Jocular Barton says Fleetwood ideal for management debut

Joey Barton made light of his return from a 13 month betting ban to land his first job in management with third tier side Fleetwood Town by suggesting he contact bookmakers to see what the odds would have been for that to happen.

The often controversial 35-year-old former midfielder -- capped once by England -- signed a three-year contract to succeed John Sheridan, who led the club away from relegation after joining on a short-term deal in February.

"I suppose we can contact some bookmakers to give us a price for what it was for me coming out of a betting ban and into a managerial position," Barton said.

"It's one of the weird idiosyncrasies that tends to go on the roller-coaster journey that's certainly my life and professional life. It's something I've always wanted to do and I'm thankful for the opportunity.

"It's a fantastic football club, obviously on an upward trajectory and a great place for me to start a coaching journey."

Even prior to his betting ban, former Manchester City, Newcastle United, QPR, Marseille, Rangers and Burnley midfielder Barton's chequered career had been beset by controversies, including training ground punch-ups and on-field fights.

In December 2004, he stubbed a lit cigar in the eye of young team-mate Jamie Tandy during Manchester City's Christmas party. He was fined by the club, while Tandy sued Barton and won £65,000 ($92,000, 75,000 euros) in damages.

Away from football, Barton was jailed for six months in May 2008 after admitting common assault and affray during an incident in Liverpool the previous December.

And in 2012, while playing for QPR, Barton was sent off for elbowing Carlos Tevez on the final day of the season at Manchester City. He also kneed Sergio Aguero and tried to headbutt Vincent Kompany before leaving the field in an incident that saw him banned for 12 matches.