Joey Baton of relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers decided to take a break from his Twitter addiction last week, possibly due to pressure from the club, more likely because he’s fallen deeply into disfavor with R’s fans who booed him unmercifully during last week’s 3-2 home defeat of Liverpool. Though acknowledging Barton in recent years has added activism and a political conscience to a resume that previously included acts of public thuggery, the Daily Mail’s Laura Williamson would undoubtedly like to see Barton disappear from the social networking platform altogether, writing, “Barton comes across as a mean, dislikeable individual; the classic playground bully who revels in snide ripostes and stamping on those with a lower profile — simply because he can.” Which is a very long-winded way of saying he’s really good at making Piers Morgan cry.

Barton’s behaviour was particularly despicable when he insulted Neil Warnock earlier this year. The former QPR boss said owner Tony Fernandes had been ‘slowly poisoned from outside the club and no doubt from within the club as well’. Barton responded by telling Warnock to ‘shut it’, calling him ‘embarrassing’ and comparing him to Mike Bassett, a fictional football manager and a figure of fun.

‘If I talked about Neil, he’d do well to get another job,’ added the player Warnock made captain of QPR after Newcastle United were so desperate to get rid of him they let him leave for free.

It was unprofessional and smacked of ingratitude, but it was typical of the way Barton responds to those who hit back. He simply dismisses them with utter contempt.

‘Spineless maggots’ was the phrase he used to describe two journalists who dared to criticise him. ‘Numpty’ was another example. The fans who have paid good money to watch a string of average performances at Loftus Road from QPR’s No 17 this season are ‘bells’ and ‘trolls’.

As Barton himself has noted, form is temporary but class — or lack of it — is permanent. For all his highfalutin talk about freedom of speech and his undoubted intelligence, his responses are consistently shallow and insulting.