Joey Barton makes a shocking tobacco revelation in what was an astonishing rant at his Bristol Rovers players on Tuesday night.
The third tier club’s relegation to League Two was all but confirmed after suffering a defeat to Milton Keynes Dons at the Memorial Stadium.
The manager raged at the professionalism and character of the his squad after watching goals in either half from Scott Fraser and Will Grigg place the Gas at the bottom of the League One table, nine points from safety with three games remaining.
Barton was resigned to relegation at full time, and he voiced huge frustrations at his players.
In a 18-minute press conference pitchside at full time, Barton called some Rovers players “fake footballers”, claiming there are “huge” levels of unprofessionalism.
“It’s going to hurt and I’m not sure if there’s enough in that dressing room that (are) hurt and that’s a huge worry,” Barton said. “I don’t think some of them understand the ramifications of having a relegation on their CV.
“We can talk all we want but once you walk across the white line you’ve got to see a good performance. They can blame a whole manner of things but as a player, it all comes down to you.
“You’ve got to be fit to do your job. A professional is someone who turns up and gets the job done, regardless of how he feels and I feel as though there are a couple of them in there who are fortunate to be professional footballers.
“In 12 months, I think some of them would be very fortunate to still be a professional, because if they don’t put in the hard yards and respect the game or your profession then you end up with what’s happened to us, which is an abject showing, and with three games to go we’re all but relegated out of the division and I don’t think some of them deserve to play for a football club with a fanbase like this.
“We’ve got to figure out over these next three games who’s going to come along on this journey and who’s going to be let go because we’re not running a charity here. Based across the last 43 games, this has looked like a bit of a charity.”
Barton, in his post-match, also revealed “double figures” players use chewing tobacco, including whilst they train.
The product, which comes from Scandanavia and is often referred to as “snus”, is illegal to sell in the UK, but not to possess or use it.
There are claims it can provide performance-enhancing benefits and relieve anxiety, however there is no concrete scientific proof on that. Each pouch contains roughly three times as much nicotine as a standard cigarette.
“As the manager, everything stops with you and I have to take all of the responsibility of this so it’s tough and we’ve got to do some long, hard thinking. But I’m all in to turn this sinking ship around because it’s like the Titanic at the moment.
“We’ve made a fist of it, but you can’t turn water into wine and in this game you live and die on your recruitment
“We were not good enough today, right across the board. That’s why I had to make three changes at half time.
“Not good enough. Fake footballers. Don’t deserve to be playing for this football club, lots of them here, and they need to get better.
“We’ve rectified elements of it since we’ve come in, because we’ve had to lay the law down.
“My first day at the training ground, there’s 11 pouches of chewing tobacco on the floor on the training pitch.
“I have had to say to some of the lads “what is going on here?” Credit to some of them, some have changed and turned, but the damage is done if in February I’m having to tell you to stop sticking 43g of nicotine under your top lip.
“Not just one player, by the way, double figures. It’s not good enough. It shouldn’t be happening in professional football, and they should be embarrassed to call themselves professional footballers, some of them.
“We’re in the predicament we’re in because a lot of them don’t know what is required in this game. You have to do the hard yards, there’s no shortcuts to be successful in this game.”
Fans reacted as Joey Barton makes a tobacco revelation in his astonishing rant at Bristol Rovers players…
@Oldgschicken: ‘Someone in their infinite wisdom decided that this squad was good enough at the start of the season’… 😬. Don’t see how both TW and JB can be here come day 1 of the new season. That relationship seems broken beyond repair.
@darrell_ben: Fully behind Joey, Widdrington has to go and is the problem. You can tell Joey cares about this football club just like us fans do, let him bring in his own players. I’ll be there wherever we are. UTG
@mj_wilcox: Joey needs to stay. Anything else is a joke. He’s not the architect of our demise. Those who are need to go and you know who that means (someone with infinite wisdom). Joey is in the same boat Darrell was in, back in 2014.
@Bristoliang1en: I believe @Joey7Barton can turn this sinking ship around! As fans have said before, the damage was done last summer with awful recruitment and in January when Rovers didn’t bring in a goalscorer! We all know who that was! 🤬
@PeteSubbuteoShp: Imagine working for a guy who contantly slates you and takes no responsibility himself! I appreciate lots of Gasheads love Barton, but honestly just stop and think if your boss spoke publicly like this about you! How would it motivate you? Would you feel you’re in it together?
