Joey Barton has tweeted that he is headed to London to have a medical with Queens Park Rangers after they have offered him a new contract. Barton has had a long-standing feud with the Newcastle United decision makers, one that resulted in him being transfer-listed on a free earlier this month. He had appeared to reconcile himself to Alan Pardew, however, with the temperamental midfielder playing both of the team's league games so far.
In announcing his impending move on Twitter, Barton couldn't resist one last shot at management, those unsavory characters who refused to give Barton a raise when he demanded it:
Don't want to leave Newcastle........I've made that clear but my hands are tied.
On one hand, it's easy to understand Barton's point of view. The man feels like he needs a new deal, and like or not, the current state of the transfer window makes those sort of demands commonplace. Players own all the leverage; if someone in good form thinks they ought to be making more money, they can usually find somebody to accommodate them. Rather than simply moan and complain about the broken system, at some point clubs have to deal with that reality and pony up if they don't want to lose their best players. It seems as if Mike Ashley has forgotten this fact while trying to enforce his new philosophy of
financial restraint penny-pinching.
At the same time, it's hard to blame Mike Ashley for standing up to the Willie McKays of the world. We still don't know the whole story of this entire saga, but given Barton's demeanor, it's not hard to imagine that he and McKay took an aggressive negotiating stance and refused to budge. As much as losing players sucks, it's probably better than the alternative of giving out £60K per week contracts to Alan Smith and the like.
The truth is, there is blood on everybody's hands.
Joey Barton will be missed. He's a presence that other teams have to account for, and that's before you consider the degree to which he can get under their skin. However, Newcastle appear to have the depth in midfield to account for this loss. I'm certainly not happy that the Toon are losing a quality player, but you know what? Now there's one less circus act competing for the spotlight.