, as much as anyone tries to put a brave face on it, when things aren't going well for you at a new club it is extremely hard to deal with. You do hear things in the crowd, but the good thing about Joey is that he is strong and he is starting to come through it."

Barton's poor form on the pitch has been accentuated by his problems off the field.

He was charged with assault following an incident in his hometown of Liverpool over the Christmas period. …

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