Yet another Bank Holiday weekend when the media has diverted the nation`s consciousness. It seems unseemly, grotesque even, that the news of two more of our forces being lost in Afghanistan, bringing the total to 368, has been overshadowed, not by more pressingly important events but by events surrounding the parallel universe of football.
It may indeed be the case that as a nation we are obsessed with sport, the last refuge for those who find it impossible to idle. But yet, despite the unfairness of our priorities, when it comes to sport, by and large we like to think that we abide by the notion of fair play. And when things become patently unfair - the current shenanagins at FIFA being a prime example - we rightly express our indignation.
So how is it that the system we have for deciding on promotion and relegation up and down the football pyramid is so blatantly unfair but yet we seems to accept it as part of the natural order of things? It is unnatural justice writ large and worthy of more indignation than is currently shown.
A couple of examples. At the top of League One this season, Brighton were worthy champions and along with Southampton who finished in second place, were automatically promoted to the Championship. Huddersfield, having gone 27 games unbeaten, were in third place, just five points behind Southampton. Peterborough finished fourth, eight points behind Huddersfield, MK Dons fifth, 10 points behind and Bournemouth sixth, a massive 16 points behind third place.
In League Two, where three teams are promoted automatically, Shrewsbury finished fourth just one point behind third place Wycombe; Accrington seven points behind; Stevenage 11 points behind and Torquay 12 points adrift of third place. So we go to the play-offs to decide which teams will join those already promoted automatically. The League One play-off final saw Peterborough beat Huddersfield and the League Two final saw Stevenage beat Torquay.
Now if there was any natural justice in football - an alien concept I know - third placed Huddersfield and fourth placed Shrewsbury would have gone up. As things stand, of course, with money ruling everything, it is deemed necessary to hold these money spinning lotteries. And so the clubs and their players and supporters have to suffer knife-edge uncertainties despite the fact that, in the case of Huddersfield and Shrewsbury, they had already surely earned the right to be promoted by assorted country miles. At least this year justice was done with Swansea, who finished third, winning the Championship play off and promotion to the never-never land of the Premiership.
So what to do about it? Well it won`t happen, of course, but two suggestions spring to mind. The first is that if, say, the team finishing third in League One or fourth in League Two does so by a margin of six points or more, then the play-offs become redundant. The second is much more simple. If we are stuck with the play-off system, then based on the faltering concept of fair play why on earth are there not play-offs for relegation as well as promotion?
Like the margin between genius and madness, the margin between success and failure is narrow, but is there any good reason to make it palpably unfair as well?