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...
Famously, when Bob Dylan played at Manchester Free Trade Hall in 1966 with what was to become The Band, after the electric set, some bright spark cried out of the darkness 'Judas!' to which his Bobness said with terse accuracy, "I don't believe you, you're a liar."
For those not au fait with the story behind this, self-appointed folk purists thought their hero had sold out by going electric. Dylan was in the middle of creating a triumvirate of epoch-making, spine-shivering records of pure genius in Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde.
The purists thought he was going against the art form of folk music by doing this. Folk was acoustic, you had a beard, a rollneck sweater and unpleasant trousers. It was often self-consciously political and intellectual. It was supposed to be by the people, for the people. It was the people's music and here was their old hero - now evolving into poet chappy in tight pants with great hair - on drugs and playing what sounded rather like rock 'n' roll.
Sadly for the folk purists it turned out the people rather liked electricity and grooving to the sounds of electrical instruments, daddio. Soon enough, folk was pushed aside by loud, thrusting guitars but found its own and sometimes wonderful niche to occupy nonetheless. Today folk music has rarely been more popular, but no-one shouts Judas if someone plugs in a Stratocaster because folk purists have evaporated in a cloud of their own self-importance.
This whole dispute now seems hilariously self-absorbed. Of all the problems in the world in the mid-60s, whether a folk musician played an electric guitar was very, very low down the list. But some people felt very hard-line about it and felt Dylan had betrayed them. There was One True Way and he had departed from it.
Last year he said about the incident: "If you think you've been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified. All those evil motherf**kers can rot in hell."
If it was 1966 and we had rolled a big fat one at this point, we would shout 'yeah right on, man' to that. And we'd have been right. This is what happens when the purists get involved. They want us all to believe in their vision.
The folk purists were deluded and little more than cultural bullies. But, as Dylan said, these people are all around us.
Oddly, today the term 'purist' is often deployed as a compliment. Someone who is a purist is seen as undiluted in their views or their art, perhaps unaffected by the tides of fashion. It is used to express an idea that this person is the keeper of the holy flame of their art form.
When it's used in football, it is never as a criticism. But what does it mean? I heard it applied to Arsene Wenger three times in the last week and to Michael Laudrup too. "Two football purists," said the commentator.
So let's unpack it. What does football purist really mean? It means the square root of sod all.
All football teams and their coaches are football purists in a literal sense. They only play football. It's never diluted with ten minutes of hockey. All they do is play football and thus, they are football purists.
This gets us nowhere.
However, we know that it's actually being used in this context to mean Wenger and Laudrup or anyone else who believes in football played a specific way; the 'right way'; in other words, a certain kind of passing game.
But when did a side that passes the ball a lot become 'pure' football. Who said that is true and by what definition? How is that an expression of football purity above any other style of football? It isn't. It's an invented term to express a viewpoint that somehow this style of football is superior.
Assigning 'purity' gives it a moral dimension; it is unsullied, virginal, not corrupted. You might like how Wenger and Laudrup set up a team but that's no more or less superior than saying you like beef more than chicken. It's a matter of preference. But to elevate it to that of 'football purist' is to give it a weight that it can't support.
In Wenger's case, he has been vaunted for so long as this purist that he has been emboldened into believing that it is the only way. The language has endorsed his choices and ultimately you might say that this has been very destructive as Arsenal slowly sink into a mire of supposed purity. Wenger has had an easy ride for years because of the purist tag. It hypnotises people. Like the man who shouted 'Judas', they live in the past and can't stand change.
The tag might also end up getting Laudrup the Chelsea job in the summer because this purist tag has a lot of golden shimmer. Having a purist in charge to some is the platinum credit card of football, conferring status on the club and the fans.
What happens when someone invents something that doesn't conform to these ideas of purity but is brilliant and successful? Where's your purity then? One person's purity is another's atrophied out-moded concept.
Calling anyone a football purist is an insult to all of us. It suggests a hierarchy when none exists. It implicitly states there is a right way and a wrong way to play football. It is a little bit of fascist nonsense which needs debunking.
So when you hear anyone being called a football purist, like Dylan, we need to shout loudly, "You're a liar, I don't believe you."