Either the heart or the head cheered wildly for Roy Keane when he made his remarks about weak players under the thumbs of their shopaholic, London-obsessed WAGS.
But not, from where I’m sitting, both head and heart at the same time.
I was ecstatic to be back in Sunderland on Saturday to see a winning return to the Premiership. And where was I not much more than 48 hours after the final whistle? On a Ryanair flight’s final approach to Toulon airport. To Mme Salut, St Tropez – or near enough for us to be able to afford it – has the edge on Shildon.
Keano’s remarks, which I imagine will have been warmly applauded throughout the North East, hark back to another age for anyone married to a remotely modern woman.
It doesn’t matter whether she wants to shop in Bond Street, Milan or the Metro Centre. She just insists on being consulted, not being treated as part of the furniture. And being a woman, she’ll take all that consultation and attention and still complain that she’s being treated like part of the furniture.
The good old days may well have been when you could, with a straight face, recite the little verse:
A woman, a child, a dog all three. The more you beat them, they better they be.
But each component of that recipe for betterment would land you in court these days.
Once, when we were living in Ealing, I started musing to my French wife about how we should aim to avoid both Paris and London rat races and divide our time – once, if ever, we could stretch to the cost – between the south of France and somewhere up Swaledale.
I was thinking that would combine her love of both parts of the world and my desire to be a lot nearer to the Stadium of Light, or maybe it was then Roker Park. Swaledale prices had not by that stage gone throught the roof.
So what was my reward for these self-evidently considerate, New Mannish thoughts? She laughed on an off for three days, pausing mostly only to berate me for my stupidity.
Of course, I am not a player, let alone the half decent one Keano says can expect to make millions by the time he’s 35, when his chosen member of the WAGS clan can safely begin plotting a move to Outer Space for all he cares.
But I am hardly alone in having had to take into account a wife’s feelings, and my own physical safety (proving, in a phrase, Keano’s “weakling” jibe), when choosing the various places married life has taken us.
In our case, it just makes for an interesting series of excuses/manipulations/stratagems to ensure that I am in the right place, that is to say the football ground where Sudnerland are playing, when I need to be.