A few weeks back, QPR fans were serenading their skipper with chants of “Joey Barton, he tweets what he wants.”
After Wednesday night, they may want to revise it to: “He tweets it best when he tweets nothing at all.”
Barton took a self-imposed sabbatical from Twitter after being dropped for the Sunderland game, with the boos of disgruntled fans still ringing in his ears.
And while we all miss his philosophical musings and tales of banging nights out following a Saturday defeat, it seems to have done the trick.
After weeks of looking like he’d struggle to pass water, let alone a football, Barton stepped up to the plate against Arsenal, before producing a master-class against Swansea, dictating the play, making a goal-line clearance and scoring a tidy opener, prompting the refrain: “We’ve got our captain back.”
The visitors weren’t afforded the same respect by the home support after their patient build-up play was reinterpreted as “It’s just like watching paint dry”.
“Fulham have brought in chickens to their training ground to lay fresh eggs for their players – and if they could see their way to beating Wigan in a week’s time, that would be clucking marvellous.”
And while Brendan Rodgers’ team deserve all the plaudits that have come their way this season, it seems the immaculately-applied make-up is beginning to flake off, revealing worrying cracks underneath.
While I couldn’t fathom the logic of booing old boy Wayne Routledge, the Swans were clearly out of their comfort zone in the claustrophobic confines of Loftus Road.
Incredibly over the past three home games, HQ has been transformed from a help yourself buffet to an Anne Robinson catchphrase – Liverpool, Arsenal, Swansea, you leave with nothing.
Indeed, the Swans were lucky to get nil as their famed passing game unravelled quicker than a Murder She Wrote plot.
Aside from Barton, Diakite was immense, while those partners in rhyme Mackie and Buszaky applied the coups de grace – the latter with an exquisite 25-yarder that was strangely kept off Sky’s goals of the week selection by a Robin van Persie penalty.
Even Rangers’ often dodgy defence was, like many home fans after the game, well-oiled, as they kept their first clean sheet in the league since that heady day in October when the noisy neighbours were silenced.
At the centre of it all was that colossus (we just like watching) Clint Hill, whose incredible run of form has been nearly as surprising as Manchester United being denied a stonewall penalty at Wigan on Wednesday evening.
I know I should have been rooting for our relegation rivals to lose but after the grave injustice they suffered at Chelsea on Easter Saturday, coupled with events at Old Trafford the following day, I couldn’t help thinking that Shaun Derry had arranged for the Karma Police to pay a visit to the DW Stadium.
After Ashley Young went down quicker than the ill-fated ship we have been remembering this week, even the normally reserved QPR chief executive Philip Beard was moved to tweet: “Ashley Young could partner Tom Daley at the Olympics.”
Incredibly Shaun of the Red was not shorn of the red when the FA’s little panel had their secretive meeting, holed up in a nuclear bunker somewhere deep underground to discuss what to do about Messrs Derry and Balotelli.
They eventually emerged to tell the outside world that as long as you play for a big club you can dive and almost slice someone in half and no further action will be taken.
It’s a good job I don’t feel passionately about any of this, otherwise I could have rambled on for a bit there. And don’t get me started on the original offside.
Thankfully things improved for QPR after that, starting with Liverpool’s dramatic late win at Blackburn – a game which had me cowering behind the sofa for the first time since Jon Pertwee was fighting the Daleks.
The importance of the result was summed up by my Liverpool-supporting other half
congratulating me on her team’s victory.
Elsewhere in west London, Fulham and Chelsea fought out an entertaining derby draw at Craven Cottage, days after the Whites had put in an imperious performance to turn over Bolton in Lee Mason’s back garden.
It emerged this week that Fulham have brought in chickens to their training ground to lay fresh eggs for their players – and if they could see their way to beating Wigan in a week’s time, that would be clucking marvellous.
Brentford’s fine run continued as they made it five wins out of five by beating Bury, before getting a useful point at Hartlepool.
Loan striker Clinton Morrison was more than happy to take the credit as he proudly declared in one paper: “They had lost three in a row before I arrived.”
So are Brentford really a one-man team? A paragraph further down the piece shed a different light on proceedings: “Morrison, who is still waiting for his first Bees goal….”
But we’ll end where we began, and a few people on the messageboards pointed out a touching little moment between Joey Barton and Taye Taiwo when they walked off the pitch on Wednesday night, as the excitable Nigerian poured a bottle of water over his captain’s head.
The inference was that it typified the new-found bond between the squad, but from where I was sitting, Barton looked none too pleased at seeing the famed quiff getting a soaking live on TV.
Upon turning to confront his assailant he saw a grinning 6ft built-like-a-brick-outhouse defender and decided not to take the matter any further.
Even Joey’s not that daft.