I was not hostile or aggressive, former Fleetwood manager Joey Barton tells assault trial
Former Fleetwood manager Joey Barton has denied being “hostile and aggressive” towards rival manager Daniel Stendel minutes before the then-Barnsley boss was injured in the tunnel following a match.
Barton, 39, was giving evidence at his trial at Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday, where he denies assaulting ex-Tykes boss Mr Stendel following his Fleetwood team’s 4-2 defeat to the South Yorkshire club in April 2019.
A jury has been shown footage of the handshake between the two managers at the end of the League One match at Barnsley’s Oakwell stadium.
Barton agreed that he is captured saying “stop being such a c***” to Mr Stendel.
Asked by Ian Goldsack, prosecuting, whether this was “hostile and aggressive”, the defendant said: “No”.
He told the jury that before the mobile phone footage starts, he had gone over to Mr Stendel to shake hands and congratulate him.
Barton said he told him that they needed to control their playing staff or they both might face fines from the league of up to £10,000.
He told the jury that the Barnsley manager told him that “he knows” and that is when he replied: “Stop being such a c***.”
Barton told the jury that “industrial language” was an “unfortunate” reality in football.
Asked by Mr Goldsack whether that meant he had to use it, the defendant said: “I swear in life more than should. My grandma tells me off for it all the time.”
Barton denied the handshake itself was extremely firm and aggressive.
He told the jury of six women and five men: “It was just a normal handshake.”
On Monday, Mr Stendel told the jury how he was walking down the tunnel after Barnsley’s victory when he was knocked over by a push from behind.
He said he was knocked to the floor and his face hit the tunnel structure, injuring his face.
Mr Stendel said he looked up to see Barton jogging away.
Barnsley performance analyst intern Nathan Kirby said he saw Barton run past him and shoulder barge Mr Stendel.
On Thursday, Barton was asked by his barrister Simon Csoka QC: “Were you aware of coming into contact with anyone as you passed through the tunnel?”
The defendant said: “No.”
Barton told the jury how his assistant manager was booked during the second half of the match following an incident between the coaching staff of the two sides around the dugouts.
He said he then went to speak to Mr Stendel in his technical area because the league had given managers a strong warning that they could face large fines if they did not control their coaching staff at pitchside.
But Barton denied there was any hostility between the two men during the match.
He also denied an allegation from Mr Stendel that he shook hands with him aggressively at the previous fixture between the two sides, in Fleetwood in September 2018.
Mr Goldsack said to Barton: “Isn’t the truth of the matter you were quite angry and quite upset at the end of this game?”
The defendant said: “No.”
Finishing his cross-examination, the prosecutor said to the defendant: “You took the opportunity in that tunnel to barge your way through and knocked over Mr Stendel quite deliberately.”
Barton replied: “No.”
The prosecutor went on: “You knew full well at the time that that’s what you’d done.”
Barton again said: “No.”
The defendant, who is now Bristol Rovers manager, denies one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Sporting glasses and moustache, he gave evidence standing in the witness box, wearing a brown suit over black polo neck jumper.