Joey Barton - Is It Worth It?
Joey Barton struck what could have been a timely blow to Rangers' survival hopes at the weekend - at what point do the negatives outweigh the positives?
Far be it from me to keep our skipper out of the headlines, as in the wake of a momentous and valiant battle to safety, we seem to be treading the same path once again with Joey Barton.
Without wanting to taint what was a magnificent day, I posed the question - without prejudice - to Vital QPR's sizeable twitter army - Should Joey Barton feature in a QPR shirt again?
It would be fair to say that while Joey has been a magnificent force for good of late, he rather reverted and let himself, his team-mates and supporters down with his careless and thoughtless actions.
That isn't quite what hurts the most in truth. His resultant actions on to take to twitter and first of all say he was trying to take a City player with him, then secondly continue a war of words with Alan Shearer rather leaves a bitter taste in the mouth on a glorious day.
The response on twitter to my earlier question was sizeable, but polarised. Many vehemently backing the skipper - labelling this as merely passion that's boiled over. Others say that this is a step too far and another act of self-gratification and selfishness.
The most interesting views were those on the fence. A consensus seemed to form on the middle ground that Joey has done a fantastic job - but he is a gamble that the club no longer need to take.
Barton has stated that the season turned on its axis when the supporters really got behind the players at Loftus Road - I would contest that it was when Barton himself concentrated on his football and absolute credit is due to him for turning his performances around.
The skipper turned his game around over-night, more passionate, dedicated and above all a better class of professional - not getting involved in various opportunities for fracas, passing improved ten-fold and even a goal against Swansea City crowned an incredible return to form for Barton.
Sunday however was a timely reminder of the simmering under-current of emotion that dwells within - and the pain and destruction it can cause to those around him. Luckily on Saturday it caused no damage, but as a ticking time-bomb other teams will seek to provoke Barton, and judging by Sunday may well be successful.
From a personal perspective Joey will know he has let himself down - he does not need the nation's media to remind him of this incident and previous indiscretions. He has been excellent in the final spell of the campaign and this can only be down to the right management of Mark Hughes, and a willingness personally to succeed.
Like him or loathe him, Sunday's display was unacceptable - something which Barton has admitted to - but moments like these at pivotal times in the game must raise the question about whether Barton has the temprament to let the sizeable strengths in his game outweigh the negatives and disappointment of last weekend.
Ending on a positive note, I would like to thank Joey. He has led a team to safety despite trying circumstances at times - whatever happends in regards to punishment happends, but the positive side of Joey's game in the latter part of the season has been an inspiration and I hope those that purely want to pillory the midfielder will remember his contributions - his ample contributions - in retaining QPR's Premier League status.