@RobCuffy44: You need to be brutally honest in life and that’s what he’s done here. He’s not named names but pound to a penny he’ll be having 121s with certain individuals. You’d think that some of these players would want to prove him/fans wrong but it doesn’t look that way. #UTG
@AdzMoore77: @Joey7Barton Thanks for your honesty. Rovers fans have only asked for honest, hard working players and staff that care. We have been raggy ass for too long. I hope you get the opportunity to turn BRFC into a proper professional unit! UTG
@KidPirate67: I Feel Sorry For Joey!
@mucker80: Thank you @Joey7Barton for all of your efforts so far. For me personally, you take absolutely no blame for our relegation. The damage here was caused by your predecessors and horrendous recruitment over the summer. I like many are fully behind you, 100%! Keep your head up! #UTG
@BRFCSamuel: Fully behind Joey , some strong honest words in that interview
@gadgetweetin: It hurts. Like hell. We are getting laughed at, he’s right. Some don’t want him here and blame him, but for me @Joey7Barton has to stay and be allowed to be the manager. No more TW. To pick his squad over the summer and give us a team again. This year has been disastrous. #utg
@Tommeedee85: Fair play, can’t argue with anything he’s said. Let’s give him the chance to build his team and get the mem rocking in August. @Joey7Barton #UTG
@Trishiboo: Thank you Joey You have done your best You took on a poisoned chalice and were prepared to give it a go Wherever the Rovers go I shall be going You don’t give up on your family and my Gas Family means the world to me Rovers til I die UTG
@JaseGrinham: Can’t help but feel for this man! Been left with a sinking ship to try and refloat with limited resources.Whats the bloke meant to do fgs! Tommy W needs sacking ASAP as well as half the players! Top Man @Joey7Barton We’ll all be at the Mem ready to cheer you on next year! #UTG
@JNel231: Fully behind @Joey7Barton. Next season let’s hope we can forget all about this and create fonder memories with fans back in the stadium getting behind a team we can all be proud of.
@gasheadamanda: Thank you @Joey7Barton for trying to keep us up. There is only so much you can do with this bunch of players you have inherited. Us Gasheads are right behind you! If fans were allowed in I doubt this would have happened!#damncovid #damnGarner #UTG
@nickturner1883: Very strong words but can’t disagree. The least you expect is blood, sweat and tears from the players you send onto the pitch. I’ve never seen a Rovers side with so many who fell so far short of that expectation. Very hard to take #UTG
@TheAleWolf: TBH I like most of what @Joey7Barton has to say. However, I am slightly conflicted over comments made about an experienced manager who seemed to dealt a similar hand. What I don’t get is we have had 2 open letters with no mention of the sack for TW #widdringtonout
@JefferiesGemma: @Joey7Barton what an honest over view of your short time at Rovers. You inherited a team who has not been performing all season. People may blame you but don’t listen we have been very poor and I blame the recruitment and the players not been good enough, no passion for the shirt
@parkhousejason: Absolutely gutted this morning. I sincerely hope the Bristol Rovers players and certain decision makers feel the same way. I feel incredibly let down also, but I certainly won’t be turning my back on club and will purchase season tickets as soon as possible.
@Hibbsy37: Still struggling to find anything positive to say about this #BristolRovers team. For whatever reason it hasn’t worked, as fans we can only hope that JB gets full support from the Board, and that he can prove he has the required ability to restructure the club for success #UTG
@BenNorman14: In my 31 years of being a gas head I’ve never been so embarrassed of my club. The relegation teams of the past at least showed the ability to score goals and fight for points. I can’t fault the effort but the application is so limited. Flaws from top to bottom Wael excluded. #utg
With all the ESL nonsense last night, it would be remiss not to mention the great job Joey Barton has done at Bristol Rovers. From outside of the relegation zone when he took over in Feb, Barton has successfully guided the Gas into the 4th tier. Good work Joey! #GoodnightIrene pic.twitter.com/40tE44pY8q
— Jon Harvey 〓〓 (@JonHarvey1977) April 21, 2021