Now, you didn't see that coming!
There comes a moment in most men's
lives when they suddenly find it impossible to read small print.
Hopefully, this happens after the divorce.
Sir Alex Ferguson must have been
squinting in concern at the contract he signed for David de Gea during
the summer after news emerged that his 18.3million goalkeeper plans to
have an operation to correct his dodgy vision at the end of the season.
Who saw that one coming
Not the Spanish goalkeeper, obviously.
Scroll down for more
Sorry sight: De Gea needs surgery to correct his vision. It's unclear if Sir Alex knew of the problem when he signed him
It turns out he is myopic in one eye,
a condition where objects at a distance appear blurred. He also wears
contact lenses on the field and spectacles off it.
Now, while this might be a relatively
common affliction among the general public, it does not usually affect
goalkeepers employed by the world's most famous football team.
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As a general rule, clubs don't make passes at goalies who wear glasses.
The unkind have even suggested this
may explain why De Gea has been known to flap about like a man being
attacked by invisible bees when crosses drop into his six-yard area.
I suspect that is more about an absence of belief and a lack of physical presence than any vision problems.
But was the extent of the hugely expensive keeper's eye condition really caught at his medical, or at some later date
Surely they have an optician's chart at Old Trafford
There are other questions that spring to mind.
However, I don't have my reading glasses on so I can't be sure I would type them up correctly. My fingers could be mischievously writing anything here – he sticks us up his nose at traffic lights – and I wouldn't know.
It is not the lad's fault, of course.
Although he seems somewhat lightweight for the hurly burly combat of the Premier League, De Gea is clearly a talent – if we ignore the mild inconvenience that he may turn out to be functionally blind at long range.
Reports from Spain suggest he asked to have surgery to correct the problem last March only to be told it was too soon because his eyes were still adjusting.
So this has been bothering him.
However, laser eye surgery is on a par with dentistry these days and generally regarded as routine.
But whatever the club maintain now, for a player who has struggled to adapt to the demands of the English game and taken numerous knocks to his confidence along the way, it is an awkward niggle and it places another question mark against his value.
Should've gone to Specsavers: Ferguson signed De Gea in the summer
I noticed a marked deterioration in my own vision very recently when I reached my mid-30s – an age calculation based on the assumption that 'thirtysixteen' is a real number.
I still cannot bring myself to wear glasses because a) it seems like surrender; b) I'd rather stumble into the path of an oncoming truck than resemble Alan Carr; and c) I can never find my glasses anyway – mainly because I'm not wearing my glasses when I look for them.
Even if you aren't playing in goal for one of the biggest clubs in the world, deteriorating sight has significant drawbacks.
I'll never forget the night I wandered into a fine Italian restaurant, called over the sommelier and pointed confidently at the wine list.
'I'll have a bottle of this, please,' I said, jabbing my finger at a row of tiny letters that, without the assistance of reading glasses, appeared to be the size of Higgs boson particles.
But since the blur was near the foot of the page, I assumed this was one of the more expensive reds.
'Excellent choice, sir,' replied the waiter. 'Can I just confirm that you would like to order a bottle of “10 Per Cent Service Charge Added For Parties Of Six Or More”'
'Yes – and decant it too,' I added, since it was too late to back down.
If I'd had a laser then I would have used it.
Finally, I conceded I could read nothing placed under my nose unless it was spelled out in letters approximately the height of Peter Crouch.
But, in a strange reversal of the natural order, and for reasons that defy science (if you ignore medical textbooks and basic biology) I was perfectly able to read even microscopic text if it was held further away.
The solution was obvious. Now when I go to restaurants, I ask someone on another table to hold up the menu for me, and the problem is solved.
De Gea needs to find the opposite solution and somehow get closer to the ball, a task that might be difficult from his seat in the stand now he has been dropped.
But the goalkeeper can take heart. Through his good eye he should peer across at the opposition bench tomorrow and there he will find inspiration.
Arsene Wenger hasn't been able to see a thing for years and it certainly hasn't done him any harm.
