What Joey Barton really said about Newcastle and England
He'd just played 65 minutes of Newcastle's reserve game against Wigan, spurred on the rest of his young team-mates in the second string and then stayed to sign autographs for some kids until every one of them was satisfied.
However, the reserve scene was nothing new to Barton - after all he had been to the rest of Newcastle's second string games to cheer on the future of the club and had played in their last game at Man City at the start of his comeback.
Then in his only interview with a newspaper - because none of the others bothered to turn up - Barton speaks of his hopes and dreams as his return to Premier League action gets nearer.
His words were exactly what Newcastle fans wanted to hear but clearly met with disapproval from the rest of the country.
Today Barton woke up to headlines of Stuff England and how the interview was a rant over Michael Owen's fitness situation.
What Barton actually said to the Evening Chronicle was: ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã ÂEngland is on the back-burner for me without a shadow of a doubt.
ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã ÂI havenÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢t been bought to play for England ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ I am here to play for Newcastle United.
ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã ÂPeople get carried away about playing for their country.
ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã ÂIt is always nice to be selected, and it is always a privilege and an honour.
ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã ÂBut the thing I have to do first and foremost is to do what I have been bought to do and that is play good football for Newcastle.
ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã ÂIf England comes then so be it, but I have played for them once now and thatÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢ll do for me. I am more interested in winning domestic honours.
ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã ÂThis is my bread and butter and at the minute, hand on heart I would much rather be successful for Newcastle United than I would for England.ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬?
At no point did Barton say he didn't want to play for England.
At no point was Michael Owen's name mentioned.
Barton was merely nailing his colours to the Toon mast.
And unlike some of mercenaries (Luque, Marcelino, Kluivert, Jenas etc) that Newcastle have paid ridiculous amounts of money to Barton has shown more commitment to the cause at United before he's even kicked a ball in the Premier League.
And even before he gave the Chronicle an interview we knew:
*He'd been to every first team game to cheer on his team-mates, even when he was on crutches at Bolton
*Been to watch the club's Academy kids come through the reserves on a chilly night at St James' Park when he could have put his feet up and watched the Champions League matches
*Had even turned up to help Toon coaches on scouting missions.
In an era when anything anybody says in the public domain can be twisted and twirled until the heart's content, perhaps Barton's "rant" is no surprise.
But as far as Newcastle fans are concerned the truth will always out and if that is Barton showing his promise on the football field to Newcastle United's advantage then there won't be too many complaints about England or lack of first team opportunities.
And in any case as far as most Geordies are concerned winning even the Carling Cup would mean much, much more than watching the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard kissing each other after helping England to winning the World Cup, if that ever happens.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?