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Keegan gets his wish as Newcastle keep Barton

29 July 2008 17:32

NEWCASTLE (AFP) - Troubled Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton is to stay with the English Premier League team after being released from prison, the north-east club announced Tuesday.

United's move came after club manager Kevin Keegan said he was determined to give Barton "another chance".

Their statement said: "Newcastle United officials can confirm they have met with Joey Barton today (July 29) following which it has been agreed by everyone involved that Joey will remain with the club.

"The club will not be making any further comment on the matter."

Barton was released from prison Monday after serving 74 days of a six-month sentence for assault.

The 25-year-old, who was capped once by England, left jail in Manchester, northwest England, where he was sent after pleading guilty on May 20 to assault and affray in a late-night incident in his native Liverpool last December.

He has also been was given a four-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, on June 30 for attacking his former Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo at the club's training ground.

Keegan on Sunday gave his full support to Barton, insisting he deserves another chance at re-establishing himself on and off the field.

"People have opinions, and you must respect those, but mine is to give him another chance and back him," Keegan, who also managed Barton at Manchester City, told BBC radio. "There are a lot of things he needs to put right -- but I think he can do it."

Newcastle were back in action in a pre-season friendly Saturday, but lost away to second-tier Championship side Doncaster Rovers 1-0.

The Magpies finished 12th in the Premier League last season.

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Championship table

# Team MP D P
1 46 +45 94
2 46 +34 93
3 46 +4 85
4 46 +15 81
5 46 -2 81

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