There are many ways to spot the onset of Grumpy Old Man syndrome -- an obvious one is when top sports stars really start to annoy you with their behavior.

I am a middle aged man. At least I hope I am. At 46 years old, I am at an age when I would gladly live to twice my current status.

In any man’s language 92 is a fine age to strive for, but I fear some of my current eccentricities suggest I am already losing touch with reality.

For example, the fact that I find it mildly amusing that I am 46 years of age and was born in ‘64 is starting to annoy the people I mention this to on a frequent basis.

My wife, for example, was born in ’67 and will have to wait until she’s 76 to share the same experience, but anyone born in ’02 will only have to wait 12 years!

I tell you, it makes for fascinating conversation -- when you’re at least 46. I’d urge you to try it now even. Match your year of birth with that age and work out when you will reach the milestone -- or did!

When you’re only eight however -- like those born in 2002 -- it’s not interesting at all, but I realize I probably have little or nothing in common with the average eight-year-old these days, even with those who are entitled to call me Uncle.

I realized as much again on Monday when I picked up the papers and took great exception to the photos of a beaming John Terry with his wife, his two young children and the Premier League trophy staring at me.

Terry had every right to lift the really big cup, and I am sure there are eight-year-olds in Ireland who don’t know better who want to be John Terry when they grow up.

As captain of Chelsea he was, after all, the man who led them to a title that Manchester United threw away according to one of the eight-year-olds of my acquaintance who may just already know a thing or two about football.

What said child won’t understand for at least another eight years is the hypocrisy of the photograph that leapt off the page of Monday’s Star as I digested my muesli -- another side effect of middle age!

John Terry, in case you didn’t hear the news this side of the Atlantic anytime over the last six months, is the cheating, two-timing captain of Chelsea.

The proud father and husband smiling in that photograph is the same man who paid for an abortion by the girlfriend of a former teammate and has since been stripped of the England captaincy for his lack of decency.

So you’ll excuse my middle aged eccentricity if I am disturbed by the callousness of his attempt to play happy families on the pitch at Stamford Bridge following Sunday’s win over Wigan and the eight goal romp that sealed the title deal.

I am not pretending to be the Pope here, by the way. I don’t own a glass house, but I do own a few stones.

I just can’t understand how a role model who behaved as appallingly as Terry can allow his children to be photographed in such a manner just months after he dragged the same family through the mud.

Maybe it’s an English thing, this acceptance of low moral values. Maybe it’s an age thing.

Maybe the big bad world wants to accept people like John Terry, Ashley Cole, Tiger Woods and Thierry Henry as their role models, as the sort of men we should encourage all eight-year-olds to aspire to.

Maybe that’s why I currently live in a land that is happy to allow the bankers and the politicians who bankrupted our Celtic Tiger -- and the future prospects of our children -- go unpunished.

That’s another story, but I just can’t understand why we haven’t taken to the streets over NAMA and Anglo and the Quinn Group, never mind John Terry.

See, I sound more and more like a Grumpy Old Man with every sentence.

Worst of all, though, is the increasingly frequent feeling that I am glad I am 46 now and not eight.

I’m just not sure I would want to grow up in a world where John Terry, Tiger Woods and their likes are tolerated, never mind forgiven.

That’s the surest sign yet that I am now a Grumpy Old Man. I think I’ll make it official.

I’m old, I’m grumpy -- AND I LIKE IT!