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Carlos the Hackle

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Robbo Robson | 06:30 UK time, Saturday, 23 January 2010

Topo Gigio may sound like a headline from a Spanish newspaper on the winner of BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2009, but it's actually a puppet mouse from Argentine kids' TV.

I've had a look at it and the character looks like some half-wit Mickey Mouse, but nevertheless he is a character very dear to little Carlos Tevez's heart. That's why, when scoring a vital goal against United on Tuesday, he chose to remember the bumpkin rodent by cupping his hands behind his ears. It is the Mickey Mouse Cup after all.

Of course only those with an intellect as dim as a TV screen in a third umpire's referral box could think that the gesture was actually a reminder to the United board members that he didn't get listened to while he was there.

What you may not know is that the thumb and forefinger shaped into a yapping dog's mouth was by no means a pointed memo to the watching Times of Malta journalist and erstwhile footballer Gary Neville.
Carlos TevezCarlos Tevez reacts after scoring against Manchester United
No! It was a celebration of Yappi-Woof-Woof, an hilarious street-mongrel from Buenos Aires who had his own daytime kids' talk show in the 90s. I lie. What it apparently meant was 'Shut it, sock-sucker!' (I typed that right carefully I can tell you.)

On the other hand, Gary's non-verbal response was to indicate exactly how many times his brother Phil should've played for England (all right he added a one to that tally) which is clearly why the FA (ah the sweet FA) are taking no action on the matter.

Tevez did the game a right favour. For the neutral - and I was entirely indifferent to the result - the Vengeful Gaucho storyline was a total winner.

Never mind that Rafael's challenge couldn't have knocked pollen out of a catkin... Carlos's spot-kick was rasped in with all the venom of Van Helsing at the end of a wooden stake.

Never mind that the second goal was a result of that most enjoyable of present United failings, the clump-of-eight-year-olds-on-a-windy-Saturday-morning style defending, it meant that a true story emerged from what was a poor game.

I've got sympathy for Carlos. I wasn't quite sure why he was chosen as the City poster-boy - except as an explicit bit of wind-uppery. He's got 13 goals in 11 games but for all that I've never been sure if he's that good. Course, he's one of them players that we fans love 'cos he chases every lost cause - a kind of snarling Dirk Kuyt. I felt a bit sorry for Benjani when he replaced the main man and got the bird for not closing down the keeper like some sort of attack whippet.

Nevertheless he's a good lad to have around is Tev, and on current form he's proved us doubters wrong. And given that he was dropped last season, often as not for that Bulgarian begonia Berbatov, you can kind of see why there might just be a large side-orders of fries on each shoulder.

And while he was undoubtedly making his point, at least he didn't run from one end of the pitch to the other to invoke a Gary Nevillian response from the fans. Good to hear Adebayor might be back by the way - a packed house of Mancs will be nothing compared to what he's been through.

In the meantime Villa Park played host to a festival of goals that no one could've predicted.

Big Sam had a justifiable moan about the push by Agbonlahor for the first Villa goal. The more I watch young Gaby the more I reckon his namesake Mrs Logan could do a better job. He's got all the attributes, not least the relentlessness of one of them Tevez terriers, but when in on goal he's like my grandson with a plate of greens - I just never expect him to finish it off.

Still Sam failed to mention that the lad Samba from the Congo was the main architect of Blackburn's downfall, lopping down Gabriel and getting himself a well-earned red card.

It all added up to a good bit of Carling Cup fare. I still fancy United to turn City over in the return, but I hope Villa win the final any road.

In the meantime we've had a right old bit of EastEnders malarkey going on dahn the old Boleyn Grahnd, ain't we, Mary Poppins. Every time that E20 night-club gets taken over there's usually someone turns up looking like David Sullivan and David Gold. My, how they were togged up for their press conference!
David SullivanDavid Sullivan and his coat

Sullivan's claret jacket was an absolute master-stroke. He looked for all the world like a former Showaddywaddy singer who now worked the door at a special interest cinema. Not that that would be at all appropriate.

And does Gold always have initials on his belt like his Mum has put a well-blinged name-tag on it on his first day at infants?

They're claiming they bought the club 'cos they're fans - never the greatest recommendation, but at least they didn't buy it to load it with debt from other businesses.

They also want the Olympic stadium after the 2010 shebang. Only they don't want the 25,000 capacity that's been planned or the running track around the pitch. Answer: bring your own chair and put it on the running track. Winkles stall. Jellied Eels. 'Alf-time knees-up. Kegs of ale. Ruud van 'cor blimey guv' Nistelrooy. Wallop! Job done!

At least they've kept Zola. For now. Which is good, 'cos I like the man.
And I'm sure we could all sympathise with the World's Greatest Golfer and the apparent imposition of 18 weeks of celibacy. He should think himself lucky. I may be on the same sentence - I just wish the wife'd tell me.


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