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Susan Daly: Of course the mother-in-law got the blame, it couldn't be Ashley Cole's fault, could it?

JUST when you thought Ashley Cole couldn't get any classier -- he blames the mother-in-law.

Has Ashley resurrected the comedian Les Dawson to do his PR? (Sample Dawson joke: "I can always tell when the mother-in-law's coming to stay: the mice throw themselves on the traps.")

Cheryl's mother Joan moved in with the couple two years ago in the wake of Ashley's first jump from the back page of newspapers to the front. A hairdresser called Aimee insisted she'd scored the England defender and the Cole marriage was thought to be in trouble.

Cheryl stood by her man-child, later telling Vogue magazine that she forgave him because he's "got a young mentality for his age anyway". A very attractive quality in a husband, you'll agree. Nonetheless, they stayed together and part of the reconciliation package was to have Joan fetch up in the spare room to support her daughter.

Now that Ashley finds himself back in hot water, he has lashed out and found an easy target. Like any reliable left-back under pressure, Ashley has decided that attack is the best defence.

Really Ashley, was your nine-bedroom mansion not big enough for the three of you? Could you not get a moment to yourself in any one of the five bathrooms, underground swimming pool area and five-a-side football pitch area? Could you not have avoided the mother-in-law by taking the servants' staircase?

Cheryl got one thing right in her marriage to Mr Cole. He's a little boy trapped in adult-size Premiership pants. How depressingly predictable that he won't take responsibility for the devastation of his marriage.

Then again, isn't that we've been told to expect from some men? Take this other theory being circulated by a 'close friend' of Ashley: Cheryl's successful career had driven a wedge between the couple. She left him to his own devices while she was off filming X Factor or on tour with Girls Aloud. Again, it's not me, it's you.

It all sounds terribly familiar. Remember when David Beckham allegedly nipped to the (Rebecca) Loos while holed up alone in Madrid? Somehow it became Posh's fault for not moving lock, stock and barrel of kids to Spain immediately on her hubby's transfer there.

Ashley's 'friends' imply Cheryl failed her marriage by not being at home 24/7 to keep her husband in line. How very 1950s. I bet she doesn't even own a frilly apron, the slattern.

No doubt they would like it very much if Cheryl made like Posh and joined herself at the hip to her husband as soon as suspicion set in. It's such a bogus accusation to level at poor Cheryl. She was a woman of her own making before she met baby-man Ashley. In fact, it probably did her credibility some temporary damage to stay with him as long as she did.

The problem is that while Cheryl is returning to the rest of us here in the 21st century, the door to the time machine that is being a WAG is still open. After all, the players still want them. A talented boy needs a devoted mummy to come home to (and not someone else's devoted mummy, apparently) and kiss their grazed knees better.

The women are to blame too. By aspiring to the post of WAG as some seem to do, they make themselves accessories to their famous and wealthy boyfriends and husbands.

Luckily for Cheryl she can buy her own diamonds and pay her own bills.