Aston Villa's elimination from the inaugural Europa League could be the best thing that happens to them all season.
Earlier this year, they were on course for fourth place and a place in the European competition that actually counts before spring arrived and it all unravelled faster than the typical A-Team plot.
March came, the strain of a season that had begun the previous July told, Villa conceded two stoppage-time goals at home to Stoke and barely won another match the rest of the way.
Despite a few decent summer additions and the imminent arrival of Richard Dunne, Villa do not have the deepest squad in the Premier League, and their early success last term was thanks to the kind of consistent team selection not seen since Ron Saunders used only 14 players in Villa's 1980/81 title-winning campaign.
Suffice it to say, that won't work if you have to play 65 matches in nine months.
Everton and Fulham were happy to take their place in the Europa League group stage, but they face the following ordeal if they want to win the tournament:
Six group matches, followed by a two-legged tie in the last 32, last 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and one last game in the final.
Added to the qualifiers they have already played, that makes 17 matches for Everton and 19 for Fulham - half a Premier League season.
To make matters worse, the competition managed the feat of being both difficult and boring, especially with the group stage even more elongated than ever.
There are some decent sides good enough to make winning the competition a near impossibility, but not quite good enough to lend it any real glamour - sides like holders Shakhtar Donetsk, Hamburg, Villarreal, Roma, PSV and Fenerbahce, plus eight Champions League dropouts who will parachute in for the knockout rounds. Although on the plus side, none of them will be trying very hard.
If Villa's bacon has been saved by their early exit from Europe, it rather begs the question of what teams' objectives are.
Why are teams so keen to book a place in Europe when there is a strong likelihood that it will sabotage your next league campaign?
In theory the extra matches should mean more money, but UEFA Cup crowds are notoriously sparse and most teams struggle to get their matches on the telly.
Early Doors still operates under the touchingly old-fashioned belief that the quest for silverware is the reason football teams exist.
Clubs might be run like businesses, but most of them are useless ones. Three-quarters of the Premier League is deep in debt and dozens of Football League teams live with the threat of extinction hanging over them.
If owners were simply interested in making money, they would find better things to invest in - boring stuff like stocks, shares and a mobile phone with a built-in flick knife.
Most of them have already made their millions, and are getting involved in football for a bit of a lark.
Of course none of them wants to lose money, but what they really crave is the ego-stroking delight of seeing the boys they paid for lifting some shiny pot in the air while streamers and tinsel billow out of some industrial fan.
Villa are definitely not going to win the Europa League, but neither, if we're honest, are Everton or Fulham.
And Martin O'Neill's side have just greatly enhanced their chances of scooping some domestic glory.
The dear old Carling Cup has enjoyed a resurgence of late and Villa, who enter the competition in the last 32, only need to play five matches to win it. Even the FA Cup requires just a brisk six games to conquer.
Although you do have to win them all...
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "It's mainly the owners that asked us to do something - Roman Abramovich, (Milan's) Silvio Berlusconi, (Internazionale's) Massimo Moratti, They do not want to fork out from their pockets anymore. I have told Mr Abramovich about this and he said nothing against it." Michel Platini on his plans for 'financial pair play' in football.
FOREIGN VIEW: 'Kaka and Ibra at our place' - It will be just like old times when Real Madrid's Kaka and Barcelona's Zlatan Ibrahimovic visit their former clubs Milan and Inter in the Champions League, says Gazzetta dello Sport.
COMING UP: Live coverage of Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk in the European Super Cup from 19:45 CET, plus full weekend team news, Fantasy advice and who knows what else?