Bar­ton: Ancelotti is turn­ing son’s head

Ever­to­nian hopes el­dest boy will stop sup­port­ing Liver­pool Fleet­wood man­ager still out to quell op­ti­mism at Good­i­son

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - By Chris Bas­combe

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

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