Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton compares teaching a dog not to poo on a carpet to eradicating bad behviour in football
Joey Barton revealed the key criteria in his recruitment policy and squad as Fleetwood boss is simple: have the right attitude or get out of Town.
Barton made keeper Paul Jones his 10th signing of the summer and says one of the biggest lessons he has learned during his career as a footballer is that it is important to have harmony in the building.
Now as he hangs up his boots and prepares for his first league game as a manager when Town host AFC Wimbledon in League One on Saturday, the ex-Burnley man says he has met all of his new signings and assessed if they will be the right fit.
One of those new boys – Rangers loan man Jason Holt – will miss the opener due to suspension while striker Chris Long and midfielder James Wallace are both injury doubts.
Speaking about recruitment Barton says it is simple.
He said: “Everybody that has come into the club has contributed positively to what we are trying to do.
“We spoke before we came in about recruiting good players but also what I have found in football is that it is very important to have harmony in the building.
“We have made a big point on recruiting on attitude.
“It was very important we recruited on that.
“That meant I had to go and sit down with everyone we had signed, look them in the eye and speak to them about what was expected from them at this football club and what would be the demands put on them.
“Not only as a player but as a person or a human being because ultimately we will spend more time with this set of people than we will with our own families over the next eight or nine months.
“But we have a no (bad attitude) policy, if you are going to have a (bad attitude) you are not for us, don’t bother coming in.
“If you don’t want to have a (bad attitude) and you want to be a part of a group we will have you all day.”
But it is not just newcomers but the players inside the building that Barton has assessed and says that anyone who does not want to be a part of what they are trying to achieve at Fleetwood Town this term is free to leave.
Barton says he learned from his time at Burnley, a club that have risen from the Championship to European competition in the last decade under Sean Dyche, that attitude is important.
And the Town boss likened getting rid of bad habits to toilet training a dog.
He said: “You get a few over the course of the last six weeks who have got behavioural patterns from the time that has gone before.
“You just have to explain to them, look, I don’t know what has gone on before but that is not the way it is going to be anymore.
“Somebody just needs communicating with.
“I always think if your dog comes in and poos on your carpet and you don’t tell it then the dog does not know any different.
“If you also reward the dog for pooing on the carpet, which managers can do with bad behaviour because they can turn a blind eye to it because someone is performing and scoring goals on the pitch, then everyone thinks it is OK to poo on the carpet and then before you know it your carpet is full of poo.
“You have just got to make sure you communicate from the start that this is not the way it is going to be.
“Maybe that has happened before but you have to teach people that there is a different process in place.
“I know the process works because I have seen it work at Burnley.
“I’ve seen it work at an incredible level, I’ve seen the group buy into it, they are playing in the Europa League and we have all seen the benefits of putting the protocols in place, people coming in and commenting and saying ‘great changing room’, ‘great atmosphere’. That reinforces that we are doing the right things here.
“People have to enjoy coming to work, if you enjoy coming to work you tend to get more out of yourself.
“You will go further and above and beyond for people that you care about than you will sometimes for yourself.
“All of us are motivated for ourselves, sometimes you go that extra bit because you do not want to let your team-mate down.
“If we get that and we think we have got that then that is the sign of a good team.”