Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Monday, 28 July 2008 12:19 UK

Joey Barton released from prison

Barton leaving jail
Barton left Strangeways jail in Manchester on Monday

Footballer Joey Barton has been released from jail after serving two months of a six-month sentence for attacking a man.

The 25-year-old Newcastle midfielder was captured on CCTV in Liverpool on 27 December punching a man.

He admitted assault and affray in April for the attack, which was branded a "violent and cowardly act" by a judge.

Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan said on Sunday that the footballer still had a future with the club.

Barton, wearing jeans and a jumper and carrying a holdall, left Strangeways prison in Manchester at 1100 BST after serving 74 days for the attack. He was driven off in a silver Land Rover.

The 40,000-a-week footballer, who is originally from Huyton in Merseyside, began his football career with Manchester City in 2002.

Ousmane Dabo
Team-mate Ousmane Dabo was also assaulted by Barton

He was then sold to Newcastle United in June 2007 in a 5.8m deal, four months after he had made his full international debut for England.

On 1 July Barton was given a four-month sentence suspended for two years at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court for assaulting team-mate Ousmane Dabo when they were both at Manchester City.

He admitted a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm for repeatedly punching Dabo in the attack which left his colleague unconscious and covered in blood.

The pair clashed during a training session on 1 May 2007.

Dabo, 31, pushed Barton's shoulder and was knocked unconscious - in court eyewitnesses recalled Barton getting on top of the player and repeatedly hitting him.

Joey's been running out of last chances
Gordon Taylor, PFA

Dabo was treated in hospital for the effects of head trauma, an inflamed eye and bruised eyelids. He also suffered from headaches for three weeks and missed several matches.

In addition to being given a suspended sentence for the attack on his team mate, Barton was also ordered to carry out 200 hours community service and to pay 3,000 compensation to Dabo as well as footing the prosecution costs.

In May Barton was cleared of vandalising a taxi on a night out in Merseyside.

Chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, Gordon Taylor, said he welcomed Keegan's decision to give Barton a second chance.

He told the BBC: "To some extent I'm glad that he still has some faith in him. Joey's been running out of last chances.

"From that point of view it may have been the time when Newcastle would have said 'we can't stand for this' and move him on but hopefully Kevin thinks he can work his oracle with Joey and Joey will get his life back on track both as a human being and as a footballer."


Footage of the assault for which Barton was jailed

Keegan gives Barton second chance
27 Jul 08 |  Newcastle
Magpies to discuss Barton future
01 Jul 08 |  Newcastle
Barton admits team-mate assault
30 Jun 08 |  England
Barton cleared over taxi damage
30 May 08 |  England
Barton gets fine but escapes ban
10 Oct 06 |  Man City
Barton is fined over hotel fracas
27 Jul 05 |  Man City
Fan struck by football star's car
05 May 05 |  Merseyside

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