Joey Barton wants full Bristol Rovers fan experience after mixing with Marseille ultras at Tottenham

Barton went from football manager to football fan when he supported Marseille on Wednesday night

Joey Barton said he would love to experience the feeling of supporting Bristol Rovers after his visit to Tottenham Hotspur this midweek.

The 40-year-old was in the headlines on Wednesday night after being spotted mingling with Marseille fans ahead of their Champions League clash with Spurs.

Barton met in a London pub with fans of the French club after playing for them on loan in his playing career. He was positioned with their voal away support but could only watch on as former Toffees striker Richarlison scored a brace.

He had only spent a year in France and played 33 times for Les Phocéens, but built up a positive relationship with one of French football’s biggest teams.

The former Newcastle United midfielder was keen to show his son the other side of the game after his eldest child had recently experienced a match day at the Mem against Shrewsbury Town.

He said “I’m a football fan. I started as a football fan. It’s where I still see football from. It’s why sometimes I say what I say and behave the way I behave because I’ve never lost that pureness.

“I was a supporter on the terraces and standing outside training grounds, waiting for autographs, climbing on walls to peer over fences to watch sessions.

“I was dead lucky to become a player and I never forgot that. The one thing that happens to you as a player and you look under the wizard’s curtain and it changes your relationship with the game.

“You realise it is a business, I’m keen to show my son a different side of the game, the business side of it because that is what we do but also that there is a pure fan element of it.

“I went and I felt it must be great this, come in and sing your heart out, support your team, win or lose you’re on the booze.”

Wednesday’s trip to North London acted as an opportunity to let his hair down, getting away from the pressures of professional football.

An ardent Everton supporter, Barton did admit that the feeling of putting himself in the shoes of supporters was something that did entice him.

He said: “Go back with your mates, back to work and you don’t have to worry about managing people or the psychology, or dealing with the press and the stuff that goes with it.

“There was a part of me that was like it would be nice to come back to this but you don’t get to watch the game.

“You’re caught up in the atmosphere taunting the opposition fans or singing the songs for your team or players.”

Barton has built up a positive relationship with the fan base of the West Country after recovering from overseeing a relegation.

He did have a point that he doubted whether he would be successful at the Mem and was booed by the passionate supporters at the end at a few matches last season.

By the end of the campaign, he was held aloft on the shoulders of supporters after winning promotion in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Contributing to their promotion, Rovers were backed by sold out away ends at both Port Vale and Rochdale with jubilant scenes after late goals.

They were two games that stood out in the mind that Barton wishes he could have traded places with the supporters and wants to experience the Rovers match day feeling.

He said: “I’m lucky enough to have that relationship with the fan base. When I’m at the Mem I see the Thatchers End or I see our away support, there is a part of me that is like ‘I would love to be in there with them’ today, it must be incredible.

“Certainly Rochdale last year and Port Vale, I’d rather be watching it in the away end rather than that six by six technical area when all you’re doing is moaning and arguing with the fourth official and the opposition bench.”