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questions."ed board to force me.

Byline: LEE RYDER

JOEY BARTON has claimed he was forced out of Newcastle United because he "asked questions."

The Scouser - now at Queens Park Rangers - also suggested that Alan Smith is being "told" to train with the reserves while Steve Harper was "forced" to go on loan.

Barton also expressed his sympathy for Chris Hughton after the former Republic of Ireland international left the club a year ago after keeping the club together in the aftermath of relegation.

In an extensive rant Barton - who was voted the player of the season by fans - told a QPR fans podcast that his tenure came to an end after a row over bonuses and said: "The bigger name players advised the players not to sign and that filtered back to the boardroom.

"It's no coincidence that I got sold, or given away, Carroll and Nolan were sold and Harper is being forced to go on loan and his position is made untenable and Alan Smith has been told to train with the reserves for the rest of his days.

"It's all about power and control. They are running the club and it's going well for them, but that's more to the testament of the players, fans and the manager." Barton, who did praise Alan Pardew for the job he has done this season and his former team-mates, feels that the refusal to sign a bonus sheet following promotion was the beginning of the end for Hughton, now Birmingham boss.

Barton said: "We were the only club in Premier League history not to sign a bonus sheet. It never happened. It's unprecedented. We refused because they tried to railroad us into it.

"It fundamentally cost Chris Hughton his job as he couldn't get us to sign so Mike Ashley said he had no control over the players and that was his undoing. Chris knew he was on borrowed time from then - yet this was a guy who kept the club together when we went down, had no budget, inherited a playing squad fragmented and disjointed and handled himself with nothing but dignity.

"He did a fantastic job swimming against the tide at boardroom level and got the club back into the Premier League.

"We felt aggrieved by Chris' exit, at the same time we refused to sign the bonus sheet.

"They decided we were the paid workforce and thought we were sports direct and do what subordinates there do."

And having left the club on a free transfer, Barton said: "At Newcastle I couldn't take to the pitch and lie to the fans and be a part of it.

"You are doing it for yourself, the fans and the football club but if you fundamentally despise everything that the owners stand for it is very difficult.

"I am a man of principles, I am a very principled individual and for me taking money off fans and taking the p*** out of them is not what I am about."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 30, 2011
Words:494
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