Joey Barton cleared of assaulting Daniel Stendel in stadium tunnel

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Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Joey Barton, who at the time was managing Fleetwood Town, had denied assault occasioning actual bodily harm

Football manager Joey Barton has been found not guilty of attacking a rival after a match.

Mr Barton, 39, had denied pushing over the then Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel in the tunnel at the Oakwell stadium after a match in April 2019.

Mr Stendel suffered facial injuries, damage to a tooth and bruising.

The Bristol Rovers boss was cleared of one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

As he left court, Mr Barton said: "I think the verdict speaks for itself."

Asked how he felt, he replied: "Better than I did before."

During the week-long trial Mr Stendel said he was walking down the tunnel in the corner of Barnsley's Oakwell Stadium after his side's 4-2 victory against Fleetwood Town.

He said he had been knocked over by a push from behind, causing him to hit his face on the metal structure.

Video footage shown during the trial showed Mr Stendel entering the tunnel followed by Mr Barton shortly afterwards.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Daniel Stendel was the Barnsley manager at the time

In his evidence, Mr Barton denied being hostile or aggressive towards his opposite number and stated he did not recall coming into contact with anyone in the tunnel.

He admitted using "industrial language" during a post-match handshake with Mr Stendel, but denied there were tensions between them during the match.

Nathan Kirby, Barnsley performance analyst intern, had given evidence that he saw Mr Barton run past him and "shoulder-barge" Mr Stendel.

However, Mr Barton's barrister Simon Csoka QC said in his closing speech that even if it had been an accident it was quite possible for Mr Barton to have been unaware of what happened.

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