Chelsea are not looking great, as a promoter of marriage and family values: will they keep their heads down until it blows over, or tough it out? I would come out blazing if I were them. I would release a statement saying how much worse the players are at Manchester United. It might not limit any damage, but it would probably be true and it would give us all a laugh.
One thing is clear, however: short of going back in time and leaving him sooner, Cheryl has done this at exactly the right time. It was doing her image no favours, the surrendered-wife-cum-careworker role she had carved for herself. She will be much better loved now, like a Geordie Princess Diana. Plus she can get a hot new boyfriend. Raise high the roofbeams, Girls Aloud!
Then I thought, oh you silly fool, Vowl, you've been tricked. It's a big spoof of the really vacuous kind of celebrity gash that gets chucked into broadsheets nowadays, and you haven't noticed. You'll be made to look light a right plum if you go saying this is dreadful, when it's a clever bit of bait to raise the ire of idiots like you. But then I stopped talking to myself, and read it again.
In the meantime, everything has changed apart from Ashley Cole's own jackass behaviour. Cheryl Cole has gone from quite-famous member of a quite-famous girlband, to international, explosively beautiful superstar. This is heartening to watch; the depressing subtext of so many football scandals is that the wives have no ace to play. Unless you're in a Jilly Cooper novel, and the footballer is going to be dealt a death blow when he realises the love of his life has just upped and left him, what you're basically watching, from George Best to John Terry, is a man who can do exactly what he pleases and a woman persuading herself to forgive him because the alternative is to be exiled. Don't give me alimony, she is about to be exiled from the Garden of Eden. Cheryl Cole makes her own Eden: she has everything he has, in her own right, and more. Money don't maketh the feminist, no, but this looks more like the Noughties than the Fifties for a change, and it's cheering.
And I thought: God, no, you were right the first time. And that disappointed me greatly, because I hoped that it was a spoof and that I'd been tricked. I wanted it to be that cute, and for me to have been tripped up by it. That would have made everything all right. See, the Guardian isn't just printing a load of tripe about the Coles, I could say, it's rather more subtle than that; it's cleverly dismantling the broadsheet celebrity story and eviscerating it for our delectation. It's setting the bar really high and taking a stand against the giggling inanity of celeb coverage, and feeble articles about pop stars and footballers.
But no. No, it isn't. I wish it was true, but it's not.