Joey Barton gives credit to late mentor Steve Black for dramatic Bristol Rovers promotion

Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton has paid tribute to late mentor and friend Steve Black following the Pirates’ return to League One.

<p>Barton has led Rovers to League One</p>

Barton has led Rovers to League One

Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton has credited former mentor Steve Black for the club’s dramatic return to League One.

Rovers secured a return to the tier on Saturday evening in unbelievable circumstances, winning 7-0 against Scunthorpe United with Newcastle United loanee Elliot Anderson scoring the promotion clinching goal.

With Northampton Town winning 3-1 at Barrow, it should have been near-impossible for the Gas to still achieve promotion, with a five goal deficit before a goal was kicked.

But their seven goals meant they moved into third place on goals scored, and promotion is the reward for their incredible final day performance at the Memorial Stadium.

Barton was left as stunned as anyone at the final whistle, when it finally echoed across the Mem following a lengthy stoppage due to a pitch invasion following the seventh goal.

And short of words in his post-match press conference with the dressing room celebrations heard nearby, the Rovers boss paid tribute to former mentor Black.

Barton worked with Black at Queens Park Rangers previously and continued to receive words of wisdom from him up until Black passed away at age 64 in February.

“I can’t describe it. It’s something that, when I’m in my rocking chair and when all the balls I’ve headed out at the front post have caught up with me, I’ll remember this,” said Barton after the game.

“I’ll have Weetabix dribbling down my chin and I’ll think of the scenes at the Mem on this day.

“We are fortunate in this game to be paid very well for what we do, just for kicking a ball around. But moments like that are priceless, to see the fans, to see the players.”

Barton added: “I just believed in the group, what we do and what we are about.

Barton and the late Black at QPR

“I’ve had a cheat code all year. I worked with Steve Black, who was the best I’ve ever seen in the world at what he does.

“He sadly passed away this year and it was tough. I just knew that all we had to so was follow the blueprint, because Blacky was outstanding.

“I hope his missus and his kids see this today. And that team today, that performance, was the epitomy of what Blacky preached to me on a daily basis.”