Controversial character Joey Barton has made his move into management.
Barton, 35, will take charge of English third-tier club Fleetwood Town from June 2, as the former Manchester City, Newcastle United, QPR, Glasgow Rangers and Burnley midfielder appears to have called time on his playing career following a ban for breaking soccer gambling rules when playing in Scotland in 2016.
In a statement released on Wednesday Barton had the following to say after signing a three-year contract with the League One club in midtable but having hopes of promotion to the Championship.
“I’m very excited by the challenge and the project at Fleetwood Town. It’s a club I’ve known for a long time, and a chairman I already have a very good relationship with,” Barton said. “My first job in management was always going to be a big decision for me and I’m delighted with the opportunity ahead, I’m joining a club with big ambitions. I’m looking forward to getting started on June 2nd.”
Chairman and owner Andy Pilley added that Barton “not only brings a host of experience and profile, but I also feel he has the potential to become one of the best in the new generation of coaches.”
If you’ve heard of Fleetwood before, it’s probably because of Jamie Vardy. That’s where he made his name before moving onto Leicester and the rest is history. For a lower-tier team, Fleetwood are known to pay well and are bankrolled by Pilley’s energy company, BES Utilities.
Barton’s off-the-field problems have been well-documented over the years with a prison sentence for an assault in the street, plus training ground fights, putting cigarettes out on teammates and his fiery demeanor getting him in plenty of trouble on and off the pitch.
That said, with his ban from soccer-related activities now over he has moved quickly to get back in the game and what is there to stop him playing for Fleetwood Town in League One next season?
Remember: Barton was playing for Burnley in the PL last season before his gambling ban saw his contract with the Clarets terminated.
You didn’t think that Barton would just disappear and stick to some media appearances on radio in the UK, did you?