Date: 5th February 2006 at 2:02pm
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Sunday is a day for relaxing and mulling over the sports section at Olofin Towers.

The crisp winter sunlight streaming through the kitchen windows catching the steam from the pot of freshly made tea. Birds singing outside mixing with the sound of crisp, printed paper being folded, it’s a happy house.

Unless Wanderers have lost, that is.

Then its a dark, lightless echoing house, with the ghosts of the previous afternoon walking the hallway clanking their chains, each rattle a reminder of the teams most recently exposed shortcomings.

In years gone by that was a queue to seek out other numbers from the same legion of the damned, and stand in smoky, lino floored meeting places picking through the facts, performing the weekly autopsy.

But then came the advent of Sky, and the risk of having to bear witness to an opposing tribes better fortunes. Not so much rubbing salt in the still fresh wounds, as taking the lid off the pot and pouring the whole lot on them.

But there is still one refuge left to visit in these dark despondent moments that will still be in existence long after all around it has been changed.

The football gossip column.

The football gossip column differs from mainstream gossip column in one fundamental way.

In normal gossip columns, truth and substance are pretty good starting point to be going to print with. In football gossip columns, truth isn’t necessarily a requirement. As long as it contradicts someone else, reality ceases to be an issue.

The pleasing upshot being when things are going badly, you can normally find the answer you want to hear.

This weekends ‘is he, isn’t he?’ story wasn’t quite what some people expected.

But in true football gossip tradition, there are 2 opposing views on offer to a 2 answer question.

Sol Campbell’s recent form has begged the obvious question, will he go to Germany on performances like that? And everybody’s fears, no matter your viewpoint, can be cast aside.

The Sunday Express and Daily Star on Sunday say current England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson is set to drop him from his World Cup squad.

With no fake sheik in site, sceptisism over the source of that little titbit is definitely required.

It certainly is at the People on Sunday who went with Sol definitely going to Germany.

So will the real article please reveal itself?

No. Not just yet. Not until both sides have changed their ?reliable information? so many times no one remembers who started with which, and the matter has been confirmed in writing by the FA as well.

At that point it becomes an ?Exclusive, first brought to you by us on February fifth….? in both.

The News of the World also claims Sol Campbell came very close to retiring this week, but has had made a dramatic U-turn and will now return to training.

Whatever Sol’s problems hopefully he can start to overcome them and regain his form in time for Germany.

The only player to start every European and World Cup match for England since their Euro 96 exit deserves a shot at one last big tournament.

Edwin van der Sar is not a player normally associated with scandal, or being at the center of a media storm. And it’s well known that Sir Alex Ferguson doesn’t appreciate any added limelight being spilled on his already under pressure team.

So it comes as a huge surprise to find a statement that quite frankly, could have its reverberations felt right at the Old Trafford foundations.

Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Sar says Rio Ferdinand can be too casual at times says the Sunday Express.

It’s not known if they had to fly van der Sar to a luxurious yacht in the sunshine of a hideaway paradise to get this information, or whether they popped into Starbucks at the Arndale for a quick mochaccino.

But as Sven-Goran Eriksson’s ?Rio can be lazy.? led to such outrage, you’d think Edwin would be left living in fear of some kind of reprisal.

I think it’s a quite calculated move on the part of the canny Dutchman as he know’s Rio won’t remember a thing about it by now.

Next up for the flip a coin treatment is Joey Barton who is, or isn’t staying at Man City, depending on what you read.

Barton will sign a four-year deal to remain at the club. proclaims the Sunday Mirror.

Its hard to see who really won when they called for this, as the reply from Daily Star on Sunday & News of the World is Barton moving to Arsenal at the end of the season.

I have to say I dont really care. I’m sure Joey wont end up going begging, and I’m sure the thought never crossed anybody’s mind.

There are 3 questions that indicate whether Martin O’Neil is worth buying on Sportdaq.

Is there an International managerial vacancy about to emerge?

Is there a high profile Club managerial role about to emerge?

Are both stories about to emerge?

The News of the World have Newcastle tempting O’Neill, offering him a £30m warchest to play with.

The Sunday Express have him snubbing the Magpies, because he believes that he has the inside track in the race to be next England boss.

Only one can be true. You! Decide.

All I know is this.

Anyone that can get his name in the press pool hat for the England job, having already given to the nation Emile Hesley is pure genius. Sign him up! Now! It’ll take more than a sheet to fool this one!