King Billy column
BARELY two months on the clock, but this has already been a year of shocks and scandalous news items – Oscar Pistorius' court case and the resignation of the Pope, to cite just two bombshells.
I didn't know pontiffs could quit. I believed in my Machiavellian way that when they were deep into dotage and likely to fluff their lines, a cardinal, on a dark and stormy night, would unclasp a secret chamber in his ring and slip his holiness a night-night draft into his cocoa from the bejewelled item.
So, well done Pope Benedict XVI, 1-0 to you your Holiness. Just like your country Germany's footballers, a fine finisher.
Sadly, if none saw those two coming, and forgive me for equating something much more trivial to the list, then Arsenal being blown away by Bayern Munich came as no surprise at all.
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It pains me, as an avowed Arsene Wenger (above) admirer, to suggest that maybe this season is his last in charge of the Gunners.
The same deficiencies evident in the past two seasons – at least – were exploited by a very good, but not great Bayern in an as embarrassingly one-sided Champions League match as you'll ever see.
Wenger has been unwilling or unable to replace quality with quality, despite reportedly having the funds to persuade players like Falcao and Llorente to go to the Emirates.
Although not world-beaters, Chris Samba and Demba Ba should have been recruited last month, along with a beast in midfield.
Jack Wilshire excepted, this current Arsenal team are ordinary by past standards and their pretty patterns only paper over all-too-obvious cracks.
Losing 1-0 to Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup was bad enough, but then all-but ending all chances of any trophies this season with a 3-1 first leg loss to Bayern was all too predictable and the last straw for many Gooners.
Another Frenchman under fire after losing deux sur le bounce, is France rugby union coach Phillipe Saint-Andre.
France have lost their opening Six Nations matches against Italy and Wales – their worst start since 1982.
Always unpredictable, Les Bleus perhaps need some home truths read to them, but not I suggest by a leading American businessman.
Stateside Tyre company Titan International CEO Maurice Taylor is not a Francophile as his views on a French workforce show.
Linked with a takeover of a French company, Taylor said: "The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three."
Meanwhile, Wenger's uncharacteristic outburst in a press conference only added to the speculation that the mercury was rising dramatically in his sangfroid.
It was sad and, when shown in edited form, embarrassing, but perhaps not quite as toe-curling as a Coventry City fan's rant to his local radio station's phone-in.
The hapless Sky Blues fan called BBC Coventry & Warwickshire bemoaning his side's display at Crewe Alexandra, wrongly believing they had drawn the Johnstone's Paint Trophy semi-final 0-0.
Not so, for had he hung around until the final whistle, he would have known Coventry prevailed 2-0 on the night, and not have sounded like a chastened schoolboy when eventually the BBC guys did get a word in edgewise.
Let it be a salutary lesson for all those who leave matches early, which one can only presume this poor chap did.