Barton: I never questioned Newcastle fans loyalty

Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton has insisted he never questioned the loyalty of the club's fans.

The 25-year-old’s use of the word "vicious" to describe their reaction made for banner headlines over the weekend as the outspoken former Manchester City star once again found himself at the centre of a controversy.

But, he is adamant that he was issuing a rallying cry rather than an attack ahead of last Saturday's trip to Blackburn.

He told the club's website, www.nufc.co.uk: "I woke on the morning of the game to see that comments I had made earlier in the week had been presented in some quarters in a way they were never meant to be.

"When I spoke about the atmosphere at our last home game against Liverpool, the point I was making was that, through results good or bad, we all need to stick together on and off the pitch.

"There are a lot of new players at the club still finding their feet and there was a big summer of change at the club with a new manager and owners coming in.

"So it is clear everyone needs time to come together and move the club on - and that will happen much, much quicker if everyone is pulling together.

"Of course I never questioned any fan's loyalty - who could question the loyalty of any Newcastle United fan, or their right to be unhappy if performances are not going well?

"In fact, I actually made the point that it is up to the players to lift the fans when results are not going our way.

"What I said was intended to be a rallying call after a defeat. It was not a blast or an attack."

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