Joey Barton has revealed that a breakdown in trust between himself and Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley led to his departure from the Cod Army.
Barton’s departure from the Lancashire outfit was somewhat of a surprise, with the club sitting in 10th position in League One and not too far off the play offs.
The former Manchester City midfielder became a manager in the summer of 2018 with Fleetwood, but he was already involved in controversy before the end of his first full season in charge after an alleged incident at Oakwell with then-Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel.
Barton was charged with actual bodily harm on the German but he pleaded not guilty – with Pilley sticking by him in the aftermath.
He guided Fleetwood to a play-off place last season but they collapsed against eventual promotion winners Wycombe Wanderers, and it appears that it was following that loss that the cracks started to appear.
Barton ended up leaving the club last month and he’s told all about the departure on Robbie Fowler’s podcast, and he believes the attempted meddling of chairman Pilley in team selections and handling of certain financial situations made his position untenable.
Quiz: Did each of these 18 ex-Fleetwood Town players ever score a goal at Highbury?
“He (Pilley) wanted to get promoted using the younger players and he wanted to put Alex Cairns (who had let in six goals in the two play off legs v Wycombe) back in goal,” Barton told Fowler on the podcast.
“I brought a number one in (Joel Coleman) and he injured his hamstring. I brought a number two in (Jayson Leutwiler) and he ended up being number one
“He told me he wasn’t going to renew Jayson Leutwiler’s contract and he’d done superbly. I said I’d pay him out of my own money. He (Pilley) said no and I knew at that point he wanted to dictate the team.
‘There became a disconnect and it was to do with him dictating things to me.”
Barton also revealed – per The Sun – that he was paying for his own backroom staff out of his own pocket, and a transfer embargo imposed on the club before the January transfer window meant that Barton wasn’t going to be able to make any incomings.
And further alleged comments from Pilley wanting to select certain players led to Barton resigning.
“We had a very frank and amicable conversation and I thought we needed to shuffle the deck and get fresh impetus,” Barton continued.
“With two big egos, I said one of us is going to be wrong between now and the end of the season.
“I just didn’t want it to end sourly so I said: ‘Let’s shake hands and part ways as amicably as possible’.”
If what Barton is saying is true, then you can understand why he felt like he couldn’t carry on as manager.
It can’t be easy being a manager when it feels like someone is interfering with your job, and even though Pilley pays the bills, there should probably be a clear structure that should be adhered to.
Fall-outs with players probably didn’t help Barton (he admitted that he’d ‘had enough’ of Ched Evans’ performances on the pitch and wanted rid) but it looks like there was another party in the wrong at the same time.