Joey Barton explains he’s still involved in football because he’s a ‘warrior’ – not because he needs the money

Joey Barton Bristol Rovers manager showing his warrior-like spirit
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Joey Barton says moving into management after retiring from professional football as a player was out of necessity of staying involved within the game, with the Bristol Rovers boss claiming his competitive edge wouldn't allow him to relax. 

The 40-year-old's first job came with Fleetwood Town in April 2018, where he spent two-and-a-half years in charge of the Lancashire outfit. 

He managed to consolidate the club in League One, but, despite controversy arising - Barton was charged with allegedly assaulting then-Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel - Barton knew he had to remain in the game following his dismissal in January 2021. 

Bristol Rovers came calling in February that year, where he has been in charge ever since. The 40-year-old says managing is out of necessity of staying involved in football, rather than out of monetary rewards. 

“I’m prepared to do the work, it’s not something I do for the money," Barton tells FourFourTwo. "I’m here as a vocation. I’d go bonkers if I was out of the game. I tried punditry and it just wasn’t for me. I don’t mind doing it the odd time, but not all the time. I’m a warrior, I need to be in the arena of battle!"

Barton admits he’s always had a few dream jobs in mind. 

“I’m an Evertonian, and I never played for Everton,” he says. “But it’s tough – I look through my career at Manchester City, Newcastle, Marseille, Burnley, QPR, Rangers, they’re all great clubs. I work for a great club right now that has untapped potential – no one from the city of Bristol has been in the Premier League, which is a challenge for Big Nige (Pearson) at Bristol City and myself. 

“If I went back to any of my former clubs, it would be a proud moment, and I’d love to go abroad again. I’d love to coach in Italy or Spain, where I never had the chance to play, and I’d love to return to France, but I think I could only work for Marseille. 

"It would be peculiar for me to work for any other side, so that’s a tricky one – they’re a massive club.”

He does believe that he can reach the top level one day, though. “Yeah, why not?” he insists.

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.