OPINION: Joey Barton can have the last laugh on Fleetwood Town's critics

I had to chuckle when I saw the Tweet asking ifJoey Barton was taking tips from General Melchett.

Friday, 3rd August 2018, 12:00 am
Updated Friday, 3rd August 2018, 7:28 am
Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton

Not because I thought it was accurate; actually far from it.

From what we have seen thus far of Barton as a leader and a manager is a world away from the bumbling general of ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’.

In fact, I think Andy Pilley’s appointment is one of the most astute ones I have seen this summer.

Now, while I am aware that I have often been tarred with rose-tinted glasses, the thing is Barton is really not as mad as a box of frogs.

Yes, his history of misdemeanours have painted him in the public eye as a sort of mad villain.

And though I do not condone any of his past actions, I do feel that he is going to prove people wrong because what he has done so far at Fleetwood is tick every box as to a recipe for success.

He’s taken what Fleetwood already had in place and tweaked everything a bit here or there.

Last season, Town lacked leadership on the pitch; they were too young and inexperienced, they had an achilles heel on set-pieces, did not replace the experience of Conor McLaughlin, Jimmy Ryan and David Ball, struggled to fill the void at left-back after Amari’i Bell’s exit and were hit by injuries to key players.

John Sheridan replaced Uwe Rosler and started the work by saying the club was too good to be near a relegation zone and got them out of it.

Barton has looked to address all of the faults and an unbeaten pre-season is no mean achievement.

To all the doubters, just examine his recruitment.

Town have been renowned over recent seasons for buying young development prospects and selling them on.

While Barton is not ripping that up, just look at his signings.

There are 10 in total but a peak at a few just shows he knows what is required to do well at this level.

Left-back Eddie Clarke has come in from Tranmere Rovers and has potential; midfielder Jason Holt is on loan from Rangers and is used to being a leader as well as a talented player; new skipper Craig Morgan has a host of promotion experiences; Ched Evans is a proven goalscorer at League One level; and Dean Marney signed amid interest from Nottingham Forest.

The squad is one that many in League One would envy but, admittedly, it isn’t perfect as three of those signings have struggled with injuries and Evans failed to score at all last season.

The ‘poo’ comments might cause a laugh but Barton is not messing about.

The work at Poolfoot Farm is straight from the Sean Dyche’s Burnley blueprint, and from psychology to set-pieces, things are coming together.

If Barton can keep everything in check, then Fleetwood could well be a force to be reckoned with and Pilley may see his managerial gamble pay off.