Joey Barton is pure pantomime, he was as a player and he still is as a manager.
His side beat Ipswich 1-0 last night to move level on points with Sunderland, a side they drew with at the weekend. That’s put them firmly in the promotion frame in the third-tier.
The controversial manager is certainly impressing with his current club, but he can’t resist a sly dig at other sides, particularly Sunderland. Having played for Newcastle, Barton is a real villain on Wearside and is n’t afraid to play up to his role.
He claimed yesterday to be ‘box-office’, before lashing out at Sunderland fans who he claims ‘are not bothered’ about their team’.
“I’m box-office wherever I go,” said Barton, speaking to the Fleetwood Weekly News.
“Sunderland fans are not bothered about Sunderland. They don’t care about Sunderland. They were there to support Joey Barton. I’m so happy, I’m so grateful to them.
“There’s nothing worse than having nobody care about you. There’s nothing worse than having no attention. It’s actually horrible.”
He then claimed that being hated actually helps his side as they climb up the table, once again using Phil Parkinson’s men as an example.
“Why don’t they just ignore me? Leave me alone. I’d just go away and I wouldn’t have the same impact. But once they take me on, it’s like an endless energy source of inspiration.
“Like the Sunderland fans, it was like a solar panel, absorbing the energy thinking ‘I’m going to need this for the next 12 games’. Thanks for charging my batteries, thank you very much. I love it, I absolutely love the role.”
The Cod Army are unbeaten in ten matches and sit level on points with Sunderland, with a game in hand. They host Blackpool this weekend before another promotion six-pointer against Portsmouth next week.
Barton might be hated by many, but few can deny the excellent job he’s done with Fleetwood. He took over a club staring relegation in the face and has put them right into the mix at the top of the table.
Maybe deflecting attention from his players does help, who knows? One thing is for sure; he’s keen to keep having a little stab at Sunderland fans whenever he can. What price on those two meeting in the play-offs?