He’s just signed Ross Wallace and Ryan Taylor, and Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton hailed the duo for putting their love of the game above financial reward.
READ MORE: Joey Barton's reaction to Fleetwood defeat
Winger Wallace, 33, was released by Championship club Sheffield Wednesday in the summer, when Barton’s ex-Newcastle United team-mate Taylor, 34, left Indian Super League side ATK.
Both have signed for Fleetwood after trials and Barton admitted he was embarrassed not to be able to offer higher wages to players of their pedigree.
But the Town boss said that after training with his group at Poolfoot Farm they decided the environment and the team he is building was worth more than money.
Wallace made his Town bow as a substitute in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Southend, though Taylor missed the match due to his need for international clearance and a stomach bug, which also ruled out James Husband and left many first-teamers feeling unwell.
Barton said of Wallace: “I thought he was very good. We are trying to get him up to speed in terms of training.
“He has missed a lot of pre-season and the game programme after that.
“But he has an awful lot of quality as we saw in flashes when Ross came on. He gives us that experience and quality, and starts pushing other people for places. We want competition in the squad.
“The most pleasing thing for me about Ross and Ryan is that they have shown an incredible desire to be part of this group.
“If I’m honest, the money we have offered them is not in keeping with their ability and standing within the game. But they have said, ‘Look, we don’t care about money. We are loving it and we want to be part of it’.
“That is really refreshing to hear when two top-level players are desperate to be part of your group.
“No doubt over the next few months they will be a massive part of our group.”
Barton has now made eight permanent signings, with no transfer fees involved and five of them over-30.
Barton says Town’s budget means they have to be creative in the free transfer market as he aims to build a culture at Highbury.
After Wallace’s 30-minute debut, Barton aims to boost his and Taylor’s game sharpness as Town prepare to face Barnsley on Saturday.
He said: “They both had really great careers and are still hungry to be part of a team.
“We have watched them for two weeks in training and they have enormous quality. We just need to get that bit of game sharpness and game time for them.
“We want competition for places and have got to do that on a budget.
“If you can’t have 10 of millions to spend, then you have to be creative in the free transfer market. We have done that.
“It is not me or the finances that are attracting them here – we have a really good group.
“We are building a really good culture and a really good place to work.
“Hence the lads want to come in for money I never thought they would accept.
“I almost felt embarrassed offering it to them because it is literally the last couple of scrapes of the financial barrel with Financial Fair Play.
“It is testament to them as professionals and as people that they want to be part of it.
“Look, we have got more than enough in our building to achieve what we want to achieve.
“Saturday was a poor day for us in terms of losing the game but we will be back stronger than ever.”