Barton appeared for a brief hearing at Minshull Street
Crown Court in Manchester to set a trial date where he will face charges of
assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Barton, dressed in jeans, trainers
and a dark blue shirt, spoke only to confirm his name and enter his not guilty
He is accused of attacking then team-mate Ousmane Dabo during a
training ground bust-up on May 1 this year while both were playing for
Richard Varden, prosecuting, said the earliest date a trial
could be held was June 30 next year.
He added: "I realise it seems a long
way away although it's a straightforward allegation, there is an additional
factor in that the defendant is a Premiership footballer."
Whilst footballers have landed themselves in court on numerous occasions in the past, I don't believe there has ever been an instance where a footballer who is a defendant potentially faces the prospect of former colleagues (who are still playing in the same league) in the witness box testifying against him.
For that reason in particular (if indeed it does happen as despite what they think of Barton, I don't think they would relish being dragged into court over this) this is something that I think is going to generate a lot of media interest when it does come to trial.