Joey Barton joins QPR from Newcastle United

Joey Barton has admitted he did not want to leave Newcastle United but has spoken of his excitement at joining Queens Park Rangers.

Barton signed a four-year deal on Friday and could make his QPR debut against his old club on 12 September.

Asked if he would rather have stayed at Newcastle, Barton, 28, said: "I think everyone knew that.

"It is disappointing times and it's sad when Newcastle's best players are leaving to go elsewhere."

Barton was keen to pay tribute to the Newcastle fans.

"I've an incredibly special relationship with the Geordie nation," he added.

"Unfortunately they weren't the decision makers at the football club."

Barton had joined the Magpies from Manchester City for £5.8m in 2007 and was in the final year of his contract at St James' Park.

He was made available this summer on a free transfer after using Twitter to criticise the club's transfer policy.

Barton told BBC Sport he did not "say things for effect or to rock the boat".

"I think footballers are massively well placed to make decisions because they are in the heat of the battle," he said.

"For me the most important thing is, if someone asks me a question, I tell them the truth.

"For some people they don't want people to know the truth.

"Ultimately people pay to come and watch the football. They don't come and watch how people run the football club. We are the performers, the artists."

On moving to QPR, Barton said: "My decision was to join an exciting emerging football club that has very exciting short-term ideas and really exciting long-term ideas.

"I'm in the prime of my career and to make a move of this magnitude you have to be excited.

"I had to make decision in the best interests of myself and my footballing career.

"I felt it was a fantastic opportunity and one I had to take."

Barton did not sign in time to make his debut against Wigan on Saturday, so will have to wait until the meeting with his former employers to don a Hoops shirt for the first time.

On that clash, he added: "There is an important game at Wigan first and foremost then we will start concentrating on the Newcastle game after that.

"It will be strange. I have still got a lot of friends at the football club and spent four and a half happy years there.

"It will be difficult but that is football."

QPR manager Neil Warnock said Barton's arrival will be key to the club's hopes this season.

"We've got a very, very good player on our hands," he stated.

"He's very enthusiastic. People will say one or two things about him, but they've said stuff about me in the past too, so I won't worry about that.

"He's a lot better than people give him credit for. Hopefully we can harness all his positive characteristics and get the best out of him."