To many he's the mote in the black eye of the unacceptable face of football, but friends of Joey Barton have portrayed an altogether gentler side of the wild man of Manchester City this week.
Seemingly on his way out from the not-even-bad-enough-to-be-interesting-anymore Eastlands outfit, Barton has again hit the headlines this weak as Mr Bust, and Mr Up called round on Mr Training and Mr Ground in a frantic outburst of sporting news clichés.
But friends of the troubled star, who has undergone anger management training and been told to wear some flowers in his hair, say the Bart has learned his lesson.
A pal, who asked not to be named for fear that his friends, family, colleagues and neighbours would ostracise him and flea from his presence, said: "It's easy to paint a picture of Joey as some kind of beast just because he keeps attacking people and never ever seems to stop attacking people.
"But that's not the Joey I know.
"OK, so he has attacked a few times, but who hasn't?" He added.
"He's incolsolable now, and this is the mark of the real Joey Barton - not the angry red welts he leaves across the faces of others, those aren't the marks of the real Joey Barton. He's inconsolable because yesterday was probably the best drying day of the year and, because of all this fuss, he didn't manage to get his washing out - the freshness of a really sunny but breezy day in your sheets is the sort of thing that gets Joey excited these days, not the chance of an on or off field mashing."
Others from the Barton circle were similarly keen to paint a picture of man who if he did say boo to a goose, would say it very much in a light-hearted, even supportive way.
'Yes Joey's attacked me, and still does on occasion, but that doesn't make him a monster' seemed to be the consensus on this most misunderstood of footballers.
One even believed Liverpudlian Barton was attacking people out of the goodness of his heart.
Again, declining to give his name, the pal said: "Look, it's Man City isn't it. Have you seen them lately? Joey says he wouldn't pay to watch 'em, though he tries to! Lots of City fans are feeling the same.
"Joey's smashing of colleagues is a way to bring a bit of life to a season that is so tedious for Blue Mancs they could barely be bothered to invent new abuse for Ronaldo for the derby!
"Besides, anyone who knows City fans will tell you they're never happy unless they've got some crisis or other to moan about, and in providing that Joey's doing important healing psychological work."
Stuart Pearce, the player's long-suffering boss, said he had nothing to say.
"I've got nothing to say," he said.