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Barton's days are numbered

Almost as quickly as the news stories broke yesterday announcing the suspension of Joey Barton came the reports today that Barton has played his last game for the club, with the us offloading him in the summer - with agreement from both Stuart Pearce and the board.

It was stated that Barton has been told to stay away from the club and indeed may even have left the country in the wake of the incident, but most interesting for me was the article that appeared in the MEN today from Chris Bailey.

From what I am aware of how both the MEN and club operate, the article wouldn't have appeared without the club being aware of it, or indeed having 'given the ok' in some capacity. It was a quite a damning article, very critical of Barton's previous misdemeanours and laid the blame for the incident squarely on his shoulders and suggesting that Barton has 'lost' any support from within the dressing room he may have previously had.

Barton has been quiet thus far (even his myspace page remains untouched), leaving all talk to the esteemed Mr McKay, but the PFA (as they are duty bound I guess) have offered their support to him.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of Barton's behaviour (both with this and previous incidents), it does appear that the club is hellbent on showing him the door. If indeed this is the case, it already puts us a step behind in terms of strengthening a squad that is in definite need of reinforcing.