Newcastle place Barton on transfer list
Newcastle United have told Joey Barton he can leave on a free transfer after the midfielder's scathing assessment of the club's hierarchy on Twitter.
Barton met with club officials on Monday and was told he was being placed on the transfer list after a series of Twitter updates on Sunday that questioned the club's direction under owner Mike Ashley.
The club released a statement that read: "Newcastle United can confirm that Joey Barton has been placed on the transfer list today (Monday). The player has been advised that he can leave the club on a free transfer."
Barton took to Twitter to post his response saying: "Somewhere in those high echelons of NUFC, they have decided, I am persona non grata. I am on a free but the honour of wearing those B+W stripes, surpasses that.
"One day the board might realise, what the shirt signifies. HONOUR and PRIDE. Thanks for your continued support........... #toonarmy"
It was Barton's posts on his Twitter account on Sunday that brought the situation to a head.
He wrote: ''If only we as players could tell the fans exactly how it is, without them above fining us lots of money. There will be a time and a place.''
Barton has been an outspoken critic of the Magpies' regime ever since he joined Twitter in May and heavily criticised the club's decision to allow former captain Kevin Nolan to join West Ham.
The 28-year-old also made reference to a similar outburst from Jose Enrique, who used the social networking site to accuse the club of a lack of ambition after selling Nolan.
''If it wouldn't effect (sic) team morale and cause unrest within the dressing room, am certain Jose's comments would be the tip of the iceberg," Barton wrote.
''And again it would be left to those magnificent fans to pick up the remnants of their once great football club. #hadenoughofcertainpeople"
He then added: ''If I wanted to leave, I'd just come out and say 'I want to leave'. Things need addressing as am not prepared to go through a relegation again.''
Barton's agent, Willie McKay, admits he is shocked by Newcastle's stance that they are willing to let their prize asset leave for nothing.
"I was obviously shocked to learn Newcastle are letting Joey go and even more shocked they are letting him go on a free transfer," McKay told Sky Sports. "Joey is approaching the prime of his career and he has just come off his best season for the club and he was pivotal in the success of Andy Carroll after creating so many of his goals.
"There will be no shortage of takers for Joey, especially now he is available for free and we will hopefully sort something out soon."
The Liverpudlian has become a fans' favourite in the north east after initially suffering a troublesome start to his life on Tyneside.
After joining for £5.8 million from Manchester City in June 2007 he served a 77-day prison sentence after being found guilty of assault following an incident in Liverpool, while he was also given a suspended four-month sentence for a training ground assault on then City team-mate Ousmane Dabo.
He was suspended by Newcastle for being sent off in a game against Liverpool by then manager Alan Shearer but was welcomed back into the fold under Chris Hughton as the Magpies bounced back from relegation at the first time of asking.