I am not quite sure how Lee Cattermole may be feeling after being wooed by a snappy-dressed Italian suitor last week. Did their eyes meet across a crowded room or was it more showered in broken crockery? Perhaps he is as enchanted as in the Rogers and Hart love song 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,' which some may be thinking. No doubt many would have forfeited their prized season cards to have been flies on the wall during this marriage proposal and seeing who was playing the hardest to get.
Will the answer be a quick yes or no? Guess we will have to wait with bated breath to find out if there is to be a shotgun wedding and if it is made in heaven or hell. Most must be convinced it is likely to be a rather tempestuous affair to say the least and that lawyers will need to drawing up a prenuptial agreement in case it all turns sour and ends up in the divorce courts.
An unlikely pair of lovers? Certainly. But cast minds back in history, there have been many. Antony and Cleopatra springs to mind. Romeo and Juliet. Both ended in betrayal and tragedy. There are also the modern day mismatches like Kate Moss and Pete Doherty, Brad Pitt and Sinitta, Tom Cruise and Cher. The list is endless as we eagerly await the first photo of Lee and Paolo Di Canio together.
Perhaps more appropriate I am reminded of Neil Simon's old comedy movie, The Odd Couple. Jack Lemon playing Felix Unger, a neurotic, obsessive-compulsive nut, the opposite to Oscar Maddison, a grumpy, disorderly poker-player, acted out by Walter Matthau. The two characters become so frustrated with each other that they blow up yet end up as buddies after apologising for their behaviour when realising they are not exactly how they thought.
The excitement of the new flirtation comes after a summer-long standoff when Paolo showed not the slightest affection for the former Sunderland captain but proved unable to cast him off. It is now all water under the bridge having failed to freeze him out. It is not known if there was any speck of jealousy being previously betrothed to Steve Bruce and also tying the knot of a four-year contract with Martin O'Neil.
So what are the chances of it working out in bliss with the excitable coach only making known his secret feelings after their sleazy rendezvous? It appeared the beguiling proposal went well as he tentatively declared his warm admiration of Lee and expressed hopes about the future though insist that it was he who should be the dominant partner. Here is a few extracts, courtesy of the Guardian.
“Last week I spoke with him for half an hour. Man to man. I told him to have a future here he had to convince me because my regime is completely different to what he had until last year.”
"I told him: 'You have to speak my language on the pitch but if you do this you are welcome, more than welcome. It's important we agree.' But we had a very professional conversation. He was more than positive. I'm happy. Now he's back, he's full of enthusiasm. It can be a new start for him. He can become maybe a much better footballer. Because he's only 25 – he's still young."
"I said I know what you feel. I know what you felt. You are upset. It is part of the situation but now you have a big chance. You have one of the most honest managers in the world who tells you you are one of the most important players because it's the truth. But if you train bad or behave badly off the pitch, like you did, I don't know, in the past, you can't stay in the squad. You are intelligent you saw how it was with some players.
"I said now you can be a part of a squad that wants to play good football. You can be better than before. It's up to you. You have to jump. You have to back my regime. I decide the discipline, the behaviour, the rules. But we will be stronger than before.”
"Potentially Lee Cattermole's a better player than he maybe even thinks he is. In the last training session I see he can pass the ball. But it's important he works very hard. He has to listen."
Lee, who is renowned for his own tantrums and petulance, has yet to reveal his passionate feelings and where his heart may truly belong. Is he capable of adopting a more submissive role or is it more likely to be at best just a marriage of convenience and how long will it last? Well, Adam Johnson's unexpected love affair with Paolo defied the odds and surprisingly has all gone fairly well, at least so far. Where there is the will, there is a way, but it always takes two to tango.