Just when Emile Heskey thought he was finally getting the recognition his stand-out season deserved, fate yesterday had a smirk on its face as it landed yet another rabbit punch in the shape of omission from England's squad for their summer tour
Hours after leaving the city's swanky Hilton Metropole hotel with an armful of honours from Birmingham City's end-of-season awards, the 27-year-old had been unceremoniously dumped by national team manager Sven Goran Eriksson.
The contrast between the previous night, when he was named the club's player of the year, players' player of the year and man of the season, and yesterday afternoon, was stark as the Swede left out one of the few players desperate to make the tour to the United States of America.
Only last week Heskey had been unequivocal in stating his desire to go on the twogame tour and this latest omission, in favour of Alan Smith, Andrew Johnson, Jermain Defoe, Michael Owen and the untried Peter Crouch, is a bitter blow.
Having spent eight months in the international wilderness, following a failure to impose himself on Euro 2004, the former Liverpool man had returned to the national set-up for the World Cup qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Northern Ireland.
Although he didn't make it on to the pitch, his selection and continued good form for Birmingham, had made him look a certainty to go to America.
But instead Eriksson has opted to take one man who won't be available for the first match [Owen]; another who hasn't been a first-team regular for his club [Smith]; a striker with two goals in his last 14 matches [Defoe] and two untested youngsters.
Heskey might well feel aggrieved.
He will be able to temper the disappointment with the knowledge that his teammate, Matthew Upson, has been recalled in the absence of Rio Ferdinand, John Terry and Jamie Carragher.
Upson has made just one appearance for England this season, coming on as a substitute in the dire loss to Spain last November, and will view the tour as an opportunity to partner Sol Campbell at the heart of Eriksson's defence.
Another striker not going to the States is Aston Villa's Darius Vassell, who will be more than happy to administer the last rights to a turbulent season when his team travel to Liverpool on Sunday.
Vassell was already wallowing in a downturn of form when he suffered a broken ankle in October and spent four months on the sidelines.
He returned to the Villa side in February and has only scored once in the nine games since, which means his omission is rather less surprising.
Meanwhile, the lengthy shadow of Crouch stretched all the way from Southampton to Villa Park yesterday after the gangly striker was named in the England squad ahead of Vassell.
The call-up caps a remarkable season for the former
Aston Villa forward, who has scored 16 times in the Saints' battle for survival.
Crouch was allowed to leave the Midlands in July last year after failing to find a way past starters Juan Pablo Angel and Vassell and earn himself a regular place in David O'Leary's first team.
After just scoring just six times in 37 league matches, O'Leary put the affable 24-year-old on the transfer list.
Paul Sturrock, then manager at St Mary's, saw enough in the 6ft 7ins forward to pay £2 million for his services and although the Scot wasn't around long enough to see it, Crouch has more than justified his fee.
Southampton are still in a perilous position and could be relegated on Sunday but Crouch has been one of the few unqualified successes of their campaign and he will now get the chance to show the world what he can do, having already represented his country at Under 18, 20 and 21 level.
The Macclesfield-born attacker might have been the beneficiary of Wayne Rooney's withdrawal, but it has not diluted his joy.
Crouch said he was "thrilled" and though obviously disappointed with his suspension for Sunday's clash with Manchester United, added: "The England call is a great honour and I just hope it becomes a double celebration with us staying up."