Manchester City FC has often been pilloried down the years for wasting money, but the sale of Joey 'Zidane' Barton to Newcastle looks like a masterstroke.
A good degree of credit has to go to Stuart Pearce for Barton's departure from City. Pearce repeatedly gave him the opportunity to redeem himself after each discretion until the alledged battering of Ousmane Dabo finally precipitated his big money move out of the club. Enough was enough.
Barton's commitment shone for so many of us in a very poor and pedestrian City side. But allied to the bad publicity he created for the club off field, including his ill advised transfer request, self fixated interviews and slagging off of established England players, his useless domination of all City's deadball situations showed him up as an increasingly ordinary player.
That the clearly out of his depth Fat Sam and the currently hapless Barcodes stumped up 5.8 million quid for him has to be the MCFC Sale Of The Century. Barton has turned out 8 times for Newcastle and netted one penalty.
In truth, it is a very sad story. I understand that when City arrive on Tyneside next week, Barton will be behind bars having been remanded in custody.
I see him as a player who could have improved his game had he been prepared to learn, but unfortunately his deluded interviews gave the impression that he knew everything already. I doubt he will ever play for England again and his Newcastle future must now be uncertain.
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