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Chris Charles | 12:16 UK time, Friday, 9 October 2009

After years of flaunting their wealth, falling out of clubs and dropping their trousers in public, it seems footballers have decided humility is the new cool.

Carlos Tevez started the trend by apologising to West Ham fans for scoring against them, and since then players have been queueing up to disprove Elton John's lament that Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.

Why just this week we've had Richard Dunne forcing his arms down after netting for Villa against City, while Middlesbrough's Leroy Lita was equally reticent after netting his second goal against his old chums at Reading.

What next - Sir Alex Ferguson praising referees? Arsene Wenger witnessing controversial incidents? West Ham supporters holding a benefit dinner for Paul Ince?
Stephen Ireland's girlfriend and the Bentley (Copyright Cavendish Press)
The car's the star (Copyright Cavendish Press)
In these strange times of breaking bread and offering olive branches, it's reassuring to know that at least one star is still playing up to the stereotype. Yes, good old Stephen Ireland (he of the Superman pants) was all over the papers after pimping his girlfriend's ride with truly shocking results.

The Man City midfielder splashed out £260,000 on a gleaming white Bentley for Jessica Lawlor, complete with full boy-racer makeover, which included changing the famous 'B' insignia to 'JL' and having a loveheart stitched into the driver's seat containing the message 'To Jess Love From Stephen'. Aaaahh.

The motor has come in for stick from all sides, but one Daily Mail reader felt obliged to leap to Ireland's defence. "If they are pleased with the effect, that is all that matters. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the thought behind it is great. Many, if offered the car would grab it with both hands. Enjoy your present, never mind the media".....said Marian in Essex.

Ireland you may recall had his red and white Audi resprayed blue after team-mates teased him about driving around in the colours of their hated rivals. So it came as a surprise to see the alloy wheels and trim of Jesscia's Bentley decked out in a distinct shade of United red. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Talking of cars and Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner has been recalling his horror smash of a couple of weeks back, hailing the fact that he walked away unscathed as 'a miracle'. Indeed it was, although some would argue the real phenomenon took place last weekend, when he AND Dimitar Berbatov both managed to score in the Premier League. Truly astounding.

Meanwhile, Berba's boss was up to his old tricks after laying into Alan Wiley by adopting that famous terrace mantra 'you're not fit to referee'. As The Sunday Times wryly observed: "It was straight out of the top drawer of the cabinet marked 'Sir Alex Ferguson Diversionary Tactics'."

Fergie, who a fortnight earlier was seen laughing and joking with Wiley when United were winning (that's the key word) the Manchester derby, suggested the official was off the pace, while some of his European counterparts were "as fit as a butcher's dog". Incidentally, when was the last time you saw a butcher walking a dog? No, me neither.

Sir Alex found an ally in Gillingham boss Mark Stimson, who claimed refs were bringing criticism on themselves by taking to the field in increasingly flamboyant strips. Stimson said: "It's a crazy decision to put a referee in a pinky shirt. They get enough abuse as it is - but as soon as they walk on the pitch with that shirt, people laugh at them."

He's got a point - "Who's the w***** in the pink" just doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

From pink to blue and in the week the Tories announced plans to raise the retirement age, Owen Coyle decided it was time to dust off his boots. The Burnley manager made Ryan Giggs look like Brooklyn Beckham as he played up front for the reserves against Liverpool at the grand old age of 43.

While he didn't manage to get on the scoresheet, Coyle admitted he found the experience enjoyable and set a fine example to his young team-mates when he was substituted by somehow resisting the urge to throw his shirt to the floor and storm down the tunnel.

Staying in the Premier League and following on from the recent revelations that Sheffield United's Glen Little is known as 'Blakey' from On the Buses and David Ngog is called 'Wash', Wayne Rooney revealed that once he leaves training, it's goodbye Wazza and hello Jimmy.

The United striker told The Sun: "When I'm back home with my family and friends I'm just Jimmy. I've been called it since I was about 10."

He explained: "It's after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. He used to do a cartwheel when he scored. I did it once when I was a kid and since then I've always been Jimmy."
Fair enough - although it's the kid growing up in the Congo when Bongo Christ was at his footballing peak that I feel sorry for.

The best name in English football at the moment has to Swansea's Angel Rangel. It takes me back to the days when glam rock ruled the world and the main protagonists had offspring called Rolan Bolan and Zowie Bowie. Let's hope James Blunt doesn't jump on the bandwagon.
Raymond Domenech and Thierry HenryWho loves ya baby?
Staying with music (loosely) and under-fire France boss Raymond Domenech has had a welcome distraction from their iffy World Cup campaign after a song about him topped the charts. The ditty, entitled Je Kiffe Raymond (I Fancy Raymond), is performed by former porn actress Catherine Ringer and includes the line "If he attacked my penalty area, I would be without defenders".

Wrong on so many levels, although I bet like me you're dying to hear it. (It's even got a bit of Chas 'n' Dave piano.)

Unlucky break of the week concerned striker Kris Boyd, who faces a long spell on the sidelines after he blew his nose and discovered he had a fractured eye socket. No laughing matter, I'm sure you'll agree - although it brings a whole new meaning to the old football cliché 'suffered an injury blow'.

Horror story of the week involved Roy Keane, who put the willies up an intrepid BBC reporter brave (or foolish) enough to ask him about his future at Portman Road. The Ipswich boss fixed his inquisitor with a stare that made Michael Myers look like Timmy Mallett and growled: "I refuse to answer that question."

I'll put a link to the scary footage here, but be warned, it's like The Ring - once you've seen it, it will stay with you forever.

And finally, hats off to Hull City, who bounced back from the 6-1 thrashing by Liverpool to beat Wigan. Phil Brown fired up his troops after the Anfield disaster by banning them from the club restaurant and taking the plug off the coffee machine.

To emphasise the point, he stuck a sign on it reading Out of Order, above which someone cheekily scrawled the word 'Bang'. Jimmy Bullard was unavailable for comment.

Have a good weekend one and all - and a special hello to jimmyupnorth , who last week wrote: "I'm seriously wondering if you'll ever get thru a blog without mentioning queens park bloody rangers". Jimmy, your wish is my command - I didn't even make reference to the fact that we've leapfrogged Man City to become the world's richest club once again. Oh damn.


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