Alan Shearer has denied ruling Newcastle with a rod of iron despite his no-nonsense treatment of serial offender Joey Barton.
The former Magpies skipper has earned wholehearted applause for his decision to ban the 26-year-old midfielder from the training ground until further notice following his response to a dressing down over his sending-off at Liverpool on Sunday.
Shearer said: "It's not a rigid disciplinary system. People get the perception that I have come in and I am wielding an iron rod - that's not the case."
Barton is suspended for the final three games of the season anyway, but Shearer's order to stay away sent out a message he is in charge and things will be done his way.
It also emerged this week the interim manager has increased fines for late-comers, but he insists he has not instigated a harsh new system of rules and regulations around the club's Darlsey Park training headquarters.
"Yes, I have increased the fines system that was already in place, but I am just asking - or I am demanding - people be in on time for work," he added.
"All I have asked is for people to be in on time at 10am - at 10am. I don't think that's too much to ask. Do you?"
That, of course, will have little relevance to Barton, who currently finds himself persona non grata with the club which decided not to dispense with his services when he was sentenced to six months in jail for common assault and affray, but seems likely to do so now.
Shearer has simply dismissed the former Manchester City player from his mind as he concentrates on preparations for Monday night's derby clash with Middlesbrough, with both clubs fighting for their Barclays Premier League lives.
Asked about the Barton saga, Shearer said: "Joey has been suspended until further notice. The club want to look at a few things and then they will make another statement or comment when the time is right. But other than that, there are far more important things to talk about than what has gone on this week."
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