Below is Gerry's Premier League football betting preview for the weekend Sat 1st to Sun 2nd March 2008.
The views expressed are solely those of the author.
For some inexplicable reason, the subject of mental illness remains taboo. I am convinced that if we debate the topic in a mature and sensitive fashion, we could raise awareness of the constant unnecessary stigmatisation of these unfortunate lunatics. Im not embarrassed to admit that I used to regularly suffer from panic attacks. All it would take was an unexpected knock on the door, and Id find myself screaming like Andy Coles wife. Luckily, the attack would subside once I realised my other half hadnt arrived home from work early. As a result of my experience, I feel Im in a perfect position to reflect upon Paul Gascoignes descent into a fruitcake laden abyss. Looking back, all the clues were there: Gazza was fearful of an alien invasion, he was holding conversations with plastic parrots and he fancied Newcastle to beat Blackburn. The Rovers are the only sane betting choice at 19/10.
I cant help but feel the media attempted to sensationalise Gazzas problems. Its not unusual for a man to cry during sex; as Joey Barton can confirm. Ill be incredibly sore if Middlesbrough fail to beat Reading at 9/10.
Its been reported that Ashley Cole burst into tears when Cheryl surprisingly decided to reconcile with the incredibly wealthy reserve full-back. Im guessing its not the first time that a handkerchief has come in handy. Im rubbing my hands together at the 5/2 for a draw between West Ham and Chelsea.
Robbie Keane also bawled after Tottenham lifted the Carling Cup. I find the idea of a male showing such emotion quite distasteful; although if Birmingham beat Tottenham at 3/1, Ill cry like Liz Hurleys maid on pay day.
To cap off a disgraceful week for the male race, William Gallas sobbed after kicking lumps out at an advertising hoarding. How surprising: a Frenchman and a pointless strike. Arsenal will demolish Aston Villa at 4/7.
On a brighter note for Arsenal, Eduardo may return to action in as little as nine months. I have to confess to being surprised by the quick turnaround: Ive been to Selly Oak hospital, and it normally takes seven months just to make it out of the waiting room. You should seek medical attention if you pass on the 4/5 for a Manchester City win over Wigan.
Its not just the clinically insane and the cast of The Crying Game who deserve our sympathy; our thoughts should also go out to players with learning disabilities. Its rumoured that Robbie Savage was the inspiration for Are you smarter than a 10 year old? The genuinely bright will be taking 13/10 for a Sunderland win over Derby.
I thought Wes Brown was a level (if somewhat orange) headed footballer, but hes clearly delusional if he believes hes worth £80,000 a week. That kind of money could fund research into psychiatric disorders for a number of years, or settle Wayne Rooneys tab at KFC. The 13/5 for Fulham avoiding defeat against Manchester United is finger-licking good.
There were many people who believed that El Hadji Diouf may have had a serious mental illness, as he would often dribble more than Cristiano Ronaldo. Ive been practically salivating over the 5/6 for a Liverpool win over Bolton.
History is like an Alzheimer's sufferer, it will often repeat itself. The last time Everton finished 4th in the Premiership, their neighbours lifted the Champions League trophy for the 5th time. I fancy Everton to beat Pompey at 10/11, but I hope it doesnt lead to Liverpool fans holding up six fingers; that should really be left to the citizens of Coventry.
Accer of the week:
Alzheimer's is the latest in a long list of illnesses to plague my father. I look back in fondness to the time when he was just a paranoid schizophrenic - it was nice that he had someone to talk to, even if he was out to get him. People use offensive labels such as nutter to describe the mentally ill, but i refuse to pigeon-hole my old man; as hes also an agoraphobic.
Ill definitely be going out when Arsenal, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Liverpool land a healthy 10/1 accer.
Arsenal v Aston Villa Saturday 1st March 15:00
Aston Villa 6/1
Get on: Arsenal
Birmingham v Tottenham Saturday 1st March 15:00
Get on: Birmingham
Derby v Sunderland Saturday 1st March 15:00
Get on: Sunderland
Fulham v Man Utd Saturday 1st March 15:00
Man Utd 4/11
Get on: Draw
Middlesbrough v Reading Saturday 1st March 15:00
Get on: Middlesbrough
Newcastle v Blackburn Saturday 1st March 15:00
Get on: Blackburn
West Ham v Chelsea Saturday 1st March 15:00
West Ham 4/1
Get on: Draw
Man City v Wigan Saturday 1st March 17:15 Live on Setanta
Man City 4/5
Get on: Man City
Bolton v Liverpool Sunday 2nd March 13:30 Live on Setanta
Get on: Liverpool
Everton v Portsmouth Sunday 2nd March 16:00 Live on Sky
Get on: Everton