Joey Barton says that fans at top clubs are treated as though they have a disease.
The Fleetwood Town boss was speaking yesterday about the efforts his club are making to bring more supporters into Highbury and inspire younger generations.
Barton stressed the importance of the local community to Town, and contrasted this with leading Premier League clubs.
He said: “I want to have the schools down here to watch us train because I think there are great messages to see the hard work that goes into being a footballer.
“Everyone thinks these players come in, put their feet up, get a massage, have a game of footie, go home and play on their PlayStations.
“Those days are gone really. They didn’t really exist at the top level.
“There’s a bigger project here. It’s about the community of Fleetwood Town.
“We’re not Man City, we’re not Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal. We’re not those clubs – they’re massive clubs.
“Especially in the modern world now, with the Premier League players – it’s almost like the fans have got Ebola or something.
“They (the players) are not allowed anywhere near them. They’re so well pampered and protected from the people who ultimately support them.
“We don’t have that at Fleetwood. You can come and support them and actually fall back in love with being a football fan.”
Barton proceeded to point out the flaws of the modern game, highlighting the costs involved in supporting the leading clubs and buying replica kit.
He continued: “When you come into the stadium, after you’ve had to pay over the odds on these ticket websites, then you don’t get any access or the players just walk past you.
“I think we’ve got to be different and at our level we can be.
“Part of my remit is to build a successful football club that plays winning football and an attacking brand of football here, and part of that is helping to grow the fanbase as well.
“I’d come and watch us on a Saturday because we’re an exciting team.
“If you’re a Fleetwood fan or if you don’t know who to support, then this team just don’t ever let you down. They just keep going.
“We don’t win every game but they leave everything on the pitch, and as a football fan I think you can really relate to that.”