Never mind the Yankees’ or Mets’ 2005 payrolls ; La Liga’s Real Madrid are threatening to redefine “underachievment” this season, having slumped to 15th place following a 1-0 loss to Espanyol.

The May-September duo of Alan Shearer and Michael Owen, not an interesting thought between them, scored their first goals of the season in Newcaste’s 3-0 defeat of Blackburn.

In a result that should warn the hearts of Delia Smith, the Higsons and Wisdom Weasel (though perhaps not Alan Partridge), Norwich edged past Ipswich, 1-o, though the Times’ Paul Cononlly claims “the East Anglia Derby rarely crops up in discussions about the world™s most intense local rivalries.”

(Norwich’s Darren “I Heart” Huckerby and Ipswich’s Richard Naylor shrug off a national journalists’ attempts to kill the vibe)

Hey, I’m sure it doesn’t measure up to the atmosphere surrounding a Rochester/Syracuse encounter in the USL (supposedly the inspiration for an upcoming independent film in which Elijah Wood plays the first female goalkeeper to star for the Rhinos), but they are probably doing the best they can.