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Barton has spent most of this season rehabilitating his image in the hope of losing his reputation for being a violent thug and instead cultivating one as an enigmatic thinker who sticks it to the man and tells it like it is.
For so long, it appeared to be working, as his retweets of Nietzsche quotes on Twitter and fondness for The Smiths got many journalists believing he was a reformed character who deserved a second chance.
And then, on the final day of the Premier League season, it all came crashing down.
Barton was admittedly provoked by Carlos Tevez in QPR's match against Manchester City which they needed a point to be sure of avoiding relegation, but after his retaliation was spotted by the officials and earned him a red card, Barton went on the rampage.
The midfielder kneed Sergio Aguero in the back of the leg in a cowardly act of bullying, before he tried to land a head butt on Vincent Kompany, who showed remarkable restraint when he arrived on the scene.
Typically, Barton took to Twitter later that evening to claim he was trying to get a City player sent off with him, and then launched a tirade against Match of the Day presenters Alan shearer and Gary Lineker. The exchanges are rounded up here very nicely by the Mail.
Barton was charged with violent conduct for both of those acts after the red card was shown, accepting the first and denying the second, meaning he could start next season with a suspension that runs into double figures.