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Joey Barton to meet fans at club of the people Fleetwood Town

He’s dubbed Fleetwood Town a people’s club and now new head coach Joey Barton wants to meet the Cod Army.

Barton and chairman Andy Pilley are to attend a fans’ forum in the Parkside Suite at Highbury Stadium on Tuesday June 19 (7pm).

Joey Barton with Bernard Noble, who is hoping to set up an official supporters club, at the Past Players Association meeting

Joey Barton with Bernard Noble, who is hoping to set up an official supporters club, at the Past Players Association meeting

Admission is free but is restricted to supporters who have bought an Onward Card, which is the club’s new replacement for a season ticket.

It is the first managerial job for Barton, who officially took up his new role last Saturday after his ban for breaching FA betting rules expired.

Since then he has been settling into his new surrounds and he says the club and the community are tied together.

Barton was able to meet some of Town’s former heroes when the past players’ association held its monthly meeting at Poolfoot Farm yesterday.

Former midfielder Barton says he is as passionate about success as the fans and he looks forward to meeting them on the 19th.

The ex-Burnley and Manchester City star said: “Sometimes the thing aimed at footballers at the top level is that they do not love what they are doing.

“That can be valid in some cases but if you dedicate your life to something and genuinely give everything to be a pro footballer, you have to love what you are doing.

“On the flipside you have people who volunteer in grassroots projects, and this club is unique in that it is very much embedded in the local community.

“There are very few training grounds in League One where you get the public coming in for a coffee, watching training with you, interacting with you and I think that has to be embraced. Football has maybe gone a little bit too commercial and isolated itself from the core fan base.

“We ain’t going to do that. Fleetwood Town is embedded in the community. We have to embrace that because without the community there are no supporters in the ground and there is no football club here.

“It is the people’s club and it would be foolish of me to want to do it any other way.

“I’m a boyhood Evertonian but are the people who are running the club Evertonians, with Everton’s best interests at heart? That’s where football gets confused.

“The unique situation is that everyone in this club is passionate about Fleetwood Town.

“Me and the other new guys will give everything we can possibly give to be successful here. I think that is all you can do, then you can go home and say, ‘I gave everything’.

“If that means winning trophies and promotions, then so be it, but as long as you do everything you possibly can you are successful.”

Tickets for the fans’ forum will be limited to one for each Onward Card holder.

The tickets are available on a first come, first served basis from 9am on Monday at the Highbury club shop (01253 775080).

Onward Cards are also available at the shop, and from today supporters can purchase them via a single cash or card transaction.

Another option is to enter into direct debit agreement, enabling supporters to spread the cost of payment.