Joey Barton has put Fleetwood Town on the map.
A lot of people might have thought it was simply a publicity stunt with next to no chance of success when he was appointed in his first managerial role – but despite relying only on loans and free transfer signings this summer, the former Newcastle player is doing remarkably well.
Fleetwood have had only one defeat in seven games and are in the play-off zone, sixth place at the minute.
Before yesterday’s match Joey Barton wound Sunderland fans up even further by suggesting Newcastle fans could be turning up to support Fleetwood.
Whether anybody could be actually bothered to do so, with Newcastle not having a game, is dubious – but after a game which Fleetwood could and should have won, Barton had one last Newcastle dig/joke.
Asked about how impressive it was that Sunderland had 29,000 at a League One game, Joey Barton replied that if it was Newcastle it would have been 30,000.
Joey Barton may have had a bit of a cult following when he was at Newcastle but they were a small minority. His disgraceful and selfish actions a factor in the club’s relegation and struggles, whilst a decent season in the Premier League after promotion was only partial redemption.
However, there is no denying that many more Newcastle fans have taken pleasure in Barton’s actions since leaving St James Park, particularly when it comes to winding up the Mackems.
You never know for sure which players will make the best managers, rarely do the best players make the transition successfully.
It would be very interesting in a few years time if Joey Barton did build on these very early days in his managerial career, then ended up in the Premier League.
Joey Barton was impressed with having 474 travelling Fleetwood fans, no wonder when the small club are only getting gates of three thousand at home after promotion. Who knows just how many Newcastle fans, if any, were there giving them a hand.
Joey Barton after drawing 1-1 at Sunderland:
“I said in the build-up that I thought we were the better side and anyone who was here today, just watch it back.
“We had the best chances, a penalty, good save by the keeper.
“It was a fantastic occasion, it (Sunderland) is a good football club. I’ve enjoyed a healthy rivalry with them over the years, it’s sad to see them in the state they’ve been in but Jack Ross has done a fantastic job so far.
“I thought we were the better side, Sunderland fans will never admit it because of my connections, but they’ll go home knowing we’re a proper side.
“I told people it wasn’t David versus Goliath on the pitch and today, I was proven right.
“Anybody who came to the game today will go away knowing we were the better side and after taking the lead, we could have gone further ahead with our chances. Instead we go and concede a sloppy goal from our point of view.
“We loved having the fans here today. The players were definitely buoyed on by that at the start of the game and when they looked right up there in the clouds, they could hear them loud and clear, even when outnumbered.
“This is massive for us and if they start believing like they did at home to Bradford City last week, it is really huge for the team. The fans should be proud of themselves, and the team because to a man, they were outstanding.”