Barton: Ancelotti is turning son’s head
Evertonian hopes eldest boy will stop supporting Liverpool Fleetwood manager still out to quell optimism at Goodison
Joey Barton has personal reasons for hoping Everton thrive under Carlo Ancelotti, despite seeking to curtail his boyhood club’s cup progress tonight.
The Fleetwood manager says Ancelotti is succeeding where he failed in convincing his eldest son to follow the blue half of Merseyside rather than Liverpool.
“I have disowned him,” joked Barton about eight-year-old Cassius. “He asked me to get a Liverpool shirt. I said, ‘mate, I can’t’, so his mum went out and bought him one. He wanted [Roberto] Firmino’s, but he came back with a Liverpool top with Fermino on the back, the spelling wrong. I thought, ‘that’s what happens if you support Liverpool…’
“It is hard to get him not to support Liverpool when they have Mane, Salah and Firmino and all his mates are singing the songs and they are going to European Cup finals. I said, ‘look mate I’m not going to force you’. I couldn’t give him a rational argument to support Everton. There was some bad football we were playing. It was Marco Silva and it was tough times to convince him to be an Evertonian.”
Now the promise of a Goodison revival under Ancelotti has given Barton hope of a change of loyalty.
“He keeps saying to me that he supports both now,” he said.
“So, he has gone from supporting Liverpool to realising Everton are decent this season.
“He is at that point where he just loves football. He supports everyone. As an Evertonian, for the first time in a long time they are being taken seriously again. Ancelotti’s one of the best in the business and in a short period, with one window of recruitment, it has been on the money. Ancelotti’s the person who changed that. I hope we can beat them and then after that I want Everton to win every game.”
Barton will be hoping to puncture some of that optimism with a cup upset, although he senses some of the expectations may already be spiralling out of control.
“I was at a family do when Everton played Spurs and the game was on,” he said. “I’m sitting there with family and they are saying, ‘I think we can win the league this year’ and talking about definitely getting in the Champions League. Things are definitely looking up for Everton, but I don’t think Man City and Liverpool are going to be shaking in their boots just yet. The optimism around the club is great.”
The regret for Barton is his family and friends on Merseyside cannot attend what may be his proudest moment in management.
“If there was a bigger crowd in, then we’d get a few more shillings in to spend on our team, which at this moment in time everyone at our level needs,” he said. “The Sky money gives us the possibility of getting a few quid in. It would have been great to have a full stadium because I am sure the Evertonians would have travelled over and I am certain our fans would have come out in their droves.
“But it is a chance to test yourself against some of the best players in the country and a great opportunity for our players to see where they are in the football hierarchy.”
Fleetwood v Everton