Former Premier League star Joey Barton was “excited” before launching a tunnel attack on a rival manager whom he had told “not to celebrate his goals so much,” a court heard.
Barton, who was the manager of Fleetwood Town at the time, is accused of attacking then Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel after a game in April 2019.
The 38-year-old is said to have pushed Mr. Stendel into the tunnel of Oakwell Stadium in Barnsley after the team met in League One, which the home side won 4-2.
The force of the blow, the prosecution said, caused the German manager to fall forward and crash into a tunnel structure, sustaining mouth injuries including a shattered tooth and nerve damage.
Ian Goldsack, prosecutor, told Sheffield Crown Court that Barton had moved closer to Stendel’s technical department and although his English is limited, he believed the defendant had told him not to celebrate his goals so much and appeared “angry and confrontational”.
At the end of the game, the two had shaken hands, but Barton was “still very excited and used swear words” against Mr. Stendel, said Mr. Goldsack.
The court was informed that the defendant walked past several people while walking through the tunnel and entered the tunnel behind him.
Joey Barton is pictured left as he arrives at Sheffield Crown Court where he is charged with actually inflicting assault on then Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel (right) in April 2019
Mr. Goldsack added: “Mr. Stendel felt a push from behind and fell forward and hit the tunnel construction with his face. He was thrown to the ground and when he looked up he saw the defendant walking past him. He believed he was responsible for what happened. ‘
The prosecutor outlined tension between the two teams at an earlier game earlier in the same season, also won by Barnsley.
He told the jury: “Football is a sport that can inspire great passion. Obviously this game had some history, with some degree of antagonism on the previous occasion.
‘And Mr. Barton’s mood was perhaps not improved by that previous defeat; by sending a player off shortly after it looked like Fleetwood might get back into play; from Barnsley, who extended his lead with a third goal, leading to provocative celebrations from Christopher Stern, Barnsley’s first-team coach; and by the defeat that came with the final whistle. ‘
Mr. Goldsack added: “Perhaps his anger hadn’t let up when they were exchanged on the field shortly before. Maybe the temptation was too great.
“But prosecutors say you can be sure that it was Mr. Barton whose actions were responsible for Mr. Stendal’s loss of balance.
He showed the jury photos of injuries Daniel Stendel sustained and said the most severe were to his mouth, including an upper right incisor pulled from the bone with some associated nerve damage.
The prosecutor said the jury had to decide whether Mr. Stendel fell forward in this tunnel area, collided with the tunnel structure and suffered these injuries as a result of an unlawful attack, and if he did, whether it was Mr. Barton responsible for that attack responsible for.
The prosecutor told Sheffield Crown Court that it was “unlikely” that Mr Stendel had sustained injuries tantamount to actual bodily harm and that the question was whether Mr Stendel fell forward as a result of an unlawful attack, and if so whether Barton was responsible.
He said there was “fraying and high temperatures” between the respective shelters during the second leg between the two sides last September.
Barnsley First Team Coach, Christopher Stern, was booked by the referee for protesting an incident on the field, and after the game, Barton shook hands with Mr. Stendel “extremely hard and for a prolonged period” in what they deemed “intimidating ‘looked at gesture.’
2019: Barnsley’s Daniel Stendel shakes hands with Fleetwood manager Joey Barton full-time
In the second game, Mr Goldsack said that an exuberant goal celebration from Barnsley coach Christopher Stern “upset” the Fleetwood bench.
Mr Goldsack said Barton was getting closer to Stendel’s technical side, and although his English is limited, he believed the defendant told him not to celebrate his goals so much.
Mr Stendel went to clap the home fans before going down the tunnel, the court was told.
Mr. Goldsack said: “As Mr. Stendel went through the tunnel, the defendant ran past a row of people who were crowding the tunnel.
“Herr Stendel felt a push from behind, fell forward and hit part of the tunnel with his face.
“He was thrown to the ground, but looked up to see Mr. Barton walking past him, believing he was responsible.
‘Mr. Barton did not apologize or do anything to admit what happened.’
Mr. Goldsack said the only other witness to the attack was Barnsley First Team Performance Analyst’s intern Nathan Kirby, who saw Barton push Mr. Stendel from behind.
“As stated by Mr Kirby, it was a deliberate act performed with enough force to throw someone off balance, which of course is exactly what happened,” he said.
The court was shown video footage of the game, showing Barton in an angry exchange with Mr Stendel at the end of the game.
Mr. Stendel enters the tunnel in front of Barton, who walks down it and snakes around players and staff.
Then the tunnel wobbles and a few moments later you can see Mr. Stendel helping away with a bloody face.
The incident then sparked an angry confrontation between rival players and staff inside.
Barton, who now heads Bristol Rovers, has pleaded guilty to assault charges.
The court heard that when he was arrested by the police, he had made a prepared statement denying having assaulted or assaulted Mr. Stendel, although he accepted that he had used “industrial language” on the line of contact.
He replied “no comment” to all questions asked.
Former England international Barton retired from playing in 2018 and his former clubs include Manchester City, Newcastle and Burnley.
He joined Fleetwood Town in July 2018, his first executive position, but left the club in January.
The following month he was appointed manager of the Bristol Rovers, but could not prevent the relegation of his club to the second division.
The process is said to take five days.