Joey Barton’s first words as former Burnley player named Bristol Rovers manager

Joey Barton has been named as the new manager of League One strugglers Bristol Rovers.

The 38-year-old has signed a contract until 2023 and arrives having been axed by fellow third tier side Fleetwood Town earlier in the season.

Barton, who had two successful spells as a player with Burnley, takes over a club mired in a relegation battle, sitting two points and two places clear of the bottom four.

The 38-year-old succeeds Paul Tisdale in charge after he was sacked on February 10, with the Gas mired in a relegation battle. They sit two points clear and two places clear of League One’s bottom four in 19th place.

And he wants to galvanise the club and prove any doubters wrong.

Barton has been a polarising figure throughout his career and some Bristol Rovers fans have voiced concerns but the new manager wants to let his actions do the talking.

“I think it’s better that action does it rather than words,” he said to Bristol Live.

“Maybe nothing I can say at the moment will change their mind, but if we go and put a good team together and move the club where we want to move it, naturally they will be more receptive to me.

“But I understand. I’ve polarised people since I was in high school, so it’s natural when I come into anything, either being signed as a player or coming to the job as a manager, that there is a bit of scepticism.

“That’s healthy and it keeps you on your toes, and with a point to prove, but also I was shocked and overwhelmed by the amount of support. I’d seen all the tweets to Wael (Al-Qadi) and I’d seen all the tweets to me about coming to take the job.

Get involved in our Burnley comments section

Burnley fans, we want you to have your say.

On every article, barring any sensitive stories, we will have comments turned on, enabling fans the opportunity to offer their thoughts on all things Clarets.

Our Burnley writer Alex James will respond to fans’ views in the comments section and we’d like you to have your own conversations in there too.

We want to foster a community of fans who have questions they want answers to, points they wish to raise on key topics and find people who want to kick off conversations with other supporters, as well as us as journalists.

In order to get involved, you will need to sign up by creating an account using your preferred email address and you can comment away. You can access the comments by scrolling to the bottom of the article, or by clicking on the ‘comments section’ box at the top of any story (like this example) to auto-scroll down the page.

We hope to see you there, commenting away!

“It felt like 98 per cent positive, and obviously I did see some people who didn’t want me. I can take an opinion on someone that is not positive, but I always remain open and if they show via action they deserve support.

“This is their football club. I’m only a custodian, I’m here to drive standards in a short period, whether that’s one, two, five, six or seven years, who knows, but it’s not my football club.

“I’m here to give everything I’ve got and my staff and the players will be the same.

“Hopefully those Rovers fans will be prepared to give us the time of day, give us an opportunity to show what we’re about and make that judgement.

“I totally understand it, but I’m confident with our actions that they will be believers before my tenure here is out.”

Barton added: “It’s our job to galvanise this army, this fanbase. It’s not their job to get behind the team, it’s our job to make them believe, and I’m convinced, with the talent we’ve got, with hard work and dedication on the training pitch, we’ll mobilise this army and get the blue side of the city rocking.”

Lancs Live – Home