Last week saw the announcement from chairman agitator Willie McKay that Newcastle United would not be offering Joseph Barton a new contract at St. James’s Park. All Newcastle fans would agree that Barton has been Newcastle’s star performer in a season where the predicted relegation dogfight never materialised and Newcastle revelled in mid-table obscurity. This then, to some, would seem a very strange decision, but to me it makes perfect sense.
Although Willie suggests that Barton was willing to take a pay cut in exchange for a four year deal, he, put simply, just does not fit the wage structure at the club anymore. Mike Ashley has made many mistakes and deserves the brooding hatred that any Geordie, when stopped in Big Market, would spew in your direction, this however is not one. Ashley’s dream of a self sufficient Newcastle United in three years is an admirable one. With impending Fifa financial fair play rules its essential we move towards financial stability. So from a financial point of view offering the scouser a 50k a week deal seems ludicrous.
Joey has undoubtedly been a great player for Newcastle this year, however he has performed well in the right wing slot. Often taking up a position in the centre of midfield, he time and time again exposed one of our poor right backs. Whether it be exposing James Perch which lead to him being booked in Utd’s first five games, or making Danny Simpsons first full top flight season one to forget. There is no doubt that Joey operates best and wants to play in the centre of the park. With Tiote filling the enforcer role, and Nolan in rich goal scoring form he found himself pushed out to the right. With the impending return of the promising Hatem Ben Arfa and Dan Gosling (who reportedly left Everton as he wanted more games in central midfield) one wonders where Joey would fit into the system, I personally believe that we won’t miss him.
Of course the lack of a contract offer hardly means that Joey won’t be turning out in black ‘n’ white next year, indeed his agent reaffirms Joey’s love for the club, although this seems like a cheap trick to try and paint the board as the pantomime villain in this saga. It is highly unlikely that Ashley would re-buff an offer of £2.5-3 Million and suitors should not be hard to come by.
I personally am sick of the ludicrous wages that the club has handed out like toffee in recent years, this hardening in policy is a refreshing relief. This policy was evident in the negotiation held with former Birmingham player Sebastian Larsson in January, who, reportedly, was after 50k a week from either Newcastle or their unglamorous neighbours.
I wish Joey well, but seeing him on his way is not a passing to mourn. The much more pressing concern is the fitness of Ben Arfa and Gosling, signing five or six first team quality players and having a productive pre-season.
Oh and by the way, I do not in this piece make reference to any of Joey’s previous “behaviour”, the club gave him a second chance and I supported it then and I support it now. This should not be considered as a reason why Joey’s impending departure is a good thing for Newcastle. And no, I’m not just scared of him…..
By Daniel Allen – Newcastle United fan – @Dannyallen757