Newcastle United managing director Derek Llambias is refusing to be drawn into a war of words with Joey Barton after the former midfielder claimed he was forced out of St James' Park this summer.
The 29-year-old was placed on the transfer list and subsequently departed for Queens Park Rangers in August, following comments on Twitter criticising the club's board.
After slating the transfer policy of owner Mike Ashley, Barton has now revealed that the reason behind his departure from the north-east surrounded the club's bonus policy.
Barton said: "Newcastle, as a playing squad, were the only club in Premier League history not to sign a bonus sheet. It was unprecedented.
"We refused as a playing staff (to sign) as they tried to railroad the players into signing a bonus sheet.
"In their opinion we were paid workforce. They thought we were Sports Direct and we should do what the subordinates at Sports Direct do, forgetting they were dealing with 20-odd egos, probably 10 self-sufficient men in a position to make a number of different judgements."
"Myself and the bigger name players at the time advised the playing staff because we were head of the playing committee not to sign the bonus sheet and that filtered back to boardroom level.
"It's no coincidence that I was given away.
"It's all about power and control. They are running the football club and it's going really well for them at the minute but that's more a testament to the players and the fans, and also the manager (Alan Pardew). The manager has been different class."
"At Newcastle I couldn't take to the pitch and lie to the fans and be a part of it," he added.
"You are doing it for yourself, the fans and the football club but if you fundamentally despise everything that the owners stand for it is very difficult."
In a week that began with the shock announcement of the death of Toon favourite Gary Speed, Llambias says the club have bigger priorities than to enter into a war of words with Barton.
"In a week when one of Newcastle United's beloved footballers passed away, it is disappointing that once again Joey Barton makes the headlines, a statement read.
"It's also unfortunate that Joey chose to draw such a disparaging comparison between himself and employees of Sports Direct, who through hard work and dedication are the recipients of one of the most generous bonus schemes in UK retailing.
"However, in this week of all weeks we really do not wish to engage in a public war of words with Joey Barton. Our legal advisers are dealing with the matter now. We would encourage Joey to concentrate on his football at Queens Park Rangers. Our full attention this week remains firmly with the family and friends of Gary Speed."
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