English Premier league side Newcastle have suspended troubled midfielder Joey Barton after his red card against Liverpool ruled him out of the rest of the season.
|Who me? Barton protests his innocence as Xabi Alonso feels the pain [GALLO/GETTY]
Barton has a history of misconduct both on and off the field, and was sent off for a reckless challenge on Liverpool's Xabi Alonso near the end of Newcastle's 3-0 loss to the Reds at Anfield on Saturday.
The loss to Liverpool has left the Magpies deep in relegation trouble and manager Alan Shearer condemned the midfielder for the foul.
Reports are also surfacing that Barton and Shearer were involved in an angry confrontation after the game and had to be pulled apart by other players.
The red card means Barton is already ruled out of Newcastle's final three games against fellow relegation strugglers Middlesbrough, Fulham and Aston Villa because of an automatic Football Association suspension.
Shearer's team are 18th in the Premier League standings, three points off safety, and look likely to go down for the first time since 1989.
"Newcastle United can confirm that Joey Barton has been suspended from
the club until further notice,'' the club said in a brief statement on its website.
"The club will be making no further comment on the matter at this time.''
The incident has created more negative headlines for a club which has been in disarray for much of the season.
Manager Kevin Keegan quit in September after disputes with owner Mike Ashley, who then tried but failed to sell the club, and temporary manager Joe Kinnear had to step down after he was taken ill.
Shearer took over with eight games to go stressing he would be in charge only until the end of the season but has collected only two points from five matches.
|Barton has had a controversial career [AFP]
The problem for Barton is that the foul on Alonso was just typical of a player who has accumulated a long list of fines and bans, has been to jail for assault in a street fight, punched a teammate's eye in training and pushed a lit cigar into a teenage teammate's eye at Manchester City's Christmas party.
Now ruled out of Newcastle's final games and unable to train with his teammates, Barton is left to consider his future and few clubs may take the risk of signing him.
Barton's temper has put him in trouble since his career began in 2003.
He walked out just before kickoff after being left out of Manchester City's side and manager Kevin Keegan condemned him for causing a mass brawl in a preseason friendly at Doncaster.
After the Christmas party incident in December 2004, Barton had another row with a 15-year-old Everton fan in Bangkok and City fined him eight weeks wages.
The following season, Barton dropped his shorts and exposed his backside to Everton fans and was fined for misconduct.
Although Barton wasn't involved, his family hit the headlines in December 2005 when his brother, Michael, was jailed for 17 years for his involvement in a racist attack in which a black teenager was killed with a mountaineering ax.
Just two years ago, Barton appeared to have straightened out his life and he even got a call-up to the England team, going on as a substitute in a 1-0 loss to Spain.
But the bad behaviour soon returned and he was arrested after a violent argument with a taxi driver.
He was then suspended by Man City over the training ground incident with teammate Ousmane Dabo, which later led to a suspended jail sentence and the FA ordering him to miss six games.
Barton transferred to Newcastle in June last year but he was arrested in Liverpool after a street fight and eventually received a six month jail sentence for assault and fighting.