Review of the week
Brrrr!!! Hands up anyone daft enough to spend the last week exposed to the bitter elements, watching 22 grown men kick a piece of leather around? Yep, me too.
Football and the weather - our two favourite national obsessions fused together by temperatures creating an atmosphere more icy than the day Roy Keane parted company with Sir Alex Ferguson.
The United boss kicked off the New Year with an uncharacteristic moan, suggesting the fixture list was rigged against his team - "They tell me it's not planned. Bloody hell!" But it's a sure fact he'll go into Sunday's huge game with Chelsea a happier man than Big Phil Scolari.
The Brazilian ended 2008 by wishing the good people of England "peace, love and job" (he might find himself looking for that last one soon) and began the current year by declaring "my players love me" (even though they currently prefer playing away).
Their special relationship was placed under strain after Chelsea were held in the FA Cup by the mighty Southend at fort-less Stamford Bridge, prompting the News of the World headline: 'Prawns 1, Shrimps 1'.
Still, at least there's always Roman Abramovich's bottomless pockets to bail the Blues out of trouble - or is there? The suggestions are there will be no new faces in January, while The Observer reported first-teamers have had their allocation of free tickets halved to cut costs.
But before worried Chelsea fans start to fear for their sugar daddy's wealth (he's down to number three on football's rich list), they will be heartened to know he reportedly managed to find £300,000 in loose change to hire the Kings Of Leon for a Christmas party in New York.
In the past, Roman is said to have spent a pretty penny to get the Klaxons for his daughter's 16th and a cool million to land Amy Winehouse for the opening of a Moscow art gallery. Incidentally, the troubled diva was spotted playing football on a Caribbean beach over the weekend - under the predictable tabloid banner 'Surely She Must Score'.
Anyway, back to the FA Cup and there was no shortage of the usual third round thrills and spills, with Nottingham Forest's stunning 3-0 win at the billionaires' playground the highlight.
New signing Wayne Bridge was paraded in front of the City faithful before the match and he must have wondered what he's let himself in for. At least he knows the £10m Chelsea got for him will be wisely spent - I hear the Rolling Stones could be available for Roman's next bash.
Elsewhere, non-league Torquay won the battle of the seaside towns, seeing off Blackpool to earn a home tie with Coventry and a year's supply of kiss-me-quick hats, while there were honourable mentions for Peterborough, Crewe and Forest Green.
And it was nice to see Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling maintaining his usual sombre, unbiased take on proceedings - giving a double-fisted salute to the camera as Hartlepool scored their second against Stoke to knock out the Potters.
Southampton were unable to conjure up a repeat of 1976 when they faced Man Utd, succumbing 3-0, and it seems all is not well at St Mary's. Lawrie McMenemy, who managed the Cup-winning side of 32 years ago, revealed the picture of him holding the trophy, which had hung in the boardroom for years, had been replaced to make way for...a train.
McMenemy said: "The excuse the chairman came up with is laughable. He said the club had recently received a painting of a train from Doncaster Rovers and there was nowhere else to put it!"
In a bad week for Rupert Lowe, he was also bizarrely pelted with 30 pieces of silver by a disgruntled fan - who was punished by being handed a season ticket for the next three years.
There was better news for Lowe's Championship rival John Madejski, who picked up a knighthood at the grand old age of 67.
According to Birmingham MD Karren Brady, the Royals owner was chatting to Blues counterpart David Sullivan when the teams recently met at St Andrew's. Sullivan apparently asked Madejski: "You've never married, John. Why?"
Madejski replied: "Why buy a book when you can join the library?" Brings a whole new meaning to the term Reading supremo.
The most apt name of the week belonged to David Pratt, who broke the record for the world's fastest red card, when he was sent off for Chippenham against Bashley after just three seconds.
New (ish) Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe also entered the record books for the quickest-ever recovery from the flu which conveniently prevented him being cup-tied with Portsmouth.
In contrast to poor old Hossam Ghaly, the £15m man milked the applause at White Hart Lane before the League Cup semi-final thrashing of Burnley, looking as fit as a fiddle - although he could be in trouble with the fashion police for his highly dodgy cap and scarf ensemble, last spotted on the set of Steptoe and Son.
Heart-warming story of the week came from Northampton, who have given 250 tickets for staff at the town's doomed Woolworths store for Saturday's League One game with Huddersfield. Apparently they considered doing the same at QPR but decided the poor employees had already suffered enough.
And finally, back to the weather - the campaign for the return of the orange ball starts here. Hats off to all you Arctic junkies preparing to watch your team this weekend (in fact probably best to keep them on). The happiest fans will undoubtedly be at Kenilworth Road - if you can cope with minus 30 in August, you can cope with anything.