To avoid being in the same house as my unfortunate, scouser-loving son when Arsenal romps to an inevitable triumph over bewilderingly mediocre Liverpool this weekend - with all the attendant family heart-ache that would cause - I have decided to pack up and go as far away as possible. Shanghai, in fact, where on Sunday I hope to take in Shanghai Shenhua's penultimate home match against Shaanxi Baorong Chanba in the Chinese Super League. Perhaps I will wear my TFC jersey just to confuse people.
Shenhua are perennial runners up in the Chinese super-league and they don't look up to a final title challenge this year either, being 4 points off the pace with three games to go and leaders Changchun having a game in hand. The signing of former Middlesborough star (if that isn't an oxymoron) Hamilton Ricard has done little for the club this season, and one suspects that his current time in China is nothing more than an attempt to avoid the limelight after that nasty 12-month ban for attacking a ref in Ecuador and the small matter of a three-year jail term hanging over his head in connection with a 2002 fatal road collision in Colombia.
As usual, I'll be looking for good football stories - in particular, I'm interested to see whether or not Ronaldinho retains the title of being all-purpose poster boy for football in Asia he clearly had last year (I'm betting Kaka has stolen some fire since then). But if anyone can recommend some avenues of inquiry or provide tips on Chinese football - or simply where to get a decent drink in the Bund - I'd sure appreciate it.