This is a genuine appeal to all news desk, business desk and features journalists who might occasionally wander over to this corner of SubScribe. Has the way you have to work changed, so that you're no longer expected to report on what has actually happened, what people actually say, but instead to display all the prediction skills of Nostradamus?
I ask because that does seem to be what is now required of sports reporters, specifically, or especially, football writers.
Long gone are the days when the only live football on our telly each year was the FA Cup final and maybe a midweek international once in a while, and when watching Match of the Day was "event television" in every household. The demise of the Saturday Pink editions of our regional newspapers are also testament to the fact that, in our modern, wired-up digital age, not a second can pass without a goal alert, score update or video clip burping on to a screen near you. Why would you want to pay for a paper which is dated even before it goes off stone?
And so, the demands on modern football hacks have changed. Rarely, even for Sunday newspaper football reporters, is the old-style match runner required because, the reasoning goes, by the time the report hits the news stands the following day, every reader will already know the result, the scorers, and they will have probably seen replays of the goals from every available angle, too.
More crystal balls than footballs.
In an era when Fantasy Football games are used by sports sections to drive circulation and revenues, does anyone else sometimes pause to wonder how much of what their reading on the other sports pages might also be more fiction than fact?
I was reminded of this recently when I read a back page exclusive in The Independent which predicted (oh yes) that Alan Pardew, the manager of Newcastle United, was to be sacked on Tuesday morning if his side failed to win their next league fixture.
The story appeared to be impeccably sourced, from an exclusive interview with Newcastle United's owner, Mike Ashley.
This was a tabloid-style sports splash of the sort introduced to the paper by its then new head of sport, Mike Dunn. Suffice to say, Pardew has lasted longer in his job that has Dunn.
The paper's report - not written by any of the title's established or regular football writers - was based on a chance encounter outside a Soho pub between Ashley and the reporter, Vivek Chaudhary, the former Guardian sports news correspondent.
Ashley has something of a reputation for being difficult with the media, especially those sports reporters and newspapers he has banned from Newcastle's ground. Yet here, he chatted over his beer for some minutes with the reporter.
According to Chaudhary, and published by The Independent, the journalist recognised Ashley because of his "tradmark white shirt". The reporter also wrote that Ashley told him that he did not want him to record the conversation on his smart phone.
Unusually in football, Pardew has a long-term contract from Ashley, signed in 2012 for eight years. But in this chance encounter in Soho, according to Chaudhary, Ashley "started making throat-cutting gestures in relation to what the future held for Pardew". Of course, given the long-term contract, any dismissal of the manager would likely involve millions of pounds in compensation.
That was the end of September and Newcastle duly lost at Stoke on the Monday night. But Pardew was not sacked, as had been predicted.
Instead - until their defeat by West Ham yesterday - Newcastle went on to enjoy a fabulous seven-match unbeaten streak, winning their last six, including away at Tottenham in the league and at Manchester City in the League Cup.
Pardew appears safe in his job.
Me? Think that next time I'm looking for a prediction, I'll stick to the astrology column.