Joey Barton is never shy in causing controversy, with his self-styled philosophical ramblings and regular comments on topical issues both inside and outside football.
And this week has seen him make a brash claim that he would already have Sunderland secured as a Championship side, if he had been in charge of the Black Cats.
His comments, when speaking to the Fleetwood Weekly News, have a hint of jealousy and a tinge of sour grapes, but he also claims that his Fleetwood side, despite falling short this season, will mount a promotion charge next season.
He said: “We have not been able to recruit everybody we would want in the building. But we have a chance to shuffle the pack on that in the summer.
“We have some really key components already here with us. I think that is what has emerged this season whether or not we are successful and get promoted.
“That is for a select few. There are only so many that can do that.
“It is two (up) automatic and one by the play-offs. Everyone judges those sides as being successful but, let’s be honest, if I had Sunderland’s budget I’d have them up by this point.”
It’s a bold claim, and one that many Sunderland fans will simply laugh at.
He took a job at Fleetwood, and must have known the type of budget and restrictions he would have, compared to a bigger club.
Jack Ross has done a fantastic job at Sunderland, and the irony of Barton’s comments, is that, before the club was bought by Stewart Donald, Fleetwood were probably in a better financial position than the Wearside club.
If he does not like working with the finances he has at his disposal, he could just leave, or prove himself enough that a bigger club comes calling for him.
If the latter were to happen, I am not sure you would hear him complaining about having the opportunity to build a better squad then.
Maybe Barton should focus more on his own job at hand, and less on what the others are doing.
I am sure the Sunderland fans are only interested in Barton and Fleetwood on two occasions this season — the next of which will be during the penultimate game at Highbury, when it would be a perfect fitting, if the Black Cats secured automatic promotion in front of his envious eyes.
What do you think about Joey Barton’s comments, Sunderland fans? Does he have a point, or is it more nonsense from the former Newcastle man? Let us know your thoughts…