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Barton secures early release

The Newcastle United player Joey Barton is released from prison after serving 74 days of a six-month sentence for assault.

Joey Barton, the Newcastle midfielder, on his way to Liverpool Crown Court, where he received his six month sentence.
Joey Barton, the Newcastle midfielder, on his way to Liverpool Crown Court, where he received his six month sentence.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND // Joey Barton, the troubled Newcastle United midfielder, was released from prison today after serving 74 days of a six-month sentence for assault. Barton,25, who was capped once by England, left prison in Manchester, northwest England, where he was sent after pleading guilty on May 20 to assault and affray in a late-night incident in his native Liverpool last December. He has also been was given a four-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, on June 30 for attacking his former Manchester City teammate Ousmane Dabo at the club's training ground.

The Newcastle United boss Kevin Keegan yesterday gave his full support to Barton, insisting he deserves another chance at re-establishing his credentials both on the field and as a person. "People have opinions, and you must respect those, but mine is to give him another chance and back him," Keegan, who also managed Barton at Manchester City, told BBC radio. "There are a lot of things he needs to put right - but I think he can do it."

Newcastle were back in action in a preseason friendly Saturday, but lost away to second-tier Championship side Doncaster Rovers 1-0. The Magpies finished 12th in the English Premier League last season. *AFP