Joey Barton opens up on ‘lowest point in career’ after Bristol Rovers’ FA Cup exit

Bristol Rovers suffered the embarrassment of losing to National League opposition in the FA Cup second round.

Joey Barton has described Bristol Rovers’ defeat to Boreham Wood as the lowest point of his career. The Gas suffered an FA Cup shock at the hands of the National League outfit on Sunday.

First-half goals from Will Evans and David Stephens gave the lowest-ranked team left in the competition the victory over the below-par Rovers. Despite making four substitutes at half-time, there was no response from the hosts who had been second-best throughout the match.

It is the first time since 2018 that the club hasn’t reached the third round and that was again a defeat to a non-league side. Barton, who has been involved in management since 2018, stated it was the lowest point he had been as a coach.

He said: “That is the lowest point in my career as a coach - that is the worst team I have ever been exited out of a competition by.

“Over the time of my managerial career I imagine it probably won’t be the last time with the FA Cup but we just have to have more desire.”

Rovers remain on course to meet their expectations of League One survival, with their current position of 15th. They are also into the last sixteen of the EFL Trophy and face MK Dons at the Memorial Stadium.

It is a missed opportunity however for the supporters of Rovers, who have been deprived of a glamour tie against Premier League opposition. One-time European Cup winners Aston Villa and Everton are the biggest teams Rovers have played at the Mem and that came in 2012 and 2000 respectively.

For Barton, he played for Manchester City, Newcastle United and QPR, so he will have experienced playing at grounds that Rovers could have visited for the first time.

He said: “The FA Cup is great and we want to have a good cup run and visit some grounds. I don’t really give a s*** about it because I’ve played in all these places.

“Are we going to win the FA Cup? Absolutely not. Could we take the fans on a journey and the team on a journey?

“Yeah, so I’m disappointed in that regard because it’s an exciting competition, but the bread and butter for us is establishing ourselves as a League One club, which we’re making a good fist of.”