Taking his eye off sporting matters, The Birmingham Post chief football writer Hyder Jawad looks at matters political and the future of Tony Blair...
It is in keeping with the capricious nature of his political career that Tony Blair has inadvertently put the Conservative Party in a peculiar situation.
They have spent the past 11 years trying to discredit him but now, because of his declining popularity and diminished leadership, the Tories might actually want him to remain as Prime Minister.
It is Machiavellian behaviour but, in this climate, wholly appropriate.
The rationale is this: the longer he remains as a lame-duck leader, the more chance the Conservatives have of winning the next General Election.
Conversely, the sooner Gordon Brown is installed as Prime Minister, the more chance the Labour Party has of securing a fourth term.
It is, with perfect symmetry, a reminder of the political landscape in those memorable autumn months of 1990. Then it was Margaret Thatcher under pressure as Prime Minister and Labour hoping that she would keep her job.
She took the hint, John Major took over, and Labour lost in 1992.
With this in mind, key figures on the left of the Labour Party have called for Blair to resign "sooner rather than later", for the benefit of the Government and, they say, the country itself. While it was seen in 1997 that Labour won because of Blair, the perception-grows that they won in 2005 in spite of him.
Robin Cook, the former Foreign Secretary, has called Blair "a liability"; Clare Short, the MP for Birmingham Ladywood, says "Blair has lost the trust of the British people"; and former Health Minister Frank Dobson says Blair cannot survive until the local elections next May.
Downing Street says that, despite these inevitable calls for Blair's resignation, the situation has not changed: he will serve a full third term.
But if they believe that, they inhabit a different world from the rest of us.
Mr Blair no longer has a comfortable majority in the House of Commons and there are enough Labour rebels to stop him from achieving anything. The economy is threatening to deflate and the European Constitution could provide embarrassment when the British public reject it.
The council elections next year will prove to be awkward - the Tories are sure to consolidate their position as the party of local government - and the fall-out from Iraq will continue to hang over him like industrial smog.
And then there is George Galloway, the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in London, a former ally, who has made it a personal mission to "hound him [Blair] out" of office.
It is not only the Tories who would want Mr Blair to remain in power for the time being.
When Mr Blair took Labour to the right of centre, the Liberals went left and revived three-party politics.
With Gordon Brown in charge, thousands who voted Lib-Dems at this election would return to Labour, making life awkward for Charles Kennedy. Mr Brown would be more palatable to the left wing of Labour, uniting the party in much the same way as John Smith did on taking the leadership in 1992.
He cannot actively campaign for Blair's job.
Such a tactic backfired on Tory Michael Heseltine in 1990.
All the Chancellor can do is bide his time, strengthen his base, and watch events relieve Mr Blair of the premiership.
The likelihood is that Mr Blair will survive at least until the United Kingdom assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union in July.
After that, at the start of 2006, his days are numbered, and commentators throughout the land will begin to write his political obituary.
If Mr Blair has read his Bible, he will have come across Ecclesiastes 3:1-3, which says: "For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven; a time to be born, a time to die."
In politics, there is always a time to resign.
Knowing when that time has come helps to make a statesman great.