Barcelona, eh? ItÃ¢ÂÂs worse than The Tower during the reign of Henry VIII and his insatiable ginger loins. Worse than TraitorsÃ¢ÂÂ Corner when itÃ¢ÂÂs that time of month down Queen Elizabeth IÃ¢ÂÂs way. Worse even than Two-for-One day at the Place de la Revolution. Ronaldinho? Off with his head! Deco? Off with his head! Henry? Off with his head! Ezquerro? Who? You know, curly haired bloke. Never plays. Always wears a smirk. Christ, is he still here? Off with his head! EtoÃ¢ÂÂo? Henry? Oleguer? Off! Off! Off!
Henry and Ronaldinho prepare themselves for the chop
Yes, Barcelona are closing in on a second successive season without a trophy, and the knees are jerking and the heads are rolling. Almost all of the heads in fact.
Marca says eight or nine players will leave at the end of the season, El Mundo Deportivo foresees an especially bloody revolution and Sport has a double page spread with photos of every squad player: more than half of them have great big red crosses through their ugly mugs.
Then thereÃ¢ÂÂs Frank Rijkaard of course. And Txiki Begiristain, the sporting director. And, some insist, president Joan Laporta. The way theyÃ¢ÂÂve reacted, they might as well have published a Barcelona dartboard. Even if - like Thierry Henry - you missed your intended target, youÃ¢ÂÂd still hit a guilty man. ItÃ¢ÂÂs time for a proper clear out according to a poll of fans. Time to get rid of Ronaldinho, obviously, and Old Man Thuram. Time to get rid of Oleguer, Pinto and Joquera (because the three of them, who must have played all of, ooh, seven games between them are obviously to blame), Gudjohnsen, Zambrotta and Edmilson Ã¢ÂÂ the latter of whom more fans want out than anyone else, which might be because heÃ¢ÂÂs not very good.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs even time to get rid of Samuel EtoÃ¢ÂÂo too. Because 14 goals in 15 league games is rubbish. But itÃ¢ÂÂs not time to get rid of VÃÂctor ValdÃÂ©s. Or Puyol, Xavi, and Iniesta, Sylvinho, TourÃÂ© and Milito.
And itÃ¢ÂÂs definitely not time to get rid of Leo Messi or Bojan Krikic. Like John Wayne Bobbit, somehow Abidal just about survives the cut. And so, by a whisker does Deco. 54% want him to stay after his impressive performances against Manchester United.
Deco: Fans want him to stay, the board have other ideas
Shame that 54% doesnÃ¢ÂÂt include the board. Because itÃ¢ÂÂs all well and good the fans pointing the finger, itÃ¢ÂÂs the club who has to wield the axe.
And, La Liga LocaÃ¢ÂÂs crack team of insiders tells us, DecoÃ¢ÂÂs head is definitely on the block, glistening blade hovering above him. If the club gets its way, decent offers will also arrive for Henry and even Samuel EtoÃ¢ÂÂo: Barcelona reckon the Cameroonian has got a big enough gob and a big enough price tag to make getting shot of him a tasty prospect.
TheyÃ¢ÂÂd like Gio to stay but he could walk and they wonÃ¢ÂÂt stop him. In fact, they might even prepare a nice packed lunch for him. And, like the fans, they also want to see the back of MÃÂ¡rquez, Gudjohnsen, Edmilson and Thuram. And the rest. In total, after a frenzied blood bath, after some frantic a-swinging and a-slashing of very sharp metal, Barcelona would like to whittle their squad down to 10 players. Yes, 10. Meaning, of course, that theyÃ¢ÂÂd have to find some new ones from somewhere; meaning that then the whole process starts over again - time to chase after Dani Alves and Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema and Seydou Keita and Cesc Fabregas and, and, and Ã¢ÂÂ¦ New players, a new coach, and a new life but will Barca really get them? After all, theyÃ¢ÂÂre skint. And even if they did would they be happy? Was Queen Elizabeth happy? Are the French happy? And what good did all that chopping and changing ever do Henry VIII?
Anne Boleyn? Off with her head! That Jane SeymourÃ¢ÂÂs much tastier....
Henry VIII: Rotation policy proved largely ineffective