So after a riveting season it all ended rather tamely. Manchester City finished off the claret and blue threats of Villa and West Ham via the method of slow constriction. Allardyce and Lambert, two managers who have looked increasingly witless this season, went for the everyone behind the ball, hands-over-the-face, count-to-90-minutes and hope-for-the-best-option. Only Mourinho seems to make this work. He must have better buses.
It's hard not to like Citeh, particularly under the stewardship of Pellegrini, a man who has stuck firmly to his principles despite early season setbacks and has risen above and beyond any of the petty back-and-forths that pass for management these days.
The noisy neighbours look more and more tranquil in the very top tier. Not so much nouveau riche as landed gentry, they are now. Nine of the team that started on Sunday won the title two years ago. There's no need for big banners and coded eff-yous now. Just wave the trophies under the even quieter neighbours' noses.
They've been very easy on the eye, at times utterly ruthless, but if there's one player who represents their success this year it is Yaya Toure. Dietmar Hamann will tell you he doesn't do enough in his own half. Who the fuck cares, really, Didi? It's like complaining that Picasso wasn't much good at painting skirting-boards.
Toure is immense.He's scored hatfuls, some struck from distance but many simply scored through an extraordinary mixture of strength and grace. He's like Jonah Lomu with subtlety. Others have chipped in: Aguero, of course, but also Nasri, Silva and even Dzeko, a player who always confuses me when he plays well because I remain convinced that he's a bit shite.
Demichelis deserves credit for turning round a season in which he looked for all the world like a Stephen Seagal stunt double who wandered into the wrong set. Kompany is of course terrific and a very sound human being. You can't begrudge him a trophy.
So yes, well done Citeh and your very nice manager. But don't start with the 'we don't get enough credit for winning the league' tosh. I'm sorry but if you spend that amount of cash and wildly trash the UEFA financial fair play regulations and get a meaningless fine for your troubles, there's going to be a large amount of snide remarks about the Premier League being the least you could manage. Each and every one of them earns a bloody fortune. They should be good.
Chelsea deserve more derision. Almost as absurdly wealthy, they've won nowt in a particularly dreary way. Maybe, just maybe, Jose was wrong to come back. You can't always pick up where you left off with an old lover. The Happy One has looked so God-forsakenly miserable recently that I had to blink twice to remind myself that it wasn't Avram Grant.
Of course Liverpool and United are the real stories of the story. Moyes mismanaged to turn the champions into a bunch of hesitant nitwits, particularly at home in the Theatre Of Falling-Apart-At-The-Seams. Fergie oversaw the whole thing, puce and grim-faced up in the stands looking for all the world like a member of the politburo during a Moscow Mayday Parade. If Van Gaal gets the job, he's got a lot of work ahead of him.
Liverpool have of course been a joy, and Suarez a shining light of utter brilliance. A bid's gone in for Lallana this morning. Rodgers isn't hanging about. We expect more of the same in August. I hope so cos it's been a wondrous breath of fresh air. But in the end they didn't win the title because they didn't quite know how to.
Citeh did have the know-how. They have been the best balanced side and although it came about in a constantly surprising way, the final outcome hardly makes one gasp.
Still at least all those England players at Citeh are going to come into the World Cup with a whole heap of confidence behind them. Joe Hart and... erm... oh, Milner played a bit didn't he?... Lescott? Not really... that bloke Rodwell is still there isn't he?...
Any road, Hodgson names his squad in two hours and there's no Ashley Cole. Good. Not cos Cole hasn't been a terrific player over the years - the best England's ever had in that position - but because it suggests that Hodgson might be taking some youth and creativity along with him. He might even have an eye on the future.
And with that in mind, here's the squad I'd take:
Hart, Foster, Forster; Johnson, Clyne, Jagielka, Cahill, Caulker, Jones, Baines, Shaw; Gerrard, Lallana, Henderson, Carrick, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Sterling, Barkley; Rooney, Welbeck, Lambert, Sturridge.
I don't think there's much to argue about with that squad. Possibly Ruddy instead of Foster. I wouldn't take Walker instead of Clyne even if he's fit. He's a danger to himself and the team is Kyle and it's not as if Glen Johnson doesn't have the odd ricket in him already.
Phil Jones goes (if fit) because he can play at full-back - I know not all that well but better than Smalling can. There's no place for other United makeweights either: Cleverley, Young, Smalling - they're not even works-in-progress these days, more like works-in-decline.
The forwards pick themselves now that Rodriguez can't make it. Milner can consider himself a little unlucky and I rather think that Hodgson will take him and leave out someone like Barkley. But I sort of hope not.
But all in all, I'm really looking forward to this World Cup because I absolutely know we can't win it. We'll be doing brilliantly just to get out of the group. Dyke's throat-slitting gesture wasn't funny. It was just accurate.
Which is more than can be said of his plan to revive our footballing youth. Let's just bung some B teams in amongst the lkower leagues and give 'em a bit of playing time. Really? Patronise hard-working league sides with your rich man's also-rans? No, if I was a Hartlepool regular I wouldn't pay tuppence to watch West Brom's second eleven. It's bollocks and patronising.
More money into grass-roots footy. More coaches. Better facilities. It'll all help. And in the shirt-term here's how to improve England's young footballers. Pick 'em. It's working at Southampton and Liverpool. And it'll save clubs a fortune. Just stop pissing about though Greg. Or we'll be doing doing that throat-slitting thingammy in your general direction.