STOP, for a minute, and imagine the following scenario. The clock is ticking and Dublin footballers are chasing down an increasingly confident Kerry in this year's All-Ireland final.
Pat Gilroy turns to his bench for inspiration, maybe even in desperation. He beckons his most noted impact-sub -- a player with the happy knack of turning finely balanced games -- and asks him to warm up. And said player tells his manager, in so many words, to go jump in the Liffey.
Would it happen? Of course not. For Kevin McManamon is no Carlos Tevez.
Here in Ireland, we should be thankful for small mercies -- and the relative dearth of small-minded mercenaries populating our flagship sporting teams.
Ronan O'Gara may have been 'peed off' at his non-selection against Australia at the Rugby World Cup. But did he tell Declan Kidney to go find another replacement outhalf? Of course not: being both the proud Irishman and the hard-nosed professional that he is, O'Gara got himself mentally right to make an impact when the call came, as it inevitably would.
Yes, we accept that Tevez is not your typical example of a 21st century Premier League 'professional'. They may be paid outrageous sums of money, but almost all of them will deign to come off the bench and fulfil their contractual obligations.
Manchester City's very own Evita is different. He has a penchant for throwing strops that would rival the world's all-time worst divas: he is the footballing equivalent of Whitney Houston meets Mariah Carey on a bad hair day.
Moreover, his salary is beyond outrageous, clocking in at a reported £286,000 PER WEEK. His response to being offered such astronomical riches is to spend most of his time trying to engineer a move away from Manchester.
Even his statement of yesterday morning, denying the claims of his manager Roberto Mancini that he refused to come on as substitute against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, strikes us as more of the same self-serving PR spin.
In one breath Tevez (or rather his back-pedalling agent) apologies to fans for any "misunderstanding", while insisting that he never refused to play.
Now maybe Mancini is an arrogant so-and-so (eh, aren't all bosses?) with a dodgy track record in man-management. And maybe, just maybe, Tevez really was "misunderstood". But, pending the full investigation called by City last night, forgive us our cynicism if we don't buy it.
One thing's for sure: he's no Kevin McManamon or Ronan O'Gara.