After the insanity that reigned supreme at St James Park last week, it was with great relief that we welcomed the start of the African Cup of Nations on Sunday.
Finally, Early Doors thought, we can relax and enjoy some football without incessant bleatings about Messiahs, Special K, weird third comings, circuses or newborn Geordie babies called Kevin.
Shame then, that it turns out the tournament in Ghana is just as bonkers as the Toon. You could even go as far as to say more so.
Put simply, if Newcastle United is a drooling idiot, then the African Cup of Nations is a stark raving loony, who speaks in nothing but tongues and is in real danger of eating its own hand.
In fact, we should have known better. The tournament has long been associated with problems; indeed poor organisation, appalling facilities and at times near comical football (especially the goalkeeping) have become bywords for the African Cup of Nations.
Hopes that all that had changed this time round seem to have been optimistic at best, as already before this year's edition kicked off, stories to the contrary had begun to circulate.
There was the one about teams returning to their hotels to find out they had lost their rooms because the ever-so honest establishments had been given a 'better offer'.
And then came the news that before the Ghana-Guinea match started, internet and mobile phone networks in the stadium went down, just as the local organising president was boasting to the crowd how the competition had put the country in touch with the rest of the world. Clearly not without a fight it hadn't.
Then of course you have the praying, the cleansing services, the black magic and the 'juju pots' that play a big part in fans' support of their teams, but a quick look at what culinary delights are on offer around the stadiums tells you just how gloriously mad it all is.
Bovril and a burger? Cheese and onion pie? A packet of crisps, for goodness sake? No way. Feast yourselves on sliced pig snout, ears and trotters or deep fried fish heads. Mmm, snout.
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Footballers' privacy has always been an issue. Just ask the likes of Garry Flitcroft, Dwight Yorke, Cristiano Ronaldo, Frank Lampard and Sunday's latest addition to the lengthy list Alan Smith, to name but a few. They should know how invasive and damaging prying eyes can be.
Ronald Koeman apparently does too, although the only hearts the tubby Teutonic former Holland international has probably broken are those of England fans after 'that' free-kick in Rotterdam.
But instead of hiding behind a lawyer, feeble excuses or the next conquest, the Valencia coach has had a novel idea about how to keep away unwanted attention.
The Spanish side are to build a wall around their training ground at Paterna in a bid to retain a modicum of privacy within Koeman's faltering club.
But why stop there? Why not top the wall with razor wire, erect a perimeter fence connected to the mains and employ a pack of savage paparazzi-eating patrol mutts.
Premier League stars take note. The next time you are playing away, or out on the lash with the lads or perhaps just enjoying a roast (the Sunday beef and potato variety, of course), follow the above advice and you'll never have to employ a lawyer again.
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COMING UP: A cornucopia of exclusive features, including Team of the Week, Weekend Winners and Losers, Around the World in 80 Goals and Transfer Talk. You lucky, lucky things.
MATCH OF THE DAY: Follow Nigeria-Ivory Coast LIVE right here on eurosport.yahoo.com at 1700 this evening - it promises to be a right corker. Or if you still want more, you could always check out Namibia-Morocco at 1500 or Mali-Benin in the late game at 1930, both of which might also be quite good.
GESTURE OF THE DAY: An old-skool clenched-fist-while-grabbing-upper-arm motion, as perfected by Alex Ferguson on Saturday. Perfect for those Monday morning blues.
FOREIGN VIEW: German rag Bild reckon Spurs will today announce the signing of another midfielder from Hertha Berlin - Gilberto. Although the Brazilian is probably from the kind of Rio mean streets that Kevin Prince Boateng could only dream of, at least he won't arrive in England styling himself as the Ghetto Kid.
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