The whole Joey Barton to Rangers affair didn't quite go according to plan for the club, and it seemingly hasn't for the player, either.
Following a club-imposed suspension in the wake of a well-documented training ground bust-up in September, Barton lasted just one day in his return to training in Glasgow last Thursday.
Despite Rangers officially stating that "appropriate training arrangements would be made for him as long as he remains a Rangers player", the 34-year-old English midfielder, who last appeared for the club during a 5-1 humiliation at the hands of Celtic, has now officially been signed off from Rangers duty "due to stress", as per Sky Sports.
Now, it's worth noting that stress and such mental difficulties are certainly nothing to be scoffed at, particularly when confirmed by a doctor. But with rumours rife that Barton is on the brink of earning himself a lucrative severance package from the club, it'd be fair to say Rangers fans weren't quite as understanding as one might be towards someone who, say, isn't a professional footballer.
Joey Barton signed off on the sick with stress ffs whatever next
— andrew fotheringham (@FogwahAndrew) November 8, 2016
Joey Barton off on stress baffles me, how the fuck can you be stressed when your picking up an easy 20k every week 🤔
— MikeyRussell (@MikeeyRussell) November 8, 2016
Joey Barton signed off with stress 😂😂😂. Wonder if he will need to fill in the DLA form like normal folk #therangers
— Ricky (@Hibssoldier) November 8, 2016
— Gerry Braiden (@BraidenGB) November 8, 2016
Of course, buying ice-creams or kicking a ball for a living by no means ward off stress or other such mental health problems. But headlines such as the Daily Mail's 'Joey Barton signed off with 'stress' as midfielder looks for Rangers exit deal' don't exactly cast the former Newcastle and QPR midfielder in a particularly sympathetic light, and the majority of Rangers fans don't seem keen on entertaining the notion.
Negotiations have reportedly been taking place over the last 48 hours for a compromise agreement to allow both parties to rip up Barton's contract with Rangers.
Last week, Barton's former Manchester City colleague Danny Mills warned that the combustible Barton could turn 'volatile' if he didn't find a way out of Ibrox, and expressed that were Barton to snap, Rangers could simply sack him:
It seems quite clear Rangers are trying to freeze him out, but training with the kids will frustrate Joey and either he leaves in January or they frustrate him and keep prodding at him and he might snap and they can get away with sacking him.
It will be very difficult for him. He will probably look at it and say: 'It's eight weeks until the transfer window, I'll get my head down.' But if he doesn't get a move then all parties might have to look at the situation - it could turn volatile.
With Barton no longer training with the club, it would appear such volatility won't come to fruition as his Rangers career draws to a close.