I like Joey Barton a lot more now that he isn’t playing for Newcastle.

He was a total liability if we’re honest for all but a small part of his time at St James Park.

For a significant transfer fee and massive wages, in return Newcastle got 68 league starts in over four years.

For most of his time on Tyneside, Joey Barton was either injured, not deemed good enough for the team, suspended, or in prison.

However, in more recent times Barton has been a great defender of Newcastle and a constant irritant to Sunderland fans, which along with his general less ridiculous behaviour off the pitch, means he has gone up in my estimation.

However, speaking on Radio Five Live last night (Monday), Joey Barton should really check his facts if he is going to make a specific point.

Talking about the two north east teams and their relegation credentials, Barton was quick to say that the big difference was that Sam Allardyce was sorting out the defence and concentrating on clean sheets.

As Barton points out, Newcastle and particularly their defence were enbarrassing at Stamford Bridge.

However, the former United player appears to have let himself be too taken with this weekend’s results – Newcastle shocking at Chelsea and Sunderland beating Manchester United.

Since Sam Allardyce arrived at Sunderland he has overseen 19 matches. In those 19 games his players have managed three clean sheets (last of those was 28 November 2015!) and shipped an ‘impressive’ 35 goals.

Meanwhile over on Tyneside, even taking into account Saturday’s game, in their last 19 matches Newcastle have managed four clean sheets and ‘only’ 34 goals conceded.

Yes, right at the bottom of the barrel, Newcastle fans can take a minute bit of satisfaction that whilst their defending is abysmal, Sunderland’s under Sam Allardyce is even worse.

Joey Barton speaking on Radio Five Live:

“Sam Allardyce has gone in and made defending his priority, getting the clean sheets and staying in games.

“This is the difference between Sunderland and Newcastle at this moment in time….

 “You looked at Newcastle against Chelsea….and it would be unfair on defending to call that defending.

“They have bought Jonjo Shelvey who is a decent player, Andros Townsend who is also a decent player, but they need defenders.