Bristol Rovers’ Joey Barton has aimed a friendly jibe at new Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson, jokingly suggesting that he knows more about football than the newly-appointed Robins boss.
Barton was announced as the new Rovers boss yesterday morning and Pearson was revealed as the permanent replacement for Dean Holden in the evening.
There is a very frosty relationship between Bristol’s two clubs and their fans but it seems the same cannot be said for their new respective managers.
The two first worked together when Barton was a player and Pearson was the Newcastle first-team coach and it appears they’ve held a close relationship since.
Speaking to Cari Davies from ITV News ahead of Pearson’s appointment, the Rovers boss discussed his relationship with the 57-year-old and it seems he couldn’t resist aiming a friendly jibe at the new manager of his rivals.
— Cari Davies (@CariDaviesTV) February 22, 2021
He said: “I texted him last night actually. It looks like that’s imminent about sharing a flat together or something like that. Nah, I’m only joking.
“He was obviously a first-team coach when I was at Newcastle. A great guy, someone that I became good friends with and someone that I’ve kept in touch with over the years on the coaching journey.
“Hopefully, at some point I get the chance to stand on the touchline in a competitive fixture and we get an opportunity to see what goes on tactically because I’ve always had Nige’s number whenever I’ve spoken to him. I know a lot more about football than he does, I think he’d be the first to admit that. I’m only joking he’s a great guy.”
The two Bristol sides have not met since City’s 2-1 win in the EFL Trophy back in 2013 and are currently one division apart, with the Bs3 club in the Championship and Rovers in League One.
A late play-off push seems off the cards for Barton, with the Gas 20 points off the top six, but the Robins may have concerns about relegation – having lost seven on the bounce and won just three of their last 14 league games.
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Barton’s jibe is clearly a friendly one and it shows a different side to the ex-QPR and Newcastle United midfielder than many will have seen before.
It’s fantastic for Bristol to have two massive characters taking charge at City and Rovers, while their friendship adds a new dynamic to what is usually a fierce rivalry.
Both appointments look like very strong ones and it’s going to be interesting to see how they begin their time with the two South West clubs.