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Will Keegan Stand By Jailed Barton?

Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton isn't the first English national team player to get drunk, end up in jail, and then come out to renew both his career and his life. Former Arsenal and England defender Tony Adams used a jail conviction for drunk driving to recover from alcoholism and continue to play at the top of the English game well into his 30s. Barton too has admitted to a drink problem common among young English players earning lots of money, with time on their hands, and growing up in a country where going to the pub is almost compulsory.
 
Barton was sent to jail for six months Tuesday for assaulting a man and a teenager in a late-night brawl after drinking 15 beers. Yet James Ducker writes that his manager, Kevin Keegan, will support the "enfant terrible" when he comes out of jail (probably before the start of next season if he behaves well inside), and "has apparently resolved to keep Barton at St James' Park."
 
Barton, 25, who earns £60,000 (around $120,000) a week, also has the backing of the Professional Footballers' Association, but the club itself has only issued a statement saying that they are "considering the verdict." They may also be considering that Barton's still awaiting trial on another assault charge, for allegedly attacking former Manchester City teammate Ousmane Dabo. His best chance of staying at the club could be because "Newcastle may find it hard to recoup their money on a player whose long history of misdemeanors is unlikely to endear him to other clubs."

Read the whole story at The Times »

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