Joey Barton says he could not join Leeds United due to off-field 'nonsense'

Former Leeds manager Neil Redfearn claimed recently he was close to signing the Burnley midfielder

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The Independent Football

Joey Barton says he could not justify joining Leeds United while the ‘nonsense’ surrounding Massimo Cellino’s ownership of the Yorkshire club continues. 

Former Leeds manager Neil Redfearn claimed recently he was close to signing the Burnley midfielder alongside Jason Shackell, now at Derby County, Queens Park Rangers winger Matty Phillips and England striker Charlie Austin.

But Barton, who ultimately joined the promotion-hunting Clarets, took to Twitter on Wednesday evening to deny the claims before offering a parting shot at the Elland Road hierarchy.

Cellino has been subject to fierce opposition from Leeds supporters since tantalising them with the prospect of buying the club before reneging on his promise and declining to offer them any exclusivity.

In the wake of criticism of his ownership, the former Cagliari chairman, who has twice failed the Football League’s owners and directors test, then introduced a 'pie tax' in the South Stand meaning fans must pay a mandatory charge of £5 on top of the standard ticket price for food and a drink.

Barton said: “Not calling Neil a liar but he never spoke directly to me. Or anyone close to me to the best of my knowledge.

“Leeds is a huge club and of course if they had stability off the field, it could have been of interest last year. But with current issues away from the field, I couldn't afford to join a club and waste energy on nonsense. 

“Wish Leeds Utd and Neil all the best in the future. Hope that clears it up.”

Burnley are currently fourth in the Championship table, four points adrift of leaders Hull City, while Leeds continue to languish in the bottom half and are without a win in three.