Eastham joins up for Joey’s Fleetwood Town ‘generals’ group

Fleetwood Town's Ashley Eastham competing with Walsall's Andy Cook
Fleetwood Town's Ashley Eastham competing with Walsall's Andy Cook

Ash Eastham lifted the lid on Joey Barton’s ‘generals’ club at Fleetwood Town but would not identify his fellow members.

Town head coach Barton revealed last week that he had set up a group of senior players to discuss key issues with him.

Vice-captain Eastham, 27, is in the group of six voted for by the squad as is skipper Craig Morgan.

Eastham said: “We’ve had chats about it. We have been nominated by the players to take this role and kind of make decisions. We communicate things back and forward.

“The manager wants to create a culture at this club. I have to agree with him that at a lot of clubs you are told what to do: ‘You have to do this’ or ‘You have to do that’.

“The manager wants to know from the players what is going to get the best out of us, what type of training sessions are going to benefit this football club. So we are a bit of an intermediary between the staff and the rest of the team to bounce ideas off.

“Sometimes we might come to him with an opinion and he says ‘I’m not interested.’ But he wants us to bounce ideas off him and he believes it will create a good culture at this club.”

And Eastham explained how the group was assembled. “The manager wanted to know who the squad look to as leaders, who they trust on a match day and in training to do things right on and off the pitch.

“It came to a voting system and the onus is on us to carry that through.

“It is one thing being voted by your peers but you have to maintain that professionalism on and off the pitch.

“It is more to allow the manager to do his job. We have had a strong chat on the way we are going to run it.

“It is more like a self-policing system in the changing room. You don’t want managers dealing with stuff that is nothing to do with football, but actually focusing on people who want to be here and improve this football club.

“It is down to us in the changing rooms. We are full-grown men. We do not need to go to the manager with stupid issues that are going on. We can deal with that ourselves.

“We have all got respect for each other. It is the first way the majority of us have had something like this.

“We are not getting carried away. The lads selected by their peers are no more important than any other member of the squad.

“Sometimes it is the last person you expect who becomes that leader to get you the three points or make that last-ditch tackle.

“Some of the younger lads might not have the confidence to talk to the manager but it would not be a problem for us.

Someone might have an issue and need a day off from training, and we will keep growing with this culture.”