Union prepared to back Barton

May 20, 2008

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has vowed to support Joey Barton and insists the Newcastle midfielder can still have a future in football.

Barton, 25, was today jailed for six months at Liverpool Crown Court after admitting charges of assault and affray.

Newcastle issued a short statement saying they were 'considering the verdict'.

'Whether he has a future at Newcastle will be a decision for the club,' Taylor told Sky Sports News.

'When a player has ability there will always be clubs looking to take the opportunity to improve things and I hope that is the case.

'I believe every individual should have the chance to reform themselves.'

The sentence is the latest development in Barton's controversial career but Taylor backed the former Manchester City star's character.

'It's a crying shame for a player who clearly is very talented,' Taylor continued. 'When you speak to the lad he can be very articulate, sensible and intelligent.

'Sometimes people do need a strong support system. Obviously background and family can play a part.

'He's come from a difficult background and he's had a history of troubles. We've tried to help and will continue to try to help.

'Sometimes as a well-known footballer you would be made an example of. No footballer is above the law of the land and this is the price individuals have to pay.'