On the few occasions I raise my eyes from the racing pages (just about the only section that's smaller than it used to be), newspapers tell me that when the kids of today aren't shooting each other, they spend all their time with a computer control in one hand and a Big Mac in the other. So there are vast numbers of fat kids roaming our streets looking for pennies in the gutter to cobble together sufficient cash to buy a can of White Lightening. And what do fat kids do in kids' football matches? Goalie or ref, that's what they do.
So from this vast (in every sense) talent pool, England should be leading the world in goalkeepers and referees - right? Wrong! I reckon Shilton would still be England's Number One if he could get back to his fighting weight of 16 stone, and, if Graham Poll wasn't spending all his time plugging his book, we'd welcome him back with open arms to issue the yellows and catch the camera with his better side too.
To the games.
If Liverpool and Derby County were boxers, the fight would have been stopped in the fourth round to save Derby from further punishment. Liverpool declared on six goals and should have had ten: Derby might struggle to finish the season with less than 100 goals conceded. Level on 10 points with Liverpool are the Arse, for whom little Cesc acquired his now regular goal and card in their disposal of mid-table Portsmouth; Everton, kindly donated the full three points by the Bolton's Alonso brother's inability to stand still on the post at a corner; and miserable buggers Chelsea, who lost 2-0 at Villa Park - a great result for Villa which mysteriously kept them in the tenth place to which they have become so accustomed.
Manchester United reaped the reward of bringing on a proper forward at half-time, as Saha nodded in a corner to defeat plummeting Sunderland. Steve Coppell, for once with reason to look and sound as grim as he does, wasn't happy with Reading's second 3-0 scoreline in a row, West Ham the beneficiaries this time around as Bellamy had one of those rare games when only the opposition fans want to punch him. Middlesborough beat Birmingham 2-0 in a game every bit as good as it sounds and Newcastle were indebted to little Mickey Owen for their 1-0 win against Wigan, in a match during which the officials disallowed good goals and issued cards more or less at random.
Finally a little light comedy. Blackburn and Manchester City reminded us how Lancashire derbies used to be ("Never mind the ball, get on with the game") as four yellow cards and two reds were issued in the first twenty minutes of the second half, before Blackburn ran out 1-0 winners as Sven's tumescent introduction to the Premier League goes flaccid. Top comedy performance of the week goes to unjolly Martin Jol, whose Spurs team dominated the match at Craven Cottage before he split up the dynamic Keane / Berbatov duo and let Fulham rescue a point with a Kamara overhead kick that goes in once in a hundred times. Frankie Howerd lookalike Lawrie Sanchez could barely keep the smile off his face - not a problem Martin Jol has to deal with even at the best of times.
This week, I've offered my services to Steve McClaren, so can expect a late call up, even at my advanced age. Well, if it can happen to Heskey...