The collapse of the newspaper business is the story of our time. Circulation is falling, venerable titles are going to the wall. Young people, the bastards, are getting all their news off their damn mobile phones and going out and getting the paper like the generations before them had.
Editors and proprietors are at a loss as to what to do.
But now, salvation has arrived. And in the unlikeliest form. The latest craze for footballers taking out a full page ads to say sorry for moving to a bigger club for more money has the potential to save the newspaper business.
Where property was once the dominant form of advertising within the print media, we now expect contrite footballers who have just moved to bigger clubs to pick up the slack. It is even envisaged that the whole industry may become dependent on this source of income.
Back in the old days, players used to content themselves with piously refusing to celebrate when they scored against their old club. This show of pompous faux-solemnity was, they felt, a suitable enough show of respect and solidarity. Denis Law was a pioneer of this behaviour back in 1974.
But now, this is not enough. Nowadays, anything less than a full page ad in the local paper is seen as a heartless insult to the club who aided you and the supporters who used to cheer for you.
Who knows? In the future, it may become necessary to buy up eight whole pages and maybe release your own supplement. Maybe a billboard on the way into the town? Perhaps, deliberate own goals when you come to face your old team on the pitch.
Quite what this means for the newspaper industry we will leave up to Clay Shirky and all those other media theorists. Meanwhile all those other desperate regional newspaper proprietors in Norwich and Southampton and Nottingham are smelling the potential dough to be made. We anticipate that they will end up forming alliances with unscrupulous agents to keep the transfer rumour mill turning.