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Joey Barton admits he doesn't like Mike Ashley

“Steve McClaren wanted me to go back. That was the year I joined Burnley – he asked me to come back but Mike Ashley said you can have anybody but him! It was good to know I made that an impression on him because the feeling is definitely mutual.

“The club will not be the club it could be while they’ve got the owner they’ve got. He’s not going to change, ruefully. It’s sad but that’s his way of doing things and I feel sorry for the supporters because they do deserve more. It’s a huge football club and it should be in the Premier League – it should never be out of it or even in a position where they’re thinking it might not be. It’s a sad predicament of mismanagement. They spent loads of money on players in the Championship and then get up to the Premier League and spend no money. I just don’t get it. I don’t get what he wants to do. Does he want to keep yo-yoing between the two divisions? Is that the plan? He owns the football club but it needs a change of regime.

“They have a good manager there who, if you give him a bit of money, he tends to do well. He’s a wily character and he knows how to build successful football clubs. But he keeps getting the Ashley nonsense on transfers so the question has to be whether he will stay there or not. It’s a perfect club for someone like Rafa. It could grow to be something so much bigger than what it is now.”

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