Joey Barton lifts lid on sudden departure from Portsmouth's League One rivals Fleetwood

Joey Barton departed Fleetwood at the start of January. Picture: Jason BrownJoey Barton departed Fleetwood at the start of January. Picture: Jason Brown
Joey Barton departed Fleetwood at the start of January. Picture: Jason Brown
Joey Barton has lifted the lid on his sudden departure from Pompey’s League One rivals Fleetwood.

The former Man City midfielder had guided the Highbury Stadium outfit to the League One play-off semi-finals in the 2019-20 season.

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What’s more, they were only three points outside the top six when he exited the club, having drawn 0-0 with Pompey at Fratton Park the previous month.

Speaking to The Robbie Fowler Podcast, Barton said Fleetwood were operating under a transfer embargo heading into the winter window.

He also made claims about paying staff out of his own pocket – and offered to pay goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler’s wages to keep him at Fleetwood beyond his contract that expired in January.

And with owner Andy Pilley putting pressure on Barton when it came to team selection, he knew it was time to leave amicably.

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‘When I went to speak to him (Piley) about it he told me about the embargo, which was a lot later than I thought I should have found out about it,’ said Barton.

‘I wanted a couple of bodies in and I thought we could be there or thereabouts. He wanted to bring some of the younger players in.’

‘He wanted to get promoted using the younger players and he wanted to put Alex Cairns back in goal.

‘I brought a number one in (Joel Coleman) and he injured his hamstring. I brought a number two in (Jayson Leutwiler) and he ended up being number one.

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'He told me he wasn’t going to renew Jayson Leutwiler’s contract and he’d done superbly. I said I’d pay him out of my own money.

‘I offered to pay for Leuts. He (Pilley) said no and I knew at that point he wanted to dictate the team.

‘There became a disconnect and it was to do with him dictating things to me.

‘Six weeks before I was sacked, they offered me a three-year extension on the same money, which in the current climate is a good offer.

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‘I said all my staff are on three-month termination, they’re not getting paid that well anyway, can you sort that out.

‘They offered me a decent contract thinking I'd sign and get everything to sign, but I needed all the lads looked after then I’d sign.

‘I kind of smelt something wasn’t right because if they can’t give the staff a bit more security, maybe people are running out of money or a pinch point is coming

‘We fast forward five weeks, the embargo has unfolded and he’s trying to say this player is ready, this goalie needs to go back in (to the team).

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‘We had a very frank and amicable conversation and I thought we needed to shuffle the deck and get fresh impetus.

'With two big egos, I said one of us is going to be wrong between now and the end of the season.

‘I just didn’t want it to end sourly so I said: “Let’s shake hands and part ways as amicably as possible”.

‘It was tough because I thought we could challenge again but the landscape wouldn’t have been ideal or conducive to me learning what I need to have a positive working environment.’

Simon Grayson has since succeeded Barton as Fleetwood boss.