With all the goodbyes on Sunday, one slipped under the radar. John Nicholson says we won't miss Michael Owen because, for the last few years anyway, he hasn't really been here...
Being sniffy about the Europa League is ridiculous. All football is inherently pointless and this competition is no more pointless than any other. Well done Rafa and Chelsea...
No matter what the logical or legal arguments, some things are just wrong. Things such as paying a departing BBC Director General nearly half a million quid for being rubbish. It doesn't matter how much you try and justify it, in the public court of common sense, it's just massive money for being sh*t at your job. It's not right. It's not OK.
But on the day the Champions League and Europa League draws are made, there is an even greater injustice on show. That injustice is called seeding.
A cup competition that is seeded is, in essence, fixed. It is designed to keep specific teams apart at specific points in the tournament. Even at this first knock-out stage of the Champions League, there are teams who can't be allowed to play each other because they are from the same FA or have already played each other or they have too many players called Colin.
The seeding regime for the Champions League is a huge, unwieldy, byzantine creation. We all know it's designed to try and get all the biggest, most popular clubs through. That, by any other name, is a fix.
Why can't four big sides be drawn to play each other in the group stage? Why is this a bad thing? Manchester City's group this year proved what great entertainment a strong group can be. UEFA don't want this but we damn well should, yet we just seem to have forgotten or failed to question that we are being sold a shaped and marketed tournament whose focus is money and not football.
I tried to find out UEFA's reasoning for the seeding system but they don't offer one. They detail what it is, but not why. They haven't even bothered to make PR bullpoop up. It's bogus and stands no scrutiny at all.
The naked draw, unseeded and open to the whims of dame fortune, is the very essence of cup football. To seed teams to keep them apart and to draw up other exclusion clauses is a naked illustration of the corporatisation of football which seeks to shape outcomes for the economic game of the elite. It seeks to make it harder for those with less resources to progress through the luck of the draw, thus sealing in the wealth; the money keeps the money, year after year; much like the BBC, it would seem. It's wrong and it should stop.