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1516 burnley joey barton 04 1000x500When Joey Barton let Anthony Martial go rather than take a yellow card, the Manchester United player went on to score their opener in a 2-0 win at Turf Moor. That was on 23rd April 2017 and, at the time, we could have had no idea that Joey was playing his final game for us.

Three days later came news of his ban for breaking the FA’s betting rules. Alongside a £30,000 fine, he was banned from all football activity for 18 months. It brought an end to his Burnley career.

He was told it was the shortest suspension possible but, determined to get back to playing, he appealed the length of the ban and it was reduced by almost five months. Having previously been scheduled to end on 25th October 2018, the end date became 1st June2018, and that was yesterday.

1617 burnley joey barton 01 500x500That means, from today, he can return to football, and we know that is exactly what he is going to do. Just over six weeks ago, Fleetwood Town announced that he would be their new head coach from 2nd June.

And so, with his new assistant Clint Hill, a former QPR team mate, and Steve Eyre, once a youth team player at Burnley, he steps in to his first managerial role from today.

Will he invite potential new signings round to his home for an omelette? That I don’t know, but I do know that he’ll continue to bend our manager’s ears if he’s not busy drinking in his new Burnley pub, and there is no doubt he will have learned from Sean Dyche who he now considers as one of his friends.

Joey had two spells at Burnley, with a bit of fun in Glasgow in between. In his first spell he was undoubtedly a catalyst for our title winning season and on his return he gave us some excellent performances as we ensured we’d be staying in the Premier League.

He made a total of 58 appearances for us and scored four goals. Three of those goals came in the promotion season, all away from Turf Moor, while, right on cue, he scored his one Turf Moor goal on his return in January last year, coming on as a substitute and scoring the winner against Southampton with a free kick.

When Joey left Burnley he owed us absolutely nothing. He was a credit to himself and our club for all the time he was a Burnley player. He’s left his mark on us and we’ve left our mark on him as some of his broadcasting has confirmed.

I wish him nothing but the very best at Fleetwood from today – unless we play them in the cup of course.

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