Joey Barton released by Newcastle following Twitter outburst

NEWCASTLE midfielder Joey Barton has accused the club's hierarchy of not understanding what it means to wear the shirt after being told he can leave on a free transfer.

The club confirmed yesterday that the 28-year-old can leave with immediate effect.

The move comes after another prolonged Twitter outburst from Barton, who has become increasingly disgruntled with off-the-field matters in the north-east. He took to the social networking site yesterday afternoon to hint at behind-the-scenes unrest, and has seemingly tipped owner Mike Ashley over the edge in the process. Barton said that he would make an announcement about his future at 4pm yesterday, but the club pre-empted that and revealed he was able to leave, with a short statement saying: "Newcastle United can confirm that Joey Barton has been placed on the transfer list. The player has been advised that he can leave on a free transfer."

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In response, Barton tweeted another dig at the board. He wrote: "Somewhere in those high echelons of NUFC, they have decided I am persona non grata. I am on a free but the honour of wearing those B+W stripes surpasses that. One day the board might realise what the shirt signifies. HONOUR and PRIDE. Thanks for your continued support."