Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton faces legal action for allegedly ruining the career of a former team-mate, lawyers said today.
Barton, 25, stubbed a lit cigar in the face of trainee Jamie Tandy at Manchester City's Christmas party in 2004.
No police action was taken at the time of the incident but the midfielder was fined by his former club.
Tandy, 23, of Whitefield, Greater Manchester, is now pursuing a civil claim for damages against Barton, his legal representatives confirmed.
He claimed he suffered a "major psychiatric deterioration" following the assault which he said ultimately forced him out of the game at the top level.
Matthew Clayton, of Manchester-based law firm Ralli, said: "Mr Tandy is a client of ours and we are in the process of launching civil proceedings.
"As a result of the assault by Joey Barton our client has suffered a major psychiatric deterioration in his health that has destroyed any chance he may have had of playing professional football at a high level.
"Understandably this is a high-profile case and at this stage we are unable to comment further."
Tandy was released by Manchester City after he broke his leg while playing on loan with a Danish club.
He is understood to be on the verge of joining non-league Hyde United on semi-professional terms.
Last month Barton was released from jail after serving 74 days of a six-month sentence for beating up a teenager in Liverpool city centre.
He is currently serving a suspended sentence for a separate assault on former Manchester City colleague Ousmane Dabo in a training ground bust-up.
Barton, who has one England cap, pleaded guilty to both attacks.
His Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan has vowed to support the player in his continuing rehabilitation following Barton's much-publicised drink problems.Reuse content