Barton still keen to sign Toon deal

BY foxsports • February 6, 2011

The 28-year-old admits Carroll's £35million deadline-day switch to Liverpool did make him pause for thought as a disappointed dressing room came to terms with the loss of a player whose potential had given great cause for optimism on Tyneside. Barton was close to putting pen to paper on a new deal when the Reds made their move, and the hiatus since has sparked fears that he may not now commit his future to the club. However, speaking after Saturday's remarkable 4-4 Premier League draw with Arsenal, in which he played a key role, he revealed he still wants to stay at St James' Park. Barton told NUFC TV: "As far as I'm aware, I had agreed in principle to sign a deal. I want to stay at this football club - I have stated that on numerous occasions. "When stuff happens like what happened during the week, then obviously you think, 'Hang on a minute, what is going on here? Is this the right move? Is this the right decision to make?'. "But I am enjoying my football here. I love living in the city, the fans are brilliant with me - I feel I am building a real rapport with them. "Obviously I am disappointed that Andy has gone, as are a number of people in there, because we felt he was a big part of us building a successful football club. "But I am told they are going to re-invest the money and as long as that happens, I don't think there will be a problem if they invest the money quite wisely. "But that's not my job, my job is to turn up and play football. I did think a little bit, 'Is this the right move to make?', but I owe a lot to this football club for giving me the chances after I have let them down in the past. "The fans are different class with me and I am keen to stay. "It makes a massive statement to everyone if I was to not sign a contract and say, 'I am going to wait' and blah, blah, blah. Maybe a few other people would be waiting and saying, 'Let's just see what's going to happen'. "But I am keen to get it signed, draw a line under it and let's start moving this football club back in the right direction." Barton has produced some of the best football of his career, and certainly his best in a Newcastle shirt, this season, but like most of his team-mates, he came to life belatedly on Saturday. Manager Alan Pardew, who had his heart in his mouth as Abou Diaby rounded on the combative midfielder to earn his red card, said: "Joey, Cheik [Tiote], the whole team had the same performance. "For 20 minutes, Joey felt sorry for himself. It was everybody else's issue, everybody else's agenda. "No-one was taking responsibility, no-one was wearing that shirt and playing with pride, playing with character like they can. "In the second half, he showed what he is about, showed why he perhaps should be included for England. "I saw the guy throw him to the ground and I thought, 'Joey, please'. You have to hold your hands up and say his reaction was top drawer. "He didn't react and the Joey of old might have done that. In that little moment, perhaps, there are some people, including myself, thinking that England duty might be coming his way because he has matured as a person. "He put in a great, great second-half display." Barton could have been forgiven for keeping his tongue in his cheek when he revealed his disappointment that the comeback had not ended in victory. The fact that the 28-year-old midfielder was deadly serious said everything that needed to be said about the definitive game of two halves. Barton said: "If anything sums up football, that was it. At half-time, the game was over against such a great side as Arsenal. But a little bit of lack of discipline with them and the momentum swung in our favour. "We could have won the game 5-4, 6-4 - Kevin Nolan had a good chance. Very rarely am I lost for words, but in this case, I am a little bit. "It doesn't happen every week, that. Days like this are few and far between. I don't think the old ticker can take too many more of those." Newcastle were abject before the break. They were behind within 42 seconds as Theo Walcott left black and white shirts trailing in his wake to open the scoring, and when Johan Djourou added a second with less than three minutes on the clock, the signs were ominous. Worse was to come, with Robin van Persie making the most of more shambolic defending to convert Walcott's 10th-minute cross and then head home unmarked at the near post. Just 26 minutes had elapsed and the game was won, or so those members of the Toon Army who started to head for the exits with a few choice words for Pardew - and, by association, owner Mike Ashley - believed. Ashley, of course, had once again sparked mutiny on the terraces by accepting Liverpool's bid for Carroll on Monday, and that, combined with a 1-0 midweek defeat at Fulham and the unfolding capitulation in the face of an Arsenal storm and the relegation fears it rekindled, had considerably darkened the mood on Tyneside. And then the clouds parted - or more accurately, Abou Diaby and his senses did. The Gunners midfielder was incensed by a ferocious but legal challenge from Barton and pushed him to the ground before raising his hands to Kevin Nolan, giving referee Phil Dowd little option but to send him off. Barton said: "I don't understand Diaby's reaction. I went in one-footed, cleanly took the ball and my momentum carried me into him. "I think it was stupid from him. They were 4-0 up, there was no need for him to react the way he reacted. For me, it wasn't an issue. "If the Arsenal players don't like being tackled, they should go and play basketball or netball or one of the other games."

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