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A bum deal

After the decision from Merseyside Police not to take any further action over Joey Barton's transgression last weekend, the FA - in their wisdom deemed he has a case to answer for and have charged Barton with improper conduct.

Barton originally had until 6pm tonight to respond to the charge but this deadline has been extended to midday on Monday.

The statement by the club in response to the charge was perfectly worded as far as I'm concerned and summed up what the sensible response to the incident was:

"It is deeply disappointing that the Football Association have decided to charge Joey Barton with improper conduct. The player accepts that some elements of his behaviour following the game with Everton were ill-advised and he apologises to anybody who may have felt offended. He has been reminded of his responsibilities as a custodian of this football club, but we do not believe his actions warrant any further investigation. It is our firm opinion that the matter should end there.
We believe the FA should have taken into account the context of the incident and noted he behaved without any malice and in a light-hearted manner. Joey wishes to thank the many Evertonians, City supporters and general football fans who have contacted the club this week with messages of support."

To me the phrase 'without any malice and in a light-hearted manner' said it perfectly and it seems that his name and reputation have been as much to do with the charge as the actual act itself. I hope that Barton pleads not guilty to the charge and is found not guilty by the committee when his hearing comes up.

Don't hold your breath though.