Bristol Rovers have announced the appointment of ex-England and Manchester City footballer Joey Barton as their new manager on a two-year contract, making him their third head coach of the season.
After the sacking of Paul Tisdale 12 days ago, Rovers were quick to find a replacement in Barton who recently had taken a short break from management after leaving Fleetwood Town in January.
Ironically, it was Barton’s Fleetwood Town who beat Bristol Rovers 4-1 in November, which resulted in the Gas’ first sacking of the season, Ben Garner.
The 38-year-old will join up with the current coaching staff which includes former Gloucester City goalkeeper, David Coles.
Speaking to the official Bristol Rovers website, Club President Wael Al-Qadi said, “We are delighted to welcome Joey to Bristol Rovers and look forward to working closely with him to progress our football club forward.
“Joey’s experience in the game is matched by his passion for coaching and delivering results, which made him a standout candidate for the role.
“He’s got a good knowledge of the league already thanks to his spell at Fleetwood and has shown his credentials at delivering results and getting the best out of the players he works with.”
Barton’s first and only management role in his career was with Fleetwood Town. He managed to get the Cod-Army to 11th in his first season in charge and improved on that the season after – finishing in the play-off spots. His side lost in the semi-finals to Wycombe Wanderers, who went on to win promotion to the Championship.
Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff played with Joey Barton towards the end of his 12-year spell at Burnley, and Duff only had positive things to say about his ex-teammate.
“He’s a good bloke,” said Duff.
“I know there’s controversy that follows him everywhere but he’s a football man, he knows his stuff and did a good job at Fleetwood.”
It will be a tough task for Barton with Rovers currently sitting two points above the relegation zone, however he has little time to prepare as his first game in charge is Tuesday night against fellow relegation battlers, Wigan Athletic.