Queens Park Rangers will no doubt take a few more days before announcing the result of their deliberations over Joey Barton: ‘do we keep him or do we let him go?’
They’re fooling no one. Barton is finished at Loftus Road. Their investigation will have centred on the cheapest way of paying him off.
Barton himself fooled a lot of people this season, his musings on Twitter and that appearance on Newsnight giving some the impression of him as a footballing intellectual or, at least, a reformed character. No, he remains a thug, on and off the field.
The drama of the conclusion to that game at the Etihad, the wrenching of the title away from Manchester United’s grasp into that of City’s, deflected attention away from the disgraceful behaviour of the QPR captain: made worse by his post-match admission that he’d wanted to “take a City player with him”.
It’s a shame a life-ban would have been unenforceable. Twelve games must do, though I doubt there’s another club daft enough to take a risk on a player who still considers himself the best midfielder in England. Deluded or not?