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Barton 'couldn't get better club' than Fleetwood says striker

Joey Barton
Joey Barton

Fleetwood Town head coach John Sheridan has warned his successor Joey Barton that management isn’t easy but striker Jon Parkin believes the ex-Burnley and Manchester City star couldn’t have a better club to start his coaching career.

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Fleetwood announced yesterday that Sheridan will leave Highbury when his 14-game deal expires in the summer and Barton will take over on June 2, upon completing his ban from football imposed last April for breach of FA betting rules.

Barton penned a three-year deal after rumours of his impending arrival had swirled around Highbury.

The 35-year-old visited Town’s Poolfoot Farm training complex this season, was spotted at matches and is a friend of chairman Andy Pilley, with whom Barton attended a match at Chorley FC the night before his appointment.

Sheridan was asked about the Barton rumours last month and replied: “Joey Barton has never managed, has he? I like listening to him on the radio but he has never managed. It is a difficult job.

“I know what my job is. I’m privileged to get the opportunity to manage Fleetwood and keep them in the league.”

Pilley first brought Barton to Fleetwood in 2012, when he trained with the then League Two outfit, who could not agree a loan deal with his club QPR.

York City striker Parkin also joined Town that year and the 36-year-old told The Gazette: “Joey is what he is – opinionated and educated, and people like that go into management. It will be interesting.”

Parkin played at Highbury under Micky Mellon and Graham Alexander, two young bosses who, like Barton, were given their first managerial job by Town chairman Pilley.

Parkin, back in Fleetwood this week as a coffin-bearer at club vice-president Ted Lowery’s funeral, said of the appointment : “We will have to wait and see. You never know until the season gets going.

“But he has gone to a very good football club, a very well run football club where the chairman will do anything to help. As a manager it cannot get much better than to start somewhere like that.

“But you never know. There are some fantastic players who have gone into management and not done well – look at Gianfranco Zola.

“Then there are managers who have done well who have not been great players, so being a good player does not always mean success in management.

And Parkin said he would welcome a crack at management himself.

With Barton ineligible to represent his new club in any official capacity until June. Town needed FA permission before releasing a brief statement from the next boss on their website.

Barton said: “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.

“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 2.”

Chairman Andy Pilley added: “This is a huge appointment for Fleetwood Town Football Club and one I’m very excited about.

“Joey 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”

“He’s someone I’ve known for a number of years and I’m convinced he’s ready to make the step into management, and that he will be a huge success.

“Joey will be able to build-on the fantastic work done by John Sheridan during the last couple of months, one he deserves huge credit for.

“John joined us on a short-term arrangement with the aim of keeping us in League One and I’m delighted he’s been able to do that.”