At last! Just when you thought it was safe to dismiss football as a self-interested bunch of millionaires playing at sport while the rest of us cough up to fund their increasingly cynical, egotistical and exploitative endeavours, up pops the FA Cup. Not to mention the League Cup, by crikey.
Yes, football can still be a wonderful focal point for a community. Football can still reward hard work and loyalty, from fans and players alike. Football can still sit sentimentally in our hearts like a good pie and a cup of Bovril from a thermos. (Although the pies ran out dead quickly at Boundary Park.)
In light of the weekend's events you might point to Bradford City as the tipping point. Hellfire, thought the other tiddlers, if the Bantams, who cost about as much as a Premier League footballer's round at a nightclub, can reach Wembley then who the hell couldn't?
I confess to the odd tear when the final whistle blew at Valley Parade. It couldn't have been more miraculous had Gary Jones wafted his hand across the sky and turned the rain into rioja. Granted they were fortunate to be playing a team with all the defensive rigour of a wendy house.
And is it me or do teams that struggle in the top-flight always have a striker who is a 'real handful' but can't actually do what he's paid to do? Christian Benteke's conversion rate must be lower than a door-to-door Jehovah's witness's. He is well ahead in the race for the 2013 Emile Heskey Big Lunk of the Year Award.
It's no wonder Villa keep losing these evening kick-offs. Lambert has to go round his team at 7pm and get them out of their pyjamas with a cup of warm milk before he can get them on the pitch.
But stuff like that doesn't happen more than once, does it? Ah but wait. What about plucky Luton! I'm still struggling with the concept of Luton Town being a non-league side - although probably not quite as much as the average Hatters fan. In my head Luton Town still means Eric Morecambe, and David Pleat dancing in his hushpuppies like an unwelcome uncle at a teenage disco, and Paul Walsh and Ricky Hill promising to be top flight England internationals. (Time does strange things to your memory).
Well now they can add a Premier League scalp in Norwich City as can MK Dons - a forever unlikeable club given its origins. But come Sunday, and there were three certs for the Death of the Romance of the Cup.
Then Leeds beat Spurs - who still betray all the hallmarks of showboating fancy Dans when push comes to shove. That kind of equates romance with Neil Warnock, which is about as ugly a thought as one can imagine whilst keeping your breakfast down. Then Brentford almost turned over Chelsea, a result that a lot of Blues fans wouldn't really of minded given that it would've confirmed every suspicion they had about the Tapas restaurant manager in charge.
And finally we got to Oldham-Liverpool. Poor old ITV. They get the short straw again. A comfy 4-0 victory for the Big Boys, surely...? Rodgers selected a strong team, so we're told. Jordan Henderson was the midfield maestro, and played like an inflatable Steven Gerrard with a slow puncture. (You can buy inflatable Steven Gerrards from just about any Adult Shop in Liverpool. There's not a Koppite who hasn't slept with one.)
There was Fabio Borini, too. One of those anonymous Italians who sounds like he should be good but is more than a bit shit.
But it was one of those FA Cup games. Boundary Park, with stands on only three sides, has the feel of a half-built car-park. The weather was perfect. Rain bucketed down and fell off the roof of the ricketty stand like a partly-vandalised water feature. Wind howled like a portent of doom.
And Oldham - one point in eight games - had in Matt Smith a hero in waiting. Like Bradford's Jim Hanson, a huge bastard with some weedy defenders to get amongst, a sunflower rising amongst the daisies. And who the hell is Coates and why can't we pronounce his name like the legendary Ralph's?
It took Rodgers 55 minutes to bring on the Messiah and all Stevie G did - apart from illustrating how much Henderson has to learn - was witter away at the referee for the rest of the game. You could just hear his squeaky Scouse whine, couldn't you? - like a fly trapped in a jar. (Okay he did hit the bar and was their best player once he came on but... )
It was all too lovely, wasn't it? The only team to really puncture the sentiment was my dear old Boro who stumbled horribly past a very good Aldershot, and will probably fare a lot better should we get them lightweights Chelsea in the next round.
So a week, and a weekend shorn of the cynicism of the season thus far; a throwback to Ronnie Radford and Sutton United and Blyth Spartans and many others too numerous to mention. The only blot on the landscape came not from a player but from a ball boy.
Media reaction to Eden Hazard 'kicking a ball boy' has been utterly ludicrous. I know of only one person who didn't think the lad deserved a cracked rib and that's his Mum. Even the boy himself accepts he's been a total nob.
Yes, footballers are arrogant and superior and, let's not beat around the bush here, obscenely rich (so would you be if someone agreed to give you that much money a week) but they don't have to be patient with that sort of numpty. They say football only has itself to blame for the ball boy's behaviour. Really? Nah. The lad is, as he should be, ashamed of himself.
Hazard should be getting a one-game ban, a tap on the wrist. And, if you ask me, a pat on the back.