Joey Barton's future must be at Newcastle United
Joey Barton has made it crystal clear that he wants to stay on Tyneside and that can only be a good thing for Newcastle United and the members of the Toon Army who appear to adore him.
It was pretty obvious how much United missed him when he was in the sin bin last month and if he can stay fit there is no reason why the Magpies can seal a bit more than just survival.
The Scouser was obviously deeply upset to see Chris Hughton leave as manager and his post-game "The King is dead, long live the King" line underlined his feelings for the Londoner who won over the Geordie nation.
Talk later was triggered that he wanted to leave St James' Park.
But I always found this a bit unconvincing.
Not long after Barton had told Toon fans to put him down when they tried to hold him in the air at Home Park after the Plymouth game, I had asked the Huyton lad about his future.
I asked him short-term and long-term, the short-term answer was to get fully match fit with the end of the season coming at a bad time for the player.
The long-term answer was a staggering response: "I'd stay, hopefully they'll be in the Premier League but knowing me I'd play in League One if they ended up there!"
The words of Barton yesterday were also heart warming for Toon fans when talking about talk linking him with an exit.
He said: "I was actually laughing about it this morning saying that I thought ÃÂ£1.5m was a little bit cheap and if I was them, I would ask for more, and we had a good giggle about it.
"People write what they write, it is silly season. I have always gone on record about the affinity I have got with the fans at this football club, and the football club and my fellow players.
"I have been on record as saying I want to stay here for the rest of my career. Nothing has happened and no-one has told me otherwise, and as far as I'm concerned, that's what's going to happen."
Barton - despite his mistakes - has proved to many to be a working class hero and this wonderful ability to entertain the masses (not to mention providing superb copy for the media) certainly seems to irritate those who feel they are near the top of the social hierarchy.
For me, and a lot of genuine Newcastle supporters, Barton is a key part of the future for Newcastle and with the likes of Andy Carroll tied down for the next five years, the next most important contract to be sorted out is for the ex-Manchester City player.
His ability on the field is one thing but without him Newcastle United are a lot less influential.