Want respect Then charge Mancini
Last week I complained that it was embarrassing to see Roberto Mancini constantly wave imaginary cards in the air.
It's bad enough parading like a child having a tantrum at the supermarket check-out.
Card sharp: Mancini waves at the referee
Even worse when he has the cheek to complain as others start brandishing these invisible cards as well.
So I wondered how a manager could do this unless he was armed with an Etch A Sketch mind that wipes clean and starts afresh before every match
The question prompted wails of 'bias' from the usual tribal followers who moaned Mancini had been wronged.
So let's see what happened this week
Inevitably, Mancini was back on the touchline, waving his pretend cards in the air on Monday night against Wigan – once again busily trying to get someone sent off.
The only difference being he has stopped pretending to apologise for it.
Now the FA have belatedly warned the City boss they will charge him if his histrionics continue.
But if they wanted to clean the game up, if they wanted their 'Respect' campaign to genuinely support referees, they'd have charged him already.
Then Mancini might keep his hands in his pockets and do us all a favour.
We're only here if there's beer
FIFA have at last decided to crack down on unacceptable practices in world football.
Beer talking: Jerome Valcke
Beset by crippling claims of corruption, racism rows, fears that homosexuals will be discriminated against and even jailed at the Qatar World Cup, and concerns over fans' safety when the tournament takes place in the punishing desert heat, FIFA have set out what will not be allowed.
'The fact that we have the right to sell beer has to be a part of the law,' said General Secretary Jerome Valcke.
'Alcoholic drinks are part of the World Cup, so we're going to have them. Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that's something we won't negotiate,' he added.
That's telling them.
In Brazil, they don't sell alcohol at games, but Valcke wants that changed before the 2014 World Cup.
No doubt the fact that an American beer firm has been one of the official partners for 25 years helps.
Sod the fans, look after the sponsors.
That is FIFA in a nutshell. They should make it their motto.
Say no to Becks in team GB
Can someone please explain to me what David Beckham has done to warrant the general assumption that he is not only going to be chosen for the GB Olympic football team, but captain it as well
I've seen him fly back to Los Angeles. Sign a contract to stay there. Hold up his shirt for a photograph. And that's it.
Yet the agenda appears to be that this Californian extension is just a sideshow to Beckham's appearance at the London 2012 Games.
Even the GB team coach Stuart Pearce sounded as if he was being shoved on to the bandwagon (one that might have the sponsor's three stripes down the side of it, too, if my instincts are correct).
Just say no: Beckham should be coaching not playing
He declared it was better Beckham had gone back to LA rather than sign for the infinitely more testing French League leaders, Paris Saint-Germain.
'During the Olympics, he will be mid season and the fitness involved will be helpful,' said Pearce.
Perhaps. Although the fact that Beckham is 37 and is playing lower-Championship level football in the MLS might not.
Some say he 'deserves' the chance because he was part of the bid team that helped secure the Games in Singapore. But that was SEVEN years ago.
And Pearce knows, like every other sensible soul, that the Olympic tournament is about youth.
Beckham has had a successful career and I understand some would love him to be there to help sell the game to housewives and the celebrity curious.
But if he wants to be involved with the Olympic team, he can join the coaching staff and carry the cones.
Anything else would be a sell-out.
Senegal strikers shenanegans
Newcastle United are either blind optimists or they are simply gluttons for punishment.
Having just waved Demba Ba off to the Africa Cup of Nations for the next few weeks, they immediately signed his international team-mate Papiss Demba Cisse, another player at the tournament, for 10million.
International duty: Demba Ba
This means both of Newcastle's Senegal strikers will probably disappear again for a vital chunk of the Premier League campaign next January, because the competition is being held in back-to-back seasons for the first time.
To lose one striker can be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.
Most Premier League managers are shying away from African players as a result, but not Newcastle.
So there must be a plan.
With a release clause in his contract at a bargain price of under 7m, who seriously expects Ba to be Newcastle's problem this time next year
Cisse must be his replacement.