Woodward's shot at Olympic contribution
Like Mark Twain, reports of Sir Clive Woodward's demise at the British Olympic Association over the last couple of years have been greatly exaggerated. I should know; I'm responsible for some of them.
The good news is that Clive is alive and thriving at Team GB HQ, a place he has no intention of leaving until after London 2012.
It also seems he might at last be given a chance to actually do something, although I should qualify that statement before I'm permanently placed in Woodward's energy-sappers and termites pile.
The 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning coach is finally going to be allowed to do what most people thought he would be doing for our Olympic athletes (and what he himself has so desperately wanted to do), and that's coach them.
Word has arrived at the Big British Castle that Britain's beleaguered shooters will be the first Olympians to get the full-fat Woodward treatment, and for a team running low on ammo, the 53-year-old's arrival could provide the spark they need.
Yes, there will be psychological profiling, corporate auditing, aggregating of marginal gains and countless other things lifted straight from the Wernham Hogg management manual, but there will also be energy, honesty and an open mind.
And that's not all. Amid the buzzwords and sports science quackery, there will be the odd nugget (a peripheral vision coach sounded daft when Woodward first suggested it but that same coach has now worked with the last two Rugby World Cup winners) and it is those nuggets that make gold medals and gold medals are what British Shooting needs. Badly.
The sport was the biggest loser when the money available for London 2012 preparations was dished out in December. Having missed its two-medal target in Beijing, shooting was always going to be up against the wall when a failure to find private backing left Team GB's budget £50m light.
The fact that British Shooting had been funding 46 athletes in the build-up to the 2008 Games didn't help