Joey Barton sticks the boot into Alex Ferguson

Joey Barton. Picture: PA
Joey Barton. Picture: PA
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JOEY Barton has called into question the credentials of Sir Alex Ferguson, claiming the legendary manager ‘couldn’t put on a coaching session to save his life’.

Ferguson retired as Manchester United manager in May after a 26-year spell at Old Trafford in which he won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns. He had previously led Aberdeen to European Cup Winners’ Cup glory and eight domestic trophies.

However, outspoken QPR midfielder Barton had a dig at the Scot as he slammed the state of British coaching during the Leaders in Football conference at Stamford Bridge yesterday.

“I am not here to disrespect Fergie,” said Barton. “He is a great manager, the icon, the pinnacle of British management. But he couldn’t put on a coaching session to save his life. I’ve spoken to people about him and he can barely lay out cones. This is not a coach, this is a manager. This is the difference – there is a big, big difference between a coach and a manager.” Rarely short of an opinion, Barton laid the boot into several parts of the game at the conference, directing most of his ire at the Football Association and the newly-formed FA commission.

In a vital week for England’s World Cup hopes, the midfielder poked fun at the quality of the team as well as the ten-man commission formed in a bid to improve their fortunes going forward.

“The England team are s*** at the minute,” said Barton, capped once by the senior national team in 2007. “How long do we have to talk about how bad it is? I mean this commission thing – and it was an issue with me straightaway. What’s the point?

“I am an extremist and I am at this phase in life where I am struggling with democracy. I don’t think it works. I think we need a totalitarian figure, who knows what he wants and goes with it because at least he is accountable.

“It is quite a smart move if you’re Greg Dyke because now you have put eight other people in front of you to deflect the criticism when it no doubt comes your way when we fall short at the next World Cup, the next European Championship. The Premier League have made a smart move in terms of isolating themselves. Why would you want to be a part of it when you’ve got such a great product? I just don’t get it, the commission. I don’t get it. The whole point of hiring Greg Dyke surely was because he knows what he is doing or at least has got an idea?

“At least have the balls to stand up and say, ‘This is what I want to do, this is how I want to do it’.

“Don’t turn around and say ‘I am going to bring nine other people from all different fields of the game and hopefully we’ll make a group decision’. It is never going to work.”

Barton added: “The Football Association is archaic, it is completely and utterly out of its depth.

“It does not even run the major league in our country. The Premier League does very good things, but is in a massive battle because they don’t really care about English football, they care about the Premier League as a product, about the Premier League being worth billions.

“The FA’s responsibility is to care about English football. They have no power apart from banning players and stuff.”