Tuesday 6 December 2016

One of Joey Barton's former managers reckons he's a big sweetheart underneath it all

Rory Dollard

Published 22/09/2016 | 17:20

Burnley manager Sean Dyche, left, would not be drawn on the future of Joey Barton, right
Burnley manager Sean Dyche, left, would not be drawn on the future of Joey Barton, right

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has reiterated the strong working relationship he enjoyed with Joey Barton last season but carefully swerved the possibility of handing the controversial midfielder a Premier League lifeline.

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Barton played a key role in helping the Clarets win promotion from the Championship, winning the club's player of the year award, before opting for a move to Rangers in the summer.

That experience has not proved a success so far, with the 34-year-old currently serving a three-week ban following an alleged altercation with team-mate Andy Halliday in the aftermath of a 5-1 Old Firm defeat by Celtic.

Barton, whose time at Turf Moor was noticeably incident-free, has indicated his desire to stay at Ibrox but he may have played his last game for the club should he fail to win over manager Mark Warburton.

Dyche won glowing praise from Barton in his new autobiography, No Nonsense, but would not be drawn on a potential reunion.

Asked if he would take Barton back should he leave Scotland, Dyche said: "I'll let you give loads of different opinions on that...it's nothing to do with me, he's part of Rangers Football Club.

"There's no angle to me and him, or the club and him, he just felt it was a new challenge and it has turned out to be a new challenge, whatever way you look at it.

"It's quite obviously private to Rangers, whatever has gone on. I can only give my opinion about my time with him and he was fantastic - on and off the field, inside the camp and outside the camp.

"But that's me, I can't speak for others or what's gone on since then.

"We're thankful for what he did here and I think he enjoyed what he did here and the group he was working with. But he's gone on to pastures new."

Invited to share the secret of his man-management success last term, Dyche could offer no tangible tips to Warburton.

"There's not a trick. Sometimes situations fit together nicely and they did here." he said.

"I can't say if they're going to or not for Rangers. Of course he wants it to work there but that's for other people to decide."

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