Football coach tells Barton assault trial he found boss ‘in shock’ in tunnel

Former Barnsley assistant manager Christopher Stern was giving evidence at Sheffield Crown Court.

Dave Higgens
Tuesday 30 November 2021 13:48
Current Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton (Danny Lawson/PA)
Current Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton (Danny Lawson/PA)

A football coach has told a court hearing the trial of Joey Barton how he found his boss lying shocked and bloodied in the tunnel after a League One match.

Former Barnsley assistant manager Christopher Stern was giving evidence at Sheffield Crown Court where Barton, 39, is on trial accused of assaulting former Tykes boss Daniel Stendel

Prosecutors allege that Barton, who was then Fleetwood manager, knocked into Mr Stendel in the tunnel at the end of a match between the two teams in April 2019, causing him facial injuries when his head hit a metal post.

Daniel Stendel told the jury he was knocked over by a push from behind (Danny Lawson/PA)

Mr Stern told the court he did not see how his boss received the injuries but came to his aid soon afterwards.

He said: “He was in shock. There was blood coming out of his mouth and nose. His front teeth were backwards.”

The jury has been told by prosecutors of tensions between the coaching staffs at Barnsley and Fleetwood which began during the fixture at Fleetwood in September 2018 and resurfaced at the match in April at Barnsley’s Oakwell ground.

Mr Stern agreed that he was issued with a yellow card during the first of these games.

The German national was asked about events in the second half of the return match at Barnsley in April.

The trial is being held at Sheffield Crown Court (Dave Higgens/PA)

He agreed that he celebrated enthusiastically after Barnsley went 3-1 up.

Mr Stern said: “I was screaming ‘yes’, ‘yeah’.”

He said he turned to the Fleetwood technical area as he celebrated in an “emotional reflex”.

Simon Csoka QC, defending Barton, said to Mr Stern: “It was a deliberate decision by you to go over and effectively celebrate in their faces.”

He replied: “There was no intention to deliberately upset.”

On Monday, Mr Stendel told the jury how he was walking down the tunnel after Barnsley’s 4-2 victory when he was knocked over by a push from behind.

Barton denies one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (Danny Lawson/PA)

He said his face hit the tunnel structure and described how he looked up to see that Barton was the only person in front of him.

Mr Stendel, who is also German, described how former England international Barton had been aggressive towards him at the end of the match, during the traditional handshake.

Barnsley performance analyst intern Nathan Kirby told the jury that he saw Barton run past him and shoulder-barge Mr Stendel.

The defendant, who is now Bristol Rovers manager, denies one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He sat in the dock on Tuesday wearing a dark-grey suit over a white shirt with a dark-coloured tie.

Judge Jeremy Richardson QC discharged one member of the jury on Tuesday morning leaving six women and five men to try the case.

The judge told the jurors they would probably retire to consider their verdict on Thursday.

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