Footballer Barton admits training ground assault

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The Independent Online

Premier League footballer Joey Barton pleaded guilty today to assaulting a former team-mate in a training ground row.

The Newcastle United midfielder was due to go on trial at Manchester Minshull Crown Court over the incident, but changed his plea shortly before the scheduled start.

Barton, 25, admitted one charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm to Ousmane Dabo when they were playing colleagues at Manchester City.

Since bursting on to the Premiership football scene in April 2003, Barton has been making headlines both on and off the pitch.

He walked a fine line despite his fiery temper landing him in trouble time and again.

But he always escaped the courts and prison - until this year.

It is the third time Barton has been in court in 2008, but his bad behaviour stretches back more than four years.

In April 2004 he stormed out of Eastlands before kick-off after being axed from the side to face Southampton and in a 2005 pre-season "friendly", sparked a mass brawl in a game against Doncaster.

A Christmas bash for Man City players that December saw him stub a lit cigar into the eye of young team-mate Jamie Tandy.

He was fined six weeks wages by City.

In May 2005 he broke the leg of a 35-year-old pedestrian while driving his car at 2am in Liverpool city centre and the following month was involved in a spat with a 15-year-old Everton fan at City's team hotel in Bangkok. Again he was fined by City.

The bad blood with Everton fans continued in 2006 when he dropped his shorts in the direction of home fans at Goodison Park. He was fined and warned by the FA for his conduct.

In February last year he made his England debut against Spain but a month later was arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage in an incident involving a taxi driver.

Three months later came the fight with Dabo, and a month after that he was sold by City to Newcastle Utd for £5.8m.

Barton sat out Newcastle's Boxing Day game last year as he was injured, but went drinking in Liverpool city centre afterwards.

In the early hours of 27 December he got into a row in a McDonald's and violence again broke out.

Drunk, Barton straddled his victim, punching him repeatedly in the face.

This time the attack was caught on CCTV.

The player admitted assault and affray and was jailed for six months on 20 May.

Just 10 days later he was brought back to court to deal with alleged criminal damage to a taxi, a charge dating back to March 2007.

He was alleged to have ripped out the cabbie's radio because he would not wait at a McDonald's drive-through while Barton got food.

But after a trial at the city's magistrates' court, he was found not guilty of vandalising the taxi. His cousin, Joshua Wilson, 19, admitted doing the damage.