Few of us like Mondays but The Fifth Official does, for it brings with it a chance for him to point the finger and laugh. Here he pulls out the pretty, the puzzling and the downright pig-ugly from the past week in football.
An open letter to Carlos Tevez
Retire. Please. We've all had it up to our luminous pink snoods with you, we really have. Ever since you arrived in this country, you have caused grief for the people who employ you on exorbitant wages, and crapped on about how little you love the game that we happen to hold dear. So now I think it is time you left the Premier League, and took your brand of multi-millionaire-misery to other shores.
You see, Carlos, your job is to kick a football, and for that job you are reportedly paid £286,000-a-week minus tax, meaning your gross pay is over half-a-million a month. There are so many things wrong with that nugget of financial information it makes me want to weep. Everywhere you have been, you have left a trail of destruction and insulted the values of the famous English clubs you have played for. Even Mario Balotelli is starting to look like a rational individual compared to you.
I understand that you miss your children, but there is no need to act like one, whatever your agent/assistant/economic-rights-holder/life-partner Kia Joorabchian says. How can you say you respect City's 'patient' fans when you treat them like this? And wasn't it you decrying a lack of respect in the game just a few weeks ago? Don't you keep banging on about retirement in the same breath as saying a move to Italy or Spain would interest you?
I also notice you managed to release a statement slamming the club but retained warm words for the owner, whose pockets pay for the ludicrous sum you earn. It seems to me like you know where your bread is buttered.
So come on, Carlos, enough is enough. You've had your fun, made your money and cemented a reputation on the back of the Premier League. I urge you, for the sake of our eardrums and sanity, to go, walk out the door, just turn around now, because you're not welcome any more.
The Fifth Official
P.S. And in football news, City won impressively at West Ham, no thanks to you or Mario.
I beg your Pardew?
It's a welcome return to the stand-up circuit for Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias, who have decided to follow up last year's smash hit Joe f***ing Kinnear with a new reality show called I beg your Pardew, featuring a Champagne Charlie they met in a shady London casino. So sit back, and let the good times roll as the biggest comedy club on the planet declare themselves back open for business.
Sacked by Southampton a few months back, beg your Pardew attracted less than 2% support in a local newspaper poll, largely due to his own ten votes, and, in an immediate mutual vote of no confidence between gaffer and owners, was forced to meet the sceptical press all on his lonesome. Presumably grinning oaf Ashley and his sidekick Del Boy had a prior engagement with the rest of the cockney mafia.
Through no fault of his own, though, Newcastle came up trumps, as they demonstrated that the spirit of personality powerhouse Chris Hughton still flowed in their black-and-white veins.
Despite a horror show from the plodding Sol Campbell, who played as if he were marking Houdini, and a thoroughly unnecessary bout of crotch-grabbing from Joey Barton during his tiff with Fernando Torres, good old Andy Carroll led the way with two assists and a goal - not to mention the shedding of another outstanding assault charge - all of which led Woy to rake his own face in frustration towards the end.
Everyone dedicated the win to Hughton, including the man who had no shame in plotting his downfall with the shameful owners, and the Toon Army sloped off with their longing for revolt only marginally slayed, fully aware that things will start to rapidly disintegrate, oh, about now.
We don't need another Heurelho
The Blues' bumbling bandwagon rolls on after Didier Drogba shunned a glorious opportunity to breathe new life into a title charge that has been swilling round a bedpan since early-November. Relegated to the bench by cuddly Carlo Ancelotti, the Drog spent most of the first half sulking as hard on the bench as Nicolas Anelka did on the pitch. But then his big moment came.
On as a second-half substitute, he did at least add some attacking impetus to a forward line that seemed entirely reliant on the headless chicken-style running of Mr Chelsea himself, John Terry. But after a neat handball over Michael Dawson's head, the Ivorian induced another rick in 'We need don't need another Heurelho' Gomes, who let a fierce but fair shot go through him and into the net, despite a late engagement of the dancefloor worm.
And after the 'keeper treated Ramires like an irate policeman treats a streaker, the Drog had a golden chance to prove a point to his boss as well as reignite the flickering flame that is Chelsea's season. Despite regular penalty taker Frank Lampard being on the field, Drogba took responsibility and fired a weak shot at saveable height to hand redemption to a Brazilian who barely deserved it.
Drogba sheepishly made his way from the arena without so much as a glance at his manager, while JT was on the telly acting like he was the manager, saying he couldn't fault "my players". Perhaps he knows something we don't. Actually, no, I'm pretty sure he doesn't.
You and Hou's army?
Predictably, Gerard Houllier's return to Liverpool - the club he thinks he is secretly still in charge of - prompted him to engage his loose Gallic gob to horrendous effect. After an erotic caress of the 'This is Anfield' sign, he launched a pathetic half wave to a disinterested Kop then said if his Aston Villa team were going to be spanked 3-0, at least it was by Liverpool. A backlash ensued, before Hou finally forced out an apology as insincere as the wife's after she accidentally spills a cup of hot tar over your PS3.
In Hou's busy week of fostering discontent, he also managed to provoke fury in Richard the Dunney monster in training, after the papers claimed the tubby Irish defender slammed assistant boss Gary McAllister for his "dark age" approach and "desperate" tactics. His reward was a place on the bench for the Midlands derby, a spot he might well be getting used to in the coming weeks. Paradoxically, the back line looked emptier without his big-boned frame but a lot sturdier at the same time.
Yet it was the return of the old plodder up front Emile Heskey, and Villa's pint-sized winger Marc Albrighton, that finally did for the Baggies. Two devilish balls in from the winger, and one fortunate flick of Heskey's tree trunk neck, bought Hou at least another week in his quest to alienate everyone at Villa, the Midlands and the entire country.
Camp as a row of tents
Oh how amusement abounded on Sunday afternoon as the Lancashire derby produced a sublime minute's worth of action to help cut down to size a manager who needs it more than most. Step forward, Big Sham, who ran the full gamut of emotions in 60 precious seconds back on the hallowed turf where he forged his reputation as a pie-guzzling, anti-football protagonist.
In truth, Bolton's clash with Blackburn had been as pointless as alcohol-free lager until Mark Davies had the decency to smash a forearm into Phil Jones' face and promptly liven up proceedings. Then the man brought on to bolster Bolton's midfield had the temerity to score before Mame Diouf clipped an 87th-minute equaliser into the net to force an outbreak of what can only be described as 'camp pogo-ing' from Sham.
So imagine his despair, and the rest of the country's delight, when just ten seconds after Bolton had kicked off, the ball was nestling snugly in the back of Rovers' net. The swing of emotion was so intense that it rendered Sham agog, frozen in time as if his arteries had been claimed by a particularly stodgy steak and kidney pie.
At least the camp element survived, as Owen Coyle danced a jig of delight in those knee-high socks he insists on wearing every week. Now there's a man who is comfortable with his sexuality.
Don't forget, you can help The Fifth Official's bid to attract more followers on Twitter than Sepp Blatter at www.twitter.com/fifthofficial