Manchester mania may be affecting my thinking
THE Manchester derby build-up has been dominated by the question about whether this is a genuine title-decider: will the winner go on to lift the Premier League trophy?
I'm reluctant to chip in with my thoughts on that because after both sides sickened me so muchon Sunday, I can't bring myself to admit that either team will.
The first thing to make my stomach churn was the amount of cash Carlos Tevez can expect to pocket if he helps guide his team to the title – I think it was £40m or something like that – but I've also been riled by the adulation that this worst of football mercenaries will inevitably receive from fickle Man City fans if he plays his part.
I know it's not the worst crime on the planet but even so, the money that bloke gets makes me pull the same expression as when I have a sip of tea and realise the milk is off.
I shouldn't be sickened by the excesses of football players' salaries at this stage but I don't like to think I'll ever to be immune to the worst cases.
Similarly, I shouldn't feel queasy when I learn about Manchester United's shameless commercial ventures.
But I do.
Their latest is a single called You Raise Me Up, which is sung by Cleopatra (remember them? Comin' atcha?) alongside, wait for it, the winner of Malaysian Pop Idol.
I know it's for a worthy charity but I suspect it could also have something to do with selling a few more shirts to The Far East Market.
No offence to the winner of Malaysian Pop Idol – I'm sure she's as talented as the winners of UK Pop Idol– but after watching her belt out some corny tripe in a studio while wearing a United shirt I felt like I had witnessed one of the most embarrassing sellouts by anyone in the history of reality TV.
And it almost goes without saying that we're talking about a pretty competitive heat there.
As for Cleopatra, who once performed for City fans before kick-off at Maine Road but appear to have switched allegiance, they were last seen competing alongside forgotten stars of the 90s to become the new face of Dime bar.
The campaign was called Second Dime Around, offered a prize of £5,000 and promised celebrities from Britain's past that they could become 'famous' once more. I assume they didn't win.
At least the video for the song, which features Bryan Robson and Paddy Crerand, has a sense of humour.
At one stage we're treated to a shot of a list of the names of United legends.
Robson is at the centre – what a player!
The camera zooms out, we see the name of Denis Law – an absolute legend.
Then Diego Forlan pops into the frame.
Hang on, great player but wasn't he a total flop at Old Trafford?
Wait a minute, Daniel Nardiello?
What on earth is this list and who made it?
Speaking of lists, my shortlist for wagers on this clash lengthens every time I speak to someone but even though I don't think it's impossible to find an edge, itis pretty difficult.
I think the draw is a shade big given that United would be reasonably happy with that outcome but I keep flitting between being convinced it will be a high-scoring thriller and certain that it'll be a tense scrap.
And am I mad for thinking Rio Ferdinand is a shade big at 80-1 to score first?