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Joey Barton declares that if he was Sunderland manager they would no longer be in League One

12 months ago
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Credit to Joey Barton for the job he has done this season at Fleetwood Town.

A lot of people expected him to fail and/or make headlines for all the wrong reasons with his behaviour.

With seven games to go Fleetwood still have a very outside chance of the play-offs, eight points adrift with a game in hand.

However, they are only two points short of last season’s total and currently in tenth, look sure to finish higher than last season’s fourteenth in League One.

The former Newcastle United midfielder has largely let his team do the talking but now in the final stretch he has given a very honest, slightly provocative interview.

Joey Barton declaring ‘…let’s be honest, if I had Sunderland’s budget I’d have them up by this point.’

In his first season as a manager, pointing out the differences in financial terms.

On Thursday for example, figures were released showing how much all clubs in England had paid to agents in the past two transfer windows, Newcastle were 12th highest in the Premier League with over £8.8m, within a ridiculous overall PL total of over £260m.

The League One figures showed Fleetwood Town had paid out £183,356 to agents, whilst Sunderland had shelled out £2,873,033. In actual fact, Sunderland paying more to agents than the other 23 League One clubs combined.

Meanwhile, If Joey Barton’s team can go on a bit of a run and get close to the play-offs, it will make for a very interesting second last game of the season, when Fleetwood host Sunderland.

Joey Barton asked by Fleetwood Today, if in the summer he would have taken tenth place now and only eight points off the play-offs with a game in hand:

“No, I thought we could win the league. I think I can win everything.

“I still think we can win the last seven games and get in the play-offs.

“I won’t stop believing that until it is mathematically not possible. That is my outlook to life. It is what made me the player I was.

“If I listened to other people or set my bar relatively low, I would not have played at the level I did. As a coach and a manager, I set the bar as high as I possibly can.

“Sometimes when you make a bold claim and are not able to back it up, then it can cause people to give you a little bit of stick. But on the flipside, you have to believe in yourself, and believe in what you are doing and where you are going.

“If we do not get there this year, then I will set everything in my mind to getting there next year.

“People forget I came into this job having never coached before. I didn’t know League One. I’d never played in this league.

“I did not know how to build a team or set up a team to win promotion.

“We have emptied a lot of people out of the building who we did not think had the right psychology and the right talent to get us where we need to go. On the flipside, we have not been able to recruit everybody we would want in the building. 

“We have some really key components already here with us. I think that is what has emerged this season whether or not we are successful and get promoted. That is for a select few. There are only so many that can do that.

“It is two (up) automatic and one by the play-offs. Everyone judges those sides as being successful but, let’s be honest, if I had Sunderland’s budget I’d have them up by this point.

“Look at Portsmouth, who played at Wembley on Sunday with 85,000 in the stadium. It says a lot about what the clubs we are playing against have got on us.

“They have 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 years tradition, huge supporter bases and huge financial powers compared to clubs like us.

“It is a very competitive division. Look at some of the sides we had in there: Luton, Portsmouth, Sunderland and Barnsley – four teams who have only lost single-figure games. Charlton are very close in behind that.

“We have got to keep professional because in this game – as the table shows – if you are not moving forwards you can very quickly move backwards.”

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