League One side Fleetwood Town stunned football fans on Wednesday with the announcement of Joey Barton as their new manager.
The controversial 35-year-old, who was suspended from all football-related activities in April 2017 after he was found to have placed 1,260 bets on matches over the course of 10 years, will replace John Sheridan in the hot seat this summer.
Barton’s suspension ends on June 1 after his punishment was reduced by five months on appeal, but nobody saw this move coming.
"I'm very excited by the challenge," the former Burnley midfielder was quoted as saying by BBC Sport. "It's a club I've known for a long time, and a chairman I already have a very good relationship with.
"My first job in management was always going to be a big decision and I'm delighted. I'm joining a club with big ambitions."
Barton is not expected to make any changes to the current backroom staff at the Highbury Stadium.
Fleetwood currently sit 14th in the League One table, having secured 54 points from 43 matches, but will be expected to push on next season under Barton’s management.
Bellamy's reaction to Barton's appointment
The appointment has raised plenty of eyebrows and the former Liverpool and Wales forward Craig Bellamy offered his opinion about the news on Sky Sports’ ’The Debate’ on Wednesday evening.
The outspoken 38-year-old, who is currently seeking a way into management, is surprised by the appointment and suggested that Barton may have benefitted from gaining experience coaching young players first.
“Obviously it isn’t coaching or management experience because he hasn’t had that,” Bellamy said when asked how Barton has landed this position. “Is he going off playing experience? What type of playing experience? I’m not too sure.
“He never struck me as a player I was overly impressed with watching. When we talk about Joey, we’re only ever talking about instances [misdemeanours]. We’re never talking about his footballing ability. But I think he was clever about that. We’re the ones that buy into it.”
Bellamy makes great point about coaching youngsters
He continued: “I look at it, just even in my own experiences, I was conscious of coaching. Conscious of my information, I’ve got it all in my head - sometimes it goes too quick, can I put over that information in a way players can understand?
“That’s why I work with younger kids. Straight away my learning curve was [big]. Can I use language? Tone of voice. How you speak and give information.
“If I raised my voice - even in training sessions - they all looked at me and froze. I didn’t want that, so tone of voice was key for me.”
Bellamy makes an interesting point here. He has experience of dealing with young footballers - how they react in certain situations, what makes them tick etc - and this will undoubtedly stand him in good stead when he finally becomes the head coach of a first team.
Barton has no such experience under his belt, so his appointment is undoubtedly a huge gamble.
“I’ve never heard anything of the sort that he wanted to become a manager or he was looking to go into that side of the game," Bellamy added. "I was very surprised.
"I can only talk about my own experience, I felt going into a younger age group, with the temperament I have as well, would serve me best in the long run.
"He hasn't done that, he's gone straight into full-time management. He knows more than me whether he's suited to it or not and that's what he wants to do straight away, but at the end of the day I hope he does well but at the same time this is a big step for both Fleetwood and for him.”
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