Bacon’s Bites: Let the haters hate, but I wish Joey Barton all the best

New challenge for Joey Barton. But will it end in tears? Photo; PA

New challenge for Joey Barton. But will it end in tears? Photo; PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

MIKE BACON casts his eye over Fleetwood Town’s new manager... Joey Barton. And tells us who he would like to see as Ipswich Town boss.

Rangers' Joey Barton tackles Hamilton's Massimo Donati at the Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow. Photo: PA

Rangers' Joey Barton tackles Hamilton's Massimo Donati at the Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

I don’t know Joey Barton and I try not to judge people if that’s the case.

But do you know what?

I’d really like to see him succeed in his new role as Fleetwood Town boss.

Barton will become the new manager of the ‘Cod Army’ this summer and while the doom merchants roll their eyes...‘It will end in tears’, I hope not.

While today’s manager merry-go-round continues apace with the same old faces, linked with any job going, how refreshing that a club decides to think ‘out of the box’ - however odd that thinking may appear to the outside world.

Barton has a list of misdemeanours longer than your average wait for a pothole to be repaired, while most parents would likely suggest their offspring don’t need him as company on a night out.

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There’s plenty of material to draw opinion on Barton, much of it not especially healthy.

England's Joey Barton in action (right) during the friendly International match against Spain, at Ol

England's Joey Barton in action (right) during the friendly International match against Spain, at Old Trafford, Manchester in 2007. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Indeed, he cannot be excused for some of his behaviour, that includes stubbing out a cigarette in the eye of a young team-mate Jamie Tandy at a Christmas party. Tandy later sued Barton and won £65,000 in damages.

There are plenty of other episodes over a, let’s say a ‘colourful’ career.

However, Barton is not quite the fool many like to perceive him to be.

Yes, he has caused much of his own problems, but this is a man who has appeared on Question Time and was a guest of the Oxford Union four years ago, debating philosophy, football and social media.

Many of the students that night were left impressed, some even ‘inspired’ with his contribution.

While plenty of today’s footballers, many in the lower divisions, are happy to take their huge weekly wage packets, pay a bit of lip service to the fans, and quietly retreat into the sunset, Barton has shirked little.

Born in Huyton, on Merseyside, synonymous with some mean streets, the 35-year-old has actually been a decent player.

Fleetwood beat Leiston in the FA Cup in 2008. The 'Cod Army' will now be managed by Joey Barton next

Fleetwood beat Leiston in the FA Cup in 2008. The 'Cod Army' will now be managed by Joey Barton next season. Photo: ALEX FAIRFULL

He has more than 350 Football League appearances behind him and one England cap.

You don’t play that amount of football if you can’t play.

However, it continues to remain his off-field antics that claim the headlines, his latest being an 18-month suspension by the Football Association in April 2017 after he was found to have placed 1,260 bets on matches over 10 years.

His punishment was reduced by five months on appeal and ends on June 1 – then he takes over at Fleetwood.

“I’m very excited by the challenge,” Barton said.

“It’s a club I’ve known for a long time, and a chairman I already have a very good relationship with.”

That chairman, Andy Pilley, said: “The news signals a new chapter for Fleetwood Town which starts on June 2, and one which we are all excited about.”

Fleetwood have won six promotions in 10 seasons to climb from the ninth tier to League One.

I, along with many Leiston fans, remember a trip to the Fylde coast with fond memories when the Suffolk club played Fleetwood in an FA Cup replay, in 2008. Leiston lost 0-2 after a 0-0 draw at Victory Road.

But back to Barton.

A man who has been to prison, serving 77 days in 2008, after being charged with common assault and affray in Liverpool City Centre, but is so well thought of by Burnley boss Sean Dyche that he welcomed him back to Turf Moor as the Clarets headed towards the Premier League, will continue to divide.

They say people never change their spots, but we all know that’s not the case.

Barton has grown up from the angry young man that has so nearly brought him his complete downfall, to a manager, with his own office, budgets and responsibilities.

While many ex-footballers, now pundits, talk the talk, Barton is at least prepared to walk the walk.

It may not be pretty, but it sure as hell won’t be dull – Fleetwood Town and their fans could be in for quite some ride.

And do you know what? I wish them, and Joey Barton, all the best.

MORE: Youth football. No Hunger In Paradise

Are you enjoying this lovely weather?

It’s been an awful last few months and sport has been badly affected.

Indeed some football clubs didn’t play a match for nearly three months over Christmas and into the New Year.

Speedway, cricket, horse racing, it’s all been affected.

So, I don’t want to hear any of this, ‘it’s too hot’ rubbish.

You can keep your Beasts from the East as far as I’m concerned.

Plus, when the sun shines, everyone seems happier!

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