Ramsey: Barton has matured
Published 08/05/2015 | 23:21
Joey Barton's QPR career looked to be over when he stupidly got sent off at Manchester City three years ago, yet he returns to the Etihad Stadium this weekend a much more mature figure and one which Chris Ramsey believes could become a successful manager.
The final day of the 2011-12 season will forever be synonymous with Sergio Aguero's last-gasp strike, earning a 3-2 win which saw City secure a first league title in 44 years.
That match was also of huge importance to embattled QPR and only results elsewhere saved them from relegation - not that Barton knew that when he was sent off following a fit of rage with the score at 1-1.
That moment appeared to be the end of his Loftus Road career, with the midfielder handed a 12-match ban by the Football Association and farmed out to Marseille on loan.
However, the 32-year-old returned at the end of that spell and has somewhat surprisingly won around QPR fans, players and staff, including manager Ramsey.
"He had a reputation that was questionable but you have to take people as you meet them," the Rs boss said.
"Since I have met him, I have only ever had interesting debates with him and talks.
"I don't think you can come into a situation and take people based on what people think.
"He has not displayed anything to me that would warrant me believing the stories that I heard.
"He has not conducted that in that fashion. He has conducted himself in a very professional manner from training and to around the place.
"He has his opinion. He has taken instruction on board and has not gone against anything I have asked him to do - whether he believed him or not.
"I have been quite impressed with him and in the future he will probably be a good coach and manager."
Ramsey believes Barton is at a "different stage of his life" as he prepares to return to City in another battle to stave off the drop, with defeat on Sunday sealing their relegation.
It would make what Ramsey calls a "rebuilding period" even tougher this summer, with a Financial Fair Play fine and player changes looming large.
That does not faze the Rs manager, though, and he would be keen to extend his contract past the summer.
"A long-term plan is always sensible, because it means whatever happens the club stays on an even keel," Ramsey said.
"I think the owners will be looking at some sort of plan. How long that will remain to be seen, depending on where we are and what we're doing.
"Most things are up my street. Managing a team that's mid table or pushing up. I don't mind anything regards coaching or management.
"The club's in exciting times. At the moment it's intense times because we want to stay up and win the game on Sunday and next week, and the game against Leicester.
"But the club has been learned there is a necessity to make a long-term plan and I would be well suited to that.
"I think it would be good for anyone who came in to build a club like Queens Park Rangers, with a long history, good catchment area, the ability to attract the right players.
"Even if we do stay up, there needs to be a long-term strategy."