We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk

Premier League

Newcastle departure due to bonus dispute claims Joey Barton


Joey Barton today claimed his departure from Newcastle was due to a bonus dispute.

Barton joined QPR in August after being placed on the transfer list by Newcastle following a Twitter rant in which he criticised the club's board.

He has subsequently spoken out against the regime of owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias and today went a step further by alleging he and other big-name players had been forced out of the Tyneside club after refusing to agree to a bonus proposal.

Barton told the QPR podcast Open All R's: "Newcastle, as a playing squad, were the only club in Premier League history not to sign a bonus sheet. It was unprecedented.

"We refused as a playing staff (to sign) as they tried to railroad the players into signing a bonus sheet.

"In their opinion we were paid workforce. They thought we were Sports Direct and we should do what the subordinates at Sports Direct do, forgetting they were dealing with 20-odd egos, probably 10 self-sufficient men in a position to make a number of different judgements.

"Myself and the bigger name players at the time advised the playing staff because we were head of the playing committee not to sign the bonus sheet and that filtered back to boardroom level.

"It's no coincidence that I was given away.

"It's all about power and control. They are running the football club and it's going really well for them at the minute but that's more a testament to the players and the fans, and also the manager (Alan Pardew). The manager has been different class."

Barton also claimed promises made to him by the board were not fulfilled.

He said: "They promised a number of different things and delivered on very few of them.

"At Newcastle I couldn't take to the pitch and lie to the fans and be a part of it.You are doing it for yourself, the fans and the football club but if you fundamentally despise everything that the owners stand for it is very difficult.

"I am a man of principles, I am a very principled individual and for me taking money off fans and taking the p*** out of them is not what I am about.

"I would rather walk away with my dignity and self-respect intact and I feel I have done that."

Barton also dismissed the suggestion he owed the club a degree of loyalty for standing by him when he was sentenced to six months in prison in 2008 after admitting a charge of assault and affray.

"A lot of people say to me 'Newcastle paid your wages when I was in jail' but they never," he said.

"Not that I wanted to be but I was not paid.

Newcastle today refused to comment on any of Barton's claims.