Joey Barton has revealed he turned down a move to Portsmouth because he loved playing for Newcastle - and a disagreement over transfers led to Kevin Keegan's departure.
The Magpies had accepted a bid from Pompey for Barton in 2008, but the midfielder didn't want to leave the North East, nor did then manager Keegan want to sell him.
Barton, now manager at Fleetwood, stayed at Newcastle until 2011, and ahead of the Cod Army's trip to Fratton Park this weekend, the 36-year-old has opened up on the story.
“I would not say nearly signed, they tried to sell me to Portsmouth," Barton told the Blackpool Gazette.
“But I never went there and did a medical or anything like that but they told me what they might offer me in terms of financial package
“I did not really get down the line with them.
"The club accepted a bid but I did not want to leave Newcastle. That was kind of that.”
Keegan has claimed the Newcastle board attempted to move Barton on, something the latter confirmed in his pre-match press conference.
And Barton went on to explain why he wanted to stay in the North East.
“It was just because I loved playing for Newcastle," added Barton.
“It (Portsmouth) is a good club, in a nice part of the world on the south coast and I was settled where I was.
“Kevin Keegan was the manager at the time.
“He did not want to sell me it was people above who wanted to get rid of a few of us."
Barton also revealed that the club tried to sell striker Michael Owen against Keegan's will.
The Fleetwood boss believes that was the final straw for Keegan, who resigned as Newcastle manager in 2008 after just eight months in charge.
“I think Kevin ultimately ended up resigning over it or that was the straw that broke the camel’s back," said Barton.
“They tried to get rid of Michael Owen as well, it was probably more so getting rid of Michael Owen.
“That was something that was mooted.
“It was something in the pipeline without getting into the solid stages of signing or doing a medical.”