From today’s News of the World:
JOEY BARTON could sink into a suicidal depression if Newcastle sack him.
The chilling warning comes from Sam Allardyce, the man who paid £5.8 million to take Barton (right) to Tyneside last summer.
Toon chiefs must decide whether to cancel Barton’s contract after he was found guilty of a vicious training ground assault on his former Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo.
Barton, 25, is already serving a six-month term in jail for attacking a teenager outside a Liverpool McDonald’s.
But Big Sam wants his old club to give him one last chance – or face potentially devastating consequences.
He said: “If Newcastle sack Joey it will be another punishment and defeat the objective of him trying to put things right and become a better person.
“It could also be dangerous to take football away from him.
“He is a complete football man. His life revolves around it. Without it he could re-offend and, worse, go into a depression.
“We have had people in the past commit suicide because they couldn’t cope with life after professional football.
“Dave Clement, who was with me at Bolton, was one at 34 and it’s incredibly sad when something like that happens. We mustn’t think it can’t happen again.”
Former QPR and Wimbledon star Clement shocked football in 1982 when he killed himself by swallowing weedkiller.
Allardyce admits he knew exactly what he was taking on when he made Barton one of his first signings on his arrival at St James’ Park.
The former Toon boss said: “We didn’t have any problems with him up at Newcastle. It was only when he went back to Liverpool and he went out drinking that the problems occurred.
“If Newcastle keep Joey, this is the last chance for him. He is fighting for his future because I don’t think anyone will take him if he steps out of line again.
“Joey has had help in the past but he needs to do things for himself now.
“If this doesn’t make him want to get things right, nothing will.”
Is that what you’d call “emotional blackmail”? Poor Joey, all he needs is for someone to give him a chance, hey?