Joey Barton wants to end promotion hopes – Send Sunderland fans home with ‘Tears in their eyes’
The presence of Joy Barton in League One was a major talking point for Sunderland fans last summer.
As the Mackems were relegated in rock bottom place for the second season in a row, the former Newcastle player was a surprising announcement as the new boss of Fleetwood Town.
When with Newcastle, Joey Barton was well up for the derby games and in the years since leaving St James Park has traded insults/’banter’ with Sunderland fans.
It was first blood to the ex-Newcastle player when Fleetwood came to Wearside in September, the minnows (Fleetwood…) taking the lead and unlucky to end up with only a point.
That was one of 19 draws Sunderland have had this season, which when you add three defeats, means they have failed to win exactly half (22) of their 44 League One matches.
Which brings us to tonight.
It must have been written in the stars, Sunderland visiting Joey Barton’s Fleetwood with their automatic promotion hopes hanging by a thread. They need to win both of their last two games and hope for a minor miracle to get in the top two.
Earlier this month (see below) Joey Barton wound Sunderland fans up by saying he would have easily got their club promoted if he had been in charge, such is the financial advantage they have over the other clubs.
Joey Barton declares that he is expecting a ‘friendly’ reception from the visiting fans tonight and in return wants to send them back to Wearside with ‘tears in their eyes.’
Could be a lively encounter…
Joey Barton speaking to the Blackpool Gazette:
“They will probably bring hordes down from the north-east. It’s a game that they have to win to have a chance of the automatic positions.
“Again, it’s a great occasion for the players to test themselves, especially the younger players.
“It will be a full house, though I’m not sure what weather we will get but there’s a good chance it will be windy.
“There’s a great playing surface, playing against one of the better sides in the division. At the Stadium of Light we caused a lot of problems for large periods.
“You look at Fleetwood as a town and there are more people in Sunderland’s ground when they have a sell-out.
“We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“As a former Newcastle player, I expect to get a very ‘friendly’ reception.
“It would be very pleasing to send them back with tears in their eyes.”
The Mag – 5 April 2019:
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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