Over the past few weeks I've been actively avoiding the Carlos Tevez affair like a man pretending to be asleep with his iPod headphones in when the ticket collector comes down the train's aisle, but I've been violently woken by the man in the hat and am now dragged kicking and screaming into the subject. After all, the incident in Munich happened almost a month ago. But, as bizarre as this sounds given how I'd written in the summer that City's success this season would depend on keeping Tevez, I just don't care.
And that's the truth: Whatever happens to Carlos Tevez now just doesn't interest me one bit.
City have played nine Premier League games this season and have scored a total of 33 goals – a Premier League record and equaling the record for the English top flight (Everton managed 33 goals in nine games in 1894-95). In seven of the nine games, City have scored three or more goals. In the league, Sergio Aguero has scored nine goals, Edin Dzeko six and Mario Balotelli five. In his brief appearances this season, the extent of Carlos Tevez's contributions to the team have been a missed penalty.
I don't mean that to sound as harsh as it perhaps does, but there's much more value in talking about the strikers who are doing the business on the pitch than the one who has been found to be in breach of five contractual regulations by a disciplinary panel. And don't get me wrong, I'm happy that we have had two brilliant goalscoring seasons out of Tevez; without his goals City wouldn't have won as many matches as they have done in the last two years. But the power in the City-Tevez tug of war has shifted completely.
Last season, Tevez was the main man. So much so that, after his injury in the heavy defeat at Anfield, City fans everywhere were wondering just where on earth the goal(s) would come from in the following games, most notably the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United. As it happened, in the time that Tevez was missing, City won four of their five games, though all of them were by one goal – United (n, 1-0), Blackburn (a, 1-0), West Ham (h, 2-1) and Tottenham (h, 1-0). While City did play well in all of those games, the chances weren't being converted; Carlos Tevez's job wasn't being fulfilled.
Now cast your mind to Sunday morning. The pre-derby nerves had kicked in. The starting line-up hadn't been announced, but you knew that it would involve a combination of Aguero, Dzeko and Balotelli and that there would definitely be no sign of Carlos Tevez. While we were all thinking 'I hope we win today,' not one City fan I spoke to that morning or in the days before had thought 'if only we had Tevez for this match.'
And there's the power-shift. Previously, the threat of losing Carlos Tevez's goals was huge for City. But, this season, City have lost those goals and have gone on to break a Premier League record, equalling one that stood for 117 years. City's dependence on Tevez's goals has gone and, as such, the need for Tevez to be in the team is no longer there. Of course, it isn't the ideal situation to have lost a quality striker – despite City's lack of dependence on him, he is still a quality striker – but having been found guilty of five breaches of contract, it's hard to see how he has a future at the club.
Whatever happened on the bench that Tuesday evening in Germany has served to do only one thing: It's strengthened Roberto Mancini's position in charge at City and totally undermined Tevez's. The fans' reaction was immediate at the 4-0 drubbing of Blackburn. The old adage about no player being bigger than the club had never been truer and the team have been proving all season that Carlos's decision to burn his bridges won't change what happens on the pitch. And there's no way Mancini is going to be moved: he's won the club's first trophy in over three decades, he's secured the team in their highest ever Premier League finish (ensuring Champions League group stage qualification in the process), he's got the club playing the best football seen in generations and, on top of all of that, he's just managed City in the game where they put six goals past United at Old Trafford.
In fact, I'd wager there hasn't been a City manager as secure in his job as Mancini since the Mercer-Allison era.
Tevez still denies any wrongdoing and, according to the BBC Sport Twitter Feed is considering suing Roberto Mancini for defamation of character. If he does indeed decide to do that, then it stands to reason he would also appeal the judgement of the disciplinary panel: Roberto Mancini stating what has been found to be true in the inquiry cannot be defamation of character, surely? If he accepts their judgement as the truth, then Mancini can't have said anything defamatory.
Something tells me this is far from over and that it will end in a hideous manner: much the same way as that afternoon when you'd had too much to drink and told the mother-in-law just exactly what you thought of her. Except, unlike the mother-in-law, this situation probably isn't going to be resolved with numerous apologies and a bunch of flowers.
More likely a cut-price transfer in January and a firm good riddance from the fans of a club who formerly adored him. And, to be honest, I think the City fans have put up with a lot from Tevez: transfer requests, constant reports of unhappiness, a general desire to leave, the whole bloody two-restaurants thing... And a large proportion of fans were willing to forgive and forget, given the Argentine's attitude on the pitch which, up until the evening of Tuesday 27 September, was unquestionable.
However, couple the findings of the internal inquiry with the fact that the club's other strikers and midfielders have been banging in the goals, that goodwill and forgiveness has been spent. While Tevez was by far and away the club's leading goal threat, the baggage he carried was something we were all willing to put up with. But now Dzeko has settled, now Balotelli is writing headlines on the pitch (and off them, but, let's be honest, we all love that he's a bit of a fruitloop), and now Aguero is lighting up the Premier League, City are doing just fine without Carlos Tevez.
But, until he moves on at least, Carlos Tevez is not doing just fine without City.