Pilley: Barton can bring new ideas and stability to Fleetwood

Andy Pilley
Andy Pilley
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Putting his faith in a young coach is nothing new to Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley, who hopes Joey Barton follows in the successful footsteps of Micky Mellon and Graham Alexander by helping Town to take the next step forward.

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Pilley gave that pair their first managerial roles and both repaid the Town owner’s faith with promotions, Mellon leading the Highbury club into the Football League and Alexander raising them to League One four years ago.

They have since had three head coaches, John Sheridan replacing Uwe Rosler in February and lifting Town clear of the relegation zone (15th-placed Town are still not mathematically safe after Rochdale gained a point against Plymouth last night, but they are six points clear of the bottom four with two to play).

Sheridan’s short-term contract will end after the final two games of the season against Peterborough and Walsall, Pilley instead entrusting the controversial Joey Barton with the task of taking Town to the next level in his first managerial post.

Pilley says he enjoys working with new managers and hopes Barton’s fresh ideas can propel Town to new heights.

The chairman said: “I’m not afraid to give young managers the opportunity. I think too many times the same names are regurgitated, and somebody gets sacked at one club and ends up going somewhere else.

“I think it is refreshing to see somebody who is bubbling with new ideas. I had great success with Mickey Mellon, who won us two promotions, and we won a promotion with Graham Alexander, who was first-class too.

“I enjoy working with young managers. I think they are absolutely chomping at the bit to get stuck in and achieve success. I find that really refreshing.”

Barton will assume his Fleetwood role on June 2, once he has served his ban for breaching FA betting rules, and Pilley hopes he will emulate Mellon and Alexander in terms of longevity as well as success.

Mellon was in charge for over four years and Alexander for nearly three, though Town have since changed head coach three times inside two years.

Having given Barton a three-year deal, Pilley said: “I do believe in stability, hence the length of the contract. I think stability in the infrastructure is a key ingredient of success, particularly with the head coach.

“I think it is massive if you have someone who stays for a period of time and that is how we like to do it.”