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Joey Barton will not face any disciplinary action from the Football Association for his challenge on Dickson Etuhu during last weekend derby. He also has apologised to the mackem's player.
The FA boards admitted on Monday they were powerless, because referee Martin Atkinson had not seen the challenge.
Barton said: “There was no malice in it, nor was it premeditated. If I caused him any injury, I apologise. Things happen in the heat of a derby game. It was my third game back and I’m still a bit rusty. If I was fully match fit (it) would have been avoided.”
The news is good for both Barton and Newcastle United, because we cannot afford to lose him for the next important fixture against Liverpool. We need his combative performance back, as he is still chasing his match fitness after returning from broken metatarsal.
I see that not too many Bart lovers around the Newcastle supporters, at least for the moment. I believe things will change as soon as Joey starts to show them what he really can do.
Commented on the FA decision, Roy Keane told safc.com: “I'm not one for jumping up and down on the sidelines when I see a tackle. It was high but he was going to win the ball.”
And more of that, I was in fact (this time) agree for what Keane believes that football is in danger of going soft. “We seem to be losing that side of it,” he said. “You have to tackle, the ball is there to be won, it's an important part of the game.”