Magpies midfielder Barton pleads guilty to City training ground assault on former team-mate Dabo


Premier League footballer Joey Barton pleaded guilty today to assaulting a former team-mate in a training ground row.  

The Newcastle United midfielder was due to go on trial at Manchester Minshull Crown Court over the incident, but changed his plea shortly before the scheduled start. 

Barton, 25, admitted one charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm to Ousmane Dabo when they were playing colleagues at Manchester City.  

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Joey Barton

Admission: Joey Barton, pictured above in May, has pleaded guilty to assault

Ousmane Dabo arrives at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court

Ready to state his case: Ousmane Dabo arrives at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court

Barton - whose victim Dabo was in court to hear him plead guilty - will be
sentenced tomorrow morning.

Outlining the events at Manchester City's training ground on May 1 last year,
prosecutor Richard Vardon said it was an "explosive combination of football and

The pair squared up to each other after a simmering row during a training match
session, the court was told.

Dabo, 31, was said to have felt intimidated that Barton had invaded his
personal space as he shouted and swore at him.

The Frenchman pushed his shoulder with both hands, and in retaliation Barton punched him to the left side of his head, causing the Frenchman to fall to the
ground and lose consciousness.

Vardon said several witnesses said Barton continued to punch Dabo while he lay
on top of the player, who was in a dazed state.

Vardon said one player, Georgios Samaras, said he had never seen such a violent
incident on a training pitch in all his career.

Samaras stated he would "never forget it".

Since bursting on to the football scene in April 2003, Barton has been making headlines both on and off the pitch. He walked a fine line despite his fiery temper landing him in trouble time and again.  

But he always escaped the courts and prison - until this year. It is the third time Barton has been in court in 2008, but his bad behaviour stretches back more than four years.

In April 2004 he stormed out of Eastlands before kick-off after being axed from the side to face Southampton and in a 2005 pre-season 'friendly', sparked a mass brawl in a game against Doncaster.  

A Christmas bash for Manchester City players that December saw him stub a lit cigar into the eye of young team-mate Jamie Tandy.  

He was fined six weeks' wages by City. In May 2005 he broke the leg of a 35-year-old pedestrian while driving his car at 2am in Liverpool city centre and the following month was involved in a spat with a 15-year-old Everton fan at City's team hotel in Bangkok.

Again he was fined by City. The bad blood with Everton fans continued in 2006 when he dropped his shorts in the direction of home fans at Goodison Park. He was fined and warned by the FA for his conduct.

In February last year he made his England debut against Spain but a month later was arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage in an incident involving a taxi driver.  

Three months later came the fight with Dabo, and a month after that he was sold by City to Newcastle Utd for £5.8million.  

Barton sat out Newcastle's Boxing Day game last year as he was injured, but went drinking in Liverpool city centre afterwards.  

In the early hours of December 27 he got into a row in a McDonald's and violence again broke out.  

Drunk, Barton straddled his victim, punching him repeatedly in the face.   This time the attack was caught on CCTV.  

The player admitted assault and affray and was jailed for six months on May 20. Just 10 days later he was brought back to court to deal with alleged criminal damage to a taxi, a charge dating back to March 2007.  

He was alleged to have ripped out the cabbie's radio because he would not wait at a McDonald's drive-through while Barton got food.  

But after a trial at the city's magistrates' court, he was found not guilty of vandalising the taxi. His cousin, Joshua Wilson, 19, admitted doing the damage.

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