Barton criticises Toon board
Midfielder Joey Barton has criticised the Newcastle board after it was decided he can leave St James' Park on a free transfer.
By Peter Fraser - Follow me on Twitter @SkySportsPeteF
Last Updated: 02/08/11 6:33pm
Joey Barton has criticised the Newcastle board after it was decided he can leave the club on a free transfer.
The midfielder's future has been the subject of speculation for the majority of the summer after he entered the final 12 months of his contract.
Any uncertainty surrounding the stance of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias was ended on Monday afternoon when the club announced Barton was free to leave St James' Park.
Tottenham, Everton and Aston Villa have been linked with the former Manchester City player as a result, but he has maintained he has always wanted to stay at Newcastle, who he joined in 2007.
Barton had previously said he would make an announcement at 4pm on Monday, but, having been prompted by Newcastle, his announcement came 55 minutes late.
He wrote on his personal Twitter account: "Somewhere in those high echelons of NUFC, they have decided, I am persona non grata.
"I am on a free but the honour of wearing those B+W stripes, surpasses that
"One day the board might realise, what the shirt signifies. HONOUR and PRIDE. Thanks for your continued support...........toonarmy"
Newcastle sold star striker Andy Carroll in January, while former captain Kevin Nolan moved to West Ham at the beginning of the summer.
The impending exit of Barton will therefore come as another blow to fans, who are aware the trio represented their best players as Premier League security was achieved last season.
Unsettled Spanish full-back Jose Enrique is another who is expected to leave this summer and he has also used Twitter to criticise club officials.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said after Sunday's 3-2 pre-season defeat at Leeds that he wanted to sign one more player, with fans already underwhelmed by the arrivals of Demba Ba, Sylvain Marveaux, Yohan Cabaye and Mehdi Abeid.