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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 30, 2006

Barton in hot water for baring his rear?

Joey Barton is facing more disciplinary trouble with Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce confirming Merseyside Police had made him aware of an incident involving the midfielder immediately after the 1-1 draw at Everton.

A former Everton schoolboy, Barton was celebrating in front of the City fans after Micah Richards' injury-time equaliser when he appeared to deliberately expose his backside to home supporters in the Park End of Goodison Park.

Barton was pulled away by goalkeeper Nicky Weaver before making his way off the pitch.

And while Pearce did not see the incident, he confirmed he had been approached by local police after the game.

'The police approached me afterwards to make me aware of what had happened,' said Pearce.

'I did not see it. But if anything did happen, we will look at it with an open mind and deal with it.

'I am sure the timing of our goal had a lot to do with any over-celebration. Maybe also there was the fact that one or two people have been saying things about our away form.'

Coming so soon after the furore surrounding Ben Thatcher's disgraceful challenge on Portsmouth's Pedro Mendes has subsided, the fresh controversy is the last thing City need.

Barton has previous bad experiences involving Everton, having punched a Toffees supporter in Thailand during last summer's pre-season tour which saw him sent back to England in disgrace.

The former England Under-21 international was also the subject of a club record fine when he stubbed a cigar out in the face of young team-mate Jamie Tandy during City's 2004 Christmas party.

He then went onto anger City fans by handing in transfer request on the eve of deadline day in January this year, only to subsequently sign a four-year contract during the close season.

With the police already involved, it seems only a matter of time before the Football Association launch their own inquiry, with a ban virtually certain should the case against Barton be proved.

The 23-year-old's post-match conduct certainly took the gloss of a hard-earned point for City, which halted a run of 10 defeats in their last 11 away games.

It appeared they were heading for another reverse as they struggled to haul back the lead Andrew Johnson had given Everton with his sixth goal of the campaign just before the break.

However, 55 seconds over the three minutes of injury time referee Andre Marriner had confirmed, Richards struck, seizing on the loose ball after Georgios Samaras had nodded Sylvain Distin's long ball into his path.

'I didn't think Micah played that well but he is always a handful in the box because he is such an impressive physical specimen,' said Pearce.

The result denied Everton second spot in the Premiership, although at least they were able to preserve their unbeaten run, with manager David Moyes refusing to condemn Marriner for the extra time added.

'There were quite a lot of substitutions, which is probably why he added the time on,' said the Scot.

'These things happen in football sometimes. We had a number of chances to get the second goal but we didn't manage it, which gave them the chance to put us under pressure in the final 10 minutes.'