And so it is with the Carlos Tevez controversy. You can get caught up in the chattering, the reckoning, the backlash against the backlash; you can consider the legalpracticalities, the opinions of Paul Scholes, or the hissy fit thrown by a young member of the Mancini family, or you can put all that in a file marked 'irrelevancies'and, as Hicks advised, just make the judgment call. There you go. He's wrong. He's toast. Tevez is finished at Manchester City. There really isnothing more to it.
Take the case of Filippo Mancini and his refusal to play as a late substitute for Manchester City's reserve team against Liverpool on August 10. Good story, I can see that. Lovely timing. And it is a mild embarrassment to his father Roberto, of course,because it means that even under his own roof the Manchester City manager cannot guarantee complete professionalism.
Yet Filippo is 20 and was a non-contract player, unpaid, in a non-competitive fixture.
Blue moves: Italian Mario Balotelli seems back in favour at Manchester City, unlike his team-mate Carlos Tevez (right)
His may have been an unimpressive prima donna strop, and it probably ended any chance of getting a place in City's elite development squad, but it bears scant comparison to the allegation that Tevez, the highest earner at the club, would not go on away at Bayern Munich, in the biggest match of the season so far.
Filippo is a narky kid, perhaps smarting that his younger brother Andrea had been introduced to the gameearlier. Until the tale of his little tantrum was unearthed, however, few even knew Mancini's offspring were around the club. They were of no importance as employees.
Scholes, by contrast, was less than two weeks from his 27th birthday and a four-time title winner when he had his moment of rebellion. Left out of the starting line-up at Liverpool on November 4, 2001, and only brought on with 13 minutes to go Manchester United were already losing 3-1, the final score he was then included in the team to play a Carling Cup tie at Arsenal the following night.
Scholes, the only significantly experienced first-choice player in a squad of kids, felt slighted and refused. He almost immediately regretted his decision, apologised to hismanager Sir Alex Ferguson and was fined one week's wages.
The international break then intervened and when Manchester United next played after the Arsenal game, 12 days had passed and Scholes was included in the starting XI at home to Leicester City.
Made up: Paul Scholes (left) immediately apologised to Sir Alex Ferguson
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Ferguson knew he did not have a mutineer on his hands, merely an angry player, bristling at what he saw as an unnecessary humiliation. Even that reaction he quickly lamented and tried to make amends as soon as possible. He had no previous and Ferguson did not greatly fear a repeat. He administered a fine and a stern word and the pair moved on; none of this finds parallel in the Tevez case.
This is a player who is at loggerheads with Mancini and has been for some time; his behaviour is disruptive and often appears to bear little regard for the good of the team. His stubborn contempt on the touchline in Munich was no momentary unravelling of an otherwise faithful servant.
Ferguson says that he stopped receiving bids for Scholes from early in his career because every prospective suitor knew he would never leave United.
Meanwhile, anarcho-punk squatters put down more permanent roots at a home than Tevez. Of course, there are also legal arguments which, as time cools the initial fervour, are of great appeal to the pragmatists.
Manchester City's insistence on conducting a thorough disciplinary procedure, capable of standing up to legal inspection, leads to all manner of rationalisations.
Mancunian wit: United supporters have a sly dig at their rivals
A player who says he did not hear Tevez refuse to play amid the noise of the stadium, however, is very different to one who states Mancini's version of events is false. Nobody has yet come forward
to say the manager lied and lip readers viewing footage from the bench seem to confirm his version of events.
Plus, the story was initially broken by Geoff Shreeves, Sky's very professional touchline reporter, who is not much given to interrupting match coverage with wild accusations plucked from thin air.
City only need a watertight case if the plot is to sack Tevez. It is not. Why give him the personal bonanza of a free transfer? It would appear City's plan is to sell him in the January transfer window, for a reduced fee obviously as he is most certainly damaged goods, and until then not pick him.
To stop this becoming an illegal restraint of trade, City must only prove that Tevez is excluded for technical reasons, not malice, and if they keep winning 4-0 away from home without him, as they did on Saturday, that should not be hard. The decision of Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella to leave Tevez out of the squad for the World Cup qualifying games with Chile and Venezuela on October 7 and 11, saying he is not match fit, should also count in their favour.
Act of defiance: Tevez watches Manchester City's loss at the Allianz Arena
Those who take perverse delight in the cynicism of modern football believe clubs will be queueing around the block to sign Tevez, just as they were for Emmanuel Adebayor, who also clashed with Mancini.
Yet where is Adebayor now? Manchester City. He may play for Tottenham Hotspur but they have not signed him, and neither did Real Madrid. Adebayor sat in the shop window like a lonely puppy waiting for Jose Mourinho to take him home all summer, but he ended up as a last-minute loan for Harry Redknapp.
That way, if he starts to act up, he goes back. He has transgressed once too often, is now regarded as prohibitively high maintenance and Tevez may find his status to be little different.
Those saying they would love to have Tevez, like the management at Newcastle United and West Ham United, cannot afford him, and the biggest clubs had all summer to buy him and did not.
They know, you see. They have made their judgment calls and reached the same damning conclusion.
Ignore the phoney baloney debate, folks. Your basic instincts are right.
BATE proving there's no fair play at UEFA Barcelona beat BATE Borisov of Belarus by five goals in Minsk last week. No surprise there. The
European champions have already put that many past Villarreal and Atletico Madrid this season, plus eight past Osasuna.
It is not what Barcelona did to BATE that is important, but what BATE are doing to the rest of Belarus.
Thanks to regular European football, including two appearances in the Champions League group stage in the last four years, the club have become unstoppable in domestic competition. They have won the last five Belarussian titles and went into this weekend 11 points clear.
The money that BATE Borisov receive as Belarus's only Champions League entrants and that situation will not improve because they never progress far enough to establish multiple places is so disproportionately vast that rivals cannot compete.
Domestic football in Belarus is traditionally very open. Between 1995 and 2005, the Vysshaya League was won by eight different teams: Dinamo Minsk, MPKC Mozyr, Dnepr Transmash-Mogilev, BATE Borisov, Slavia Mozyr, Belshina Borbruisk, Gomel and Shakhtyor Soligorsk. Even in the post-war Soviet era, no team retained the title more than once.
Parking the bus: Domestic kings BATE Borisov were devoid of ambition in their 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Barcelona
Then BATE were re-established and, buoyed by UEFA riches, are turning the season at home into a procession.
To what end? The club do not even play in their City Stadium in Europe its 5,400 capacity is too small to host the Champions League and instead decamp to that of their rivals, Dinamo Minsk.
Nor is the gulf with the aristocracy of Europe decreasing through experience. A report of the match with Barcelona had the visitors 'on course for a victory in which they barely broke sweat' while 'almost playing at walking pace'.
Bate 'lined up with 10 men staying back and former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman a lone figure as Bar?a dominated'.
UEFA spout financial fair play but their contribution to domestic football in Belarus is to ruin it. The gates at Dnepr Transmash-Mogilev are down four per cent, at Shakhtyor Soligorsk 15 per cent and at Belshina Bobruisk 31 per cent.
Nobody wants to watch a one-horse race, not even fans of the horse it would seem as BATE Borisov are also down, by 0.8 per cent, having fallen 6.4 per cent the previous year, too.
When the FFP rules are fully introduced, BATE Borisov's hold over the competition will become unbreakable, as the investment needed to match them will no longer be permitted.
This will be repeated throughout the smaller leagues in Europe.
Michel Platini's big idea is not just wrong, it is destructive. It will kill some of the most open competition in European football and create the opposite of fairness and democracy.
The people of Belarus will have thought they got rid of such a regime in 1991.
AND WHILE WE'RE AT IT.Kean is the issueJohn Jensen, assistant to Steve Kean at Blackburn Rovers, had his contract cancelled.
Saturday's 4-0 home defeat by Manchester City, however, suggests he might not have been the only problem.
West Ham United were guilty of the same flawed logic last season, dismissing Avram Grant's assistant Zeljko Petrovic when everyone could see it was his boss that was the dud.
Major headache: Steve Kean watches Blackburn capitulate at Manchester City
Maybe they thought Grant would also walk in protest, but the overpromoted are not like that.
They can see the dole queue stretching ahead and hang on to employment for grim death.
Some might also ask why Kean has not been more outspoken in defence of his colleague, although his succession to the Blackburn post following the removal of Sam Allardyce indicates loyalty is not a strong point.
An alarming fall from graceBradford City blew a two-goal lead at Burton Albion this week and remain one place and a single point outside the relegation spots in League Two.
There are many long-established clubs that have fallen through the trap door into the Conference and beyond, but none that once played in thePremier League.
Bradford would be the first to go from there to tier five, and a lesson to all in how quickly it can go wrong: 11 years, if it happens.
Change now for a flood of Ashton triesThere is one reason Scotland are going home from the Rugby World Cup;Chris Ashton scored more tries than they did.
Not just in Saturday's game, one-nil, but in the whole tournament. Ashtonscored more tries than all of Scotland's team put together in Pool B; 33 percent more, in fact.
Ashton has scored six tries in this competition, Scotland four. They playedthe same opponents, remember, so it cannot be argued the Scots had itharder; and if England were aided by benign conditions in Dunedin, never forget it took an earthquake to necessitate that.
All carping talk of luck and good fortune should therefore be placed in perspective.
Scotland were the better team for long periods on Saturday in Auckland, but failed to achieve the basic point of the game.
Dictating play: Toby Flood (left) talks to Chris Ashton and Mike Tindall (right)
England scored 18 tries to Scotland's four in the pool stage and haveconceded fewer tries than any team in the tournament.
Had England turned in Scotland's record on exit, there would have been no talk of bravery, pride and heads held high, either.
Martin Johnson's side has endured an unconvincing start under greater pressure, marred by needless external distractions, but there is no question they deserve to go through.
No question either that there is correlation between failing to get the ball toyour match-winning winger in almost 60 minutes of rugby while not lookingcapable of winning, and then getting it to him and winning.
Ashton cannot be marginalised in this way again if England hope to progress.
If Jonny Wilkinson is incapable of bringing him into play under the pressure of a ragged performance and Toby Flood has the vision to do so, then a change must be considered.
There has to be an element of risk to win any tournament. The group stage is about getting the job done, but it is harder to make it through the knockout rounds without a gamble.
Passing the ball to your potential match-winner should never become that.
Atkinson should do talking on the pitchReferee Martin Atkinson visited both camps Everton and Liverpool inthe week before the 216th Mersey derby.
All this conciliation doesn't make much difference, though, if you can't tell arobust tackle from a foul one and end up dismissing Jack Rodwell and destroying the game.
Incredulous: Jack Rodwell shows his disbelief at being sent off
Carter injury is a real sob storyForget the benefits to England, Wales and Ireland for locals, for neutrals and anyone who loves sport in its highest state of perfection, it is nothing less than a crying shame that New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter will play no further part in the Rugby World Cup.
Tiger is no easy RyderDavis Love III, the United States captain for the 2012 Ryder Cup, says that Tiger Woods will be selected next year, regardless of form.
That's what you've got to love about the Americans and team golf. They never learn, do they?
Gary Neville: Buying a team of superstars could spell trouble on the way to the topPatrick Collins: We can't just blame Tevez when football gave up on ethics long agoRevealed: What Tevez said after being asked to play in Munich