Joey Barton reveals Bristol City v Bristol Rovers plans as he praises Alex Scott

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Ambitious plans for a Bristol Derby revealed as Joey Barton maps out the plan for the Premier League.

Joey Barton believes that it is possible that Bristol City and Bristol Rovers can both one day play a Bristol Derby in the Premier League.

No Bristol team has competed in the Premier League since its rebrand in 1992, and the last time top-flight football was held in the city was in 1980 when Bristol City were relegated from Division One. Both teams have aspirations of reaching that level, with the Robins going closest in 2008 when they lost to Hull City in the Championship play-off final.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Despite being bitter rivals, Barton was keen to praise the red side of Bristol and believed that Steve Lansdown had given a good attempt at getting to the Premier League. He also pointed out that neither team has competed in a European competition, and that it would benefit the city if a team could get there.

The 40-year-old comes from Liverpool, and is an ardent Everton supporter, and has revealed he’s had banter from Liverpool fans over their current plight. The Merseyside Derby has been in the calendar for several years, but the last time Bristol had hosted a competitive derby was almost a decade ago.

"At some point, we’d love to get Bristol Rovers in the Premier League," said Barton on Having a Gas with Geoff Twentyman on BBC Radio Bristol.

"I think Steve (Lansdown) and the guys at Bristol City have had a fantastic go at getting Bristol City in the Prem. I can’t believe a city like Bristol hasn’t had a European tie.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I can’t imagine how mad Bristol would go for a European tie and having two really good teams. Luckily in our city, Everton’s result today gives us a chance of staying in the division. When some of my not-sensible Liverpool mates say I hope Everton go down, I say it won’t be the same without the Derby in our calendar, in Bristol, they must miss that.”

The 2022/23 season has just concluded, but already plans are being made in preparation for the next campaign. Pre-season friendlies are being arranged, and the Gas boss had revealed that he held discussions with Nigel Pearson about the potential of a friendly at Ashton Gate in the summer. It has been advised however that the match shouldn’t take place and instead, Rovers are set to take on Welsh club Cardiff City.

The two sides haven’t competed against one another since an EFL Trophy tie in 2013, in which the red side won. The 2000/01 season is the last time the two clubs competed at the same level, with City floating between the Championship and League One, whilst Rovers have been in the third tier all the way down to the National League.

He said: "I spoke to big Nige, there was a mooting of us having a friendly pre-season over at Ashton Gate. Big Nige was game for it and we certainly were.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I think the police have got involved and it looks like we’re going to play Cardiff instead. We’d love that, I can’t understand. I go to the match with my mates who support Liverpool if it is a derby and there’s no issue. I think it’s great for the city and tourism, the city does fantastically well when your football teams are doing well."

Nigel Pearson and Joey Barton both were appointed on the same day, and have had different times at their respective clubs. Pearson has had to manage the team and remain competitive whilst being instructed to reduce the wage bill, and there is an emphasis on young players.

Rovers have adopted a similar approach by turning to youth, though they’ve had to rely on loans from Premier League and Championship clubs to fill their squad, though Luca Hoole did come through their academy and has established himself as a first-team regular.

Both City and Rovers had reason to celebrate at the EFL Awards in April, as Aaron Collins won the Player of the Year award, meanwhile, Alex Scott was named the Championship Young Player of the Year. The aim for Barton is to get Rovers in to the Championship to make a Derby possible, but the dream for the city would be a derby in the Premier League.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He added: "We’ve got to uphold the blue half and big Nige has got an exciting young team. The young kid who won Young Player of the Year in the Championship who looks a fantastic player. I saw the Mayor tweeting about it and thought isn’t that great for the city?

“I’ve lived in a city like Glasgow where the two teams can’t be doing well. One is really good and one is bad and it flip-flops. We’re in a position in Bristol where both teams can do really well. I hope we can get up to give a derby. It’d be a cracker.

"If they go up it throws down the gauntlet even further to the blue half to if you want to get the derby back, you’ve got to get up again. I think both clubs can do it. The foothold affluent places you can live in. I think when both clubs scale up it gets easier to attract elite-level players.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.