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EPL Circus - 8 January

08 Jan 2013 | 13:58-Ben Hocking and Michael Rogers

As Luis Suarez breaks Mansfield Town hearts with a little helpful hand the Chelsea career of Frank Lampard winds down.

The honeymoon is over

Everyone knows that football is a romantic game. Whether it is the lustful look Cristiano Ronaldo gets any time he catches a glimpse of his own reflection, the magnetism and hair surgery that keeps Wayne and Colleen Rooney together despite their trials and tribulations or just fans ogling the sexiest WAGs of 2012 video.

But when it comes to romance, no club does it quite like Mansfield Town. Long-time readers of The Circus will remember the oft-repeated Mills & Boon-like storyline that played out two years ago. You know the one, ludicrously rich club chairman starts using an escort, club chairman falls head-over-heels in love with escort. Former escort is made club CEO.

It may have been remiss of The Circus to point out that Mansfield Town chairman John Radford and club CEO Carolyn Still got married in July last year. Perhaps it was the fact that the wedding wasn't incumbent on the result of club football games as was the case with the team's manager Paul Cox.

Cox found himself locked into marrying fiancée Natasha Bertin after he promised her they would wed if his side beat Lincoln in the second round of the FA Cup.

True to his word Cox wed the love of his life at the club's training ground on the Friday before Mansfield Town's third round FA Cup match against Liverpool.

Even the bookies were feeling the love, offering to pay for the honeymoon if Cox could engineer a win over Liverpool.

Unfortunately Luis Suarez was the bucket of cold water that came crashing down to ruin the mood, with the cheating starting just a couple of days after the marriage. And like so many relationships on the rocks, those close to the couple chose to look the other way.

How to win the dressing room in one easy step

Despite a run of horror results including a home loss to 'Arry Redknapp's QPR, The Circus is more confident than ever that Rafael Benitez will remain as Chelsea's long-term manager beyond the end of the season.

How, you might ask, could The Circus possibly come to that conclusion amid the weight of evidence to the contrary?

Because Benitez will have something that none of Luis Felipe Scolari, Avram Grant, Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas or Roberto Di Matteo enjoyed during their turbulent tenures - a dressing room free of Frank Lampard.

As well as saving Benitez's skin, Lampard's impending departure has elicited another improbable act in the dressing room at Stamford Bridge. It turns out that John Terry is actually capable of feeling real emotions, after all.

And while Lampard was reportedly a key figure in the dressing room unrest that eventually unseated both AVB and Di Matteo, it wasn't all bad for the deposed Blues managers.

Villas-Boas ended up at a decent London club with a chairman who actually supports his gaffer, while the Chelsea clique's coup in March last year paved the way for the highlight of Di Matteo's football career - victory in the YEFA Champions League final over Bayern Munich.

See - everyone ends up a winner! Except, perhaps, Frankie himself, who could yet find himself back at West Ham as the club tries to party like it's 1999.

The spoken word

"This club is at another level, it isn’t West Ham or Newcastle. They are both big clubs with a strong history, but Chelsea is Chelsea and you cannot compare. It will be easier with world-class players around, who make the football look so easy."- Newly-signed Chelsea striker Demba Ba recalls his days of struggle at Newcastle United, where football was hard and his team-mates were rubbish.

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The Circus

The Circus is The World Game's regular look at the beautiful game from left field. So join us every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for something a little more light-hearted than the norm.
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