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Ex-Bristol Rovers player takes aim at Joey Barton

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Gillingham defender Max Ehmer has launched a scathing attack on old boss Joey Barton, as he opens up on the latter stages of his career at Bristol Rovers with Kent Online.

29-year-old Ehmer was part of a Bristol Rovers side who suffered relegation to the fourth tier of English football – but spent the second half last season out with a shoulder injury after falling in training.

With Barton taking over the same month, he never really saw the best of the 29-year-old – but the club decided to terminate his contract last week and Ehmer recently signed a deal to stay in League One with Steve Evans’ Gillingham.

Although Ehmer is happy to be rejoining the Gills after leaving for Rovers last summer on a free transfer, he also had plenty to say about former boss Barton.

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In an interview with Kent Online, he said: “I’m not going to go too much in depth with it, but it was strange,”

“From how he was speaking to me when he first came in to what he came out and said was odd.

“It was almost like I got scapegoated.

“How can you blame someone who’s injured when you first come in, missed a couple of weeks with my shoulder and then I played 45 minutes at Hull and 45 minutes at Plymouth and somehow it’s all my fault?

“At the end of the day some people just need to look at themselves rather than blaming others I suppose.”

This is a stunning attack on a man who attracted much controversy during his playing career – but after Barton questioned why the 29-year-old was given the Bristol Rovers armband in a public setting – the defender is eager to get his side of the story out as well and will now start a new chapter back at the Priestfield Stadium.

Continuing on the subject of Barton and his injuries struggles in recent months, Ehmer continued: “He came for me a couple of times in meetings but he was always positive, that’s what made it even more strange,” said the 29-year-old.

“The day he released the article was the day he agreed to let me get my shoulder operated on, so then I saw all the reports saying I wasn’t committed to it, but my shoulder had no ligaments in it, so I think I had to get it done regardless.

“I was trying to play on, trying to help the club and it got to a point where I couldn’t, and he agreed to let me get it done.”

While the defender signs on with a Gillingham side who finished 10th in the third tier last season, Bristol Rovers are now preparing for life in the fourth tier after finishing bottom of League One last season.

The Verdict:

Although it’s no surprise to see Ehmer criticise the 38-year-old after the manager shamed him publicly over the captaincy role, this spat could be a major distraction for Joey Barton and the board’s confidence in him as he gets his side ready for League Two action.

And perhaps the 29-year-old’s contract termination at the Memorial Ground shouldn’t have been any surprise, with Barton taking full control of the club’s transfer business from former Director of Football Tommy Widdrington this summer, but Ehmer’s departure seems to have been the best move for all parties.

Whether the defender’s comments will act as a deterrent to some players who could work under the Bristol Rovers manager in the future remains to be seen, but these comments don’t reflect well on Barton and he may seek to reply with pre-season yet to get underway.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Ex-Bristol Rovers player takes aim at Joey Barton

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