Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer has recalled how Joey Barton’s sending off during a game against Liverpool led to a “huge fight” in the dressing room.
Shearer briefly served as Newcastle’s caretaker manager during the 2008/09 campaign. As such, ahead of a game against the Reds, Shearer deployed Barton in midfield to bolster the team’s presence in the middle of the park.
However, with five minutes left in the match, Barton was shown a red card for a cynical challenge on Xabi Alonso in an incident that subsequently led to a massive dressing room row.
Shearer is widely regarded as one of the Premier League‘s greatest-ever strikers. The Englishman moved to Newcastle in 1996 after spending four years at Blackburn Rovers.
Despite never winning a trophy at St. James’ Park, Shearer‘s goalscoring heroics cemented his legendary legacy at the club.
He managed 206 goals for the Magpies. After 10 years at Newcastle, the striker announced his retirement in 2006.
He would return to the club as a caretaker coach during the 2008/09 campaign. Shearer managed eight games at the helm before leaving in June 2009.
Barton, meanwhile, joined Newcastle in 2007 from Manchester City. The English midfielder would spend over four years with the Magpies before leaving for Queens Park Rangers in 2011.
Shearer on Barton.
Shearer appeared on the BBC Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast and he recalled an encounter with Barton during his managerial spell at Newcastle.
“He played for me for about an hour!” Shearer said.
“It was disappointing because we had Nicky Butt and Kevin Nolan in midfield who were great lads, brilliant professionals, but didn’t have a lot of legs left.
“We needed legs in midfield and Joey was injured for the first four games of me being the manager. With four games to go, we were due to play Liverpool and I said to him earlier in the week: ‘How’s things going? You’re back training with the first team and I am thinking about putting you in’.
“He said: ‘Yep, don’t worry about me. I won’t let you down, gaffer’.
“Training went really well and I decided to put him in the team. We were getting battered off Liverpool. They hit the post, the bar – it should have been seven or eight nil.
“We lost 3-0 and I was about to take him off with five minutes to go. Instead, he decided to scythe Xabi Alonso down in front of the Kop.
“Straight red card. So I had him for about an hour and he couldn’t play the last three games because he was suspended.
“There was a huge fight in the dressing room and I never saw him again. He was fighting with himself.”