Queens Park Rangers manager Mark Hughes ready to kick captain Joey Barton out of Loftus Road
QUEENS Park Rangers will tell Joey Barton that he is not wanted at the Premier League club and is free to leave.
The midfielder faces at least a 10-match ban for his appalling behaviour against Manchester City on Sunday in which he was sent off for elbowing Carlos Tévez.
Barton will be banned for four matches because it was his second red card of the season and will also face further bans at the “discretion” of a commission after last night being charged by the Football Association for kicking Sergio Agüero and attempting to butt Vincent Kompany.
He refused to leave the pitch at the Etihad Stadium, an offence which could even see the ban extended to 12 matches, and the FA could also eventually charge him for a series of distasteful comments on the social network site, Twitter.
However, QPR manager Mark Hughes had already decided before Barton’s latest misdemeanours that the midfielder was not part of his plans and should leave for the good of the club. He has lost patience with Barton, who has also performed poorly this season.
The significant problem for QPR will be to try to find a buyer for Barton who is the club’s highest-paid player and has three years left on a contract that pays him up to £80,000-a-week.
Nevertheless, Hughes, who has been privately critical of Barton for some time, is determined to try to make sure he leaves the club and the 29 year-old is also expected to be fined heavily for his latest behaviour.
QPR will examine the legal situation over Barton’s contract and are weighing up their options but chairman Tony Fernandes and chief executive Phil Beard are aware of Hughes’s thinking.
To add further insult to Barton’s appalling behaviour it is believed that, as part of the contract he signed last summer after being told to leave Newcastle United, he is due a bonus of about £250,000 because QPR have avoided relegation.
If, somehow, Barton manages to stay on at QPR, which would appear unlikely given Hughes’s mood, then he will be stripped of the captaincy and will not be part of the first-team plans.
Hughes even considered leaving Barton out of the club’s league run-in and would have done so if he had alternative players while he has also wanted to take the armband of him for some time. The manager only decided against it because he thought Barton would, potentially, be a more disruptive character if he was not captaining the side.
To add further insult, Barton was back on Twitter on Sunday evening to abuse the BBC Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer following the former striker’s criticism of his dismissal. In an expletive-littered rant Barton attacked Shearer and then, on Monday, turned his vile attention to the show’s host, Gary Lineker.
QPR have been trying to persuade Barton to quit Twitter but he has refused to do so and although Fernandes yesterday suggested that the player’s career at Loftus Road might not be over, it was only a ‘holding’ statement until the club have met with him.
Of the future of Barton, signed by previous manager Neil Warnock, Fernandes said: “I will leave that to the manager and the chief executive. Now we just want to focus on the positives. It’s a little bit early to talk about that. I will not step in.
"My goal at the club is to bring in the right infrastructure and the right people. I leave the manager to manage the players. Of course the board will be involved, but we will let him come to us and say ‘this is what I would like to do’.”
Hughes’s intention is to stress that Barton has no future in his squad and given the fact that the manager has saved the club from relegation, he will be backed to the hilt. Even so, the situation, not least given the financial implications, is a big test for Fernandes and his board.
Barton will be the highest-profile part of a huge clear-out of players at Loftus Road this summer. That will be helped by the fact that Kieron Dyer, Danny Gabbidon, Patrick Agyemang, Radek Cerny, Lee Cook, Fitz Hall, Peter Ramage and Danny Shittu are all out of contract.
Others set to leave include Matt Connolly, Rob Hulse, Heidar Helguson and Brian Murphy while Hughes would also like to move on Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell, but both are also on expensive contracts having been signed last summer.
Hughes, along with technical director Mike Rigg and Beard, is overseeing a complete revamp of the way the club are run and QPR took another step towards that on Monday by announcing their plans to move to state-of-the-art training ground at the 63-acre Warren Farm sports centre in West London. QPR hope to make the move next summer.
Crimes and misdemeanours: Barton’s history of trouble
Sent off for the first time after two bookable offences in Manchester City’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at Tottenham.
Criticised by manager Kevin Keegan for causing a mass brawl in a pre-season friendly at Doncaster.
Stubs lit cigar in the eye of youth team player Jamie Tandy during City’s Christmas party. Fined six weeks’ wages. Tandy later won £65,000 in damages.
Breaks leg of pedestrian while driving his car at 2am in Liverpool. Has an altercation with a 15-year-old Everton fan at City’s team hotel in Bangkok during a pre-season tour. Fined eight weeks’ wages.
Drops shorts in front of Everton fans at Goodison Park.
Straight red card for a two-footed lunge on Bolton’s Abdoulaye Faye.
Charged with assault and given a four-month suspended sentence after a training-ground fight with Ousmane Dabo. Banned for 12 matches by FA and fined £25,000.
Jailed over late night-incident in Liverpool city centre. Received a six-month sentence after pleading guilty to common assault and affray.
Sent off playing for Newcastle against Liverpool for a late challenge on Xabi Alonso. Suspended by the club.
Punches Blackburn winger Morten Gamst Pedersen, accepts an FA charge and is banned for three games.
Transfer listed after a series of Twitter comments criticising the club, making him available on a free transfer.
Scores but is then sent off as new club QPR lose 2-1 at home to Norwich. Slates the FA as “Orwellian organisation” in need of a “drastic shake-up”.
Sent off after clashing with Carlos Tévez, Sergio Agüero and Vincent Kompany in last game of season at Manchester City.