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article imageUK Soccer: Newcastle's Joey Barton denied entry visa into US

By Kev Hedges     Jul 13, 2011 in Sports
Newcastle United pair Joey Barton and Nile Ranger, have been told they will not be permitted to enter the United States for the club's pre-season tour.
The north-east Premiership club are scheduled to depart the UK on Sunday and will play three matches against US soccer clubs Sporting Kansas, Orlando City and Columbus Crew. Joey Barton was jailed in 2008 after admitting assault in Liverpool. Barton does have a chequered past and the player has been involved in a number of high-profile controversial incidents.
In May 2005 while driving through Liverpool he broke a 35-year-old pedestrian's leg and two years later he was arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage after an alleged argument with a taxi driver, a charge he was later cleared of. In August 2007 he pleaded not guilty to attacking a team-mate in a training ground bust-up. In December 2007 he was sentenced to six months in jail for affray and assault after being convicted of punching one man 20 times before an attack which left a teenage boy with broken teeth.
Team mate and striker Nile Ranger, has also been refused a visa by the US Embassy. He has a conviction for a street robbery committed in London's Muswell Hill when he was 15 and before his football career began. He served 11 weeks in a Young Offenders Institution. The 20-year-old forward was also photographed in a gangster-like pose holding a replica handgun.
The US Embassy has informed Barton that they expect five clean years of good behaviour. He has been free of any misbehaviour or convictions since 2008 and as he states on his Twitter account: "Visa story is correct, they told me am not allowed in until I have 5yrs without any trouble. 3yrs down, 2yrs to go.."
Barton and Ranger will now join the reserve squad who will travel to Holland for a mini-tour of their own.
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