Joey Barton kissed Newcastle’s badge whilst warming up against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, following the abuse he got from rival fans when on the touchline…
“I’m not worried, I don’t see what he did wrong,” said Newcastle manager, Joe Kinnear. “Ninety per cent of footballers kiss their badges at some time. I will probably say to Joey that he can kiss the badge again if he scores a hat-trick.”
Three years later, Barton rejected a new contract from Newcastle and despite him wanting to stay, they did not offer him another. He signed for QPR and was made captain, before criticising the owners of his former club.
“They promised a number of different things and delivered on very few of them,” he said. “At Newcastle I couldn’t take to the pitch and lie to the fans and be a part of it.You are doing it for yourself, the fans and the football club but if you fundamentally despise everything that the owners stand for it is very difficult. I am a man of principles, I am a very principled individual and for me taking money off fans and taking the piss out of them is not what I am about. I would rather walk away with my dignity and self-respect intact and I feel I have done that.”