Gillingham stalwart Max Ehmer is not surprised Joey Barton went into coaching and was full of praise for his former teammate ahead of the Gills visit to Fleetwood at the weekend.
Gillingham travel north in comfortable mid-table after last week’s hard-fought 1-0 victory over Sunderland to take on Barton’s men who have an excellent shot of finishing in the playoffs after a decent start to the campaign which sees them in ninth.
Ehmer was a youngster breaking into the QPR first team when he first came across Barton, who helped him settle and provided a role model for the defender.
Speaking to Kent Online, Ehmer had nothing but good things to say about a man who has courted controversy throughout his career. He said: ‘I used to sit next to him in the changing room when I got moved up to the first team there, and he looked after me.’
‘He is a very intelligent guy. He has got a knowledge about everything, but when it came to the football side of it, he was so detailed in everything he did. When he mentioned he was getting into coaching, I knew he would be a success.’
‘He’s a funny character, obviously very opinionated, but I can’t say a bad word about him. I think he has had a bad press, but he has always been good to me.’
He showed me the ropes, he had his opinions on things, which was funny to listen to, and I still keep in touch with him.
He was always really good for me, a funny guy, and a proper, good professional. He would do things correctly, and without him telling me what to do, he showed me what to do – a top guy.’
Ehmer made only one substitute appearance the Hoops and spent time on loan at Yeovil, Preston, Stevenage, and Carlisle before signing a permanent deal at Priestfield in 2015 after a successful initial loan spell.
He’s clocked up over two hundred outings for the Gills and been a vital member of a defence which has kept five clean sheets on the bounce at home. It is form they will be looking to take to the Fylde coast in what promises to be a tough game for both teams in which Ehmer will be desperate to put one over his former colleague. He said: ‘It’s another great test for us on Saturday, with Fleetwood away and it will be a hard game.’
Interesting comments from Ehmer, Barton does quite rightly at times get a bad press, but many former teammates speak very highly of him.
His spell at Fleetwood shows players want to play for him, and it will be a tough ask for the Gills to get a positive result.
However, their recent form is decent, and we feel they could well come home with a point on Saturday.