Picture the scene. Manchester United have just won the Premier League when Sir Alex Ferguson receives a phone call telling him that play-offs between the top four will now apply. The nuclear response from Old Trafford could only be imagined.
Play-offs increasingly impinge on regular seasons – both rugby codes have them – and this weekend, the Football League clubs that couldn't make promotion get another chance. Occasionally another element kicks in – justice, as with Burnley, who have played attractive football throughout the season. A tough Sheffield United provide the opposition on Monday (13-8 at Blue Square) but I'm with Burnley (Betfred 15-8). In the other games, punt a few quid on each of the four teams to win on penalties. Totesport offer 10-1 on each.
Tomorrow sees the start of the French Open, given fresh impetus by Roger Federer's win over Rafael Nadal in Madrid, although the Spaniard was clearly cream-crackered after his semi. The bookies haven't budged – Nadal is 4-11, while Federer is 7-1. Try Gaël Monfils (each-way 100-1, Boylesports) who reached the semis last year. Caroline Wozniacki, now ranked 10th, appeals each-way, 20-1, in the women's draw.
Back to Fergie – United face a weakened Barcelona in the European Cup final but there is little between the two in the betting. Favouritism hinges on the fitness of Thierry Henry and Andres Iniesta – if both are out, United will shorten so take the 7-4 with Coral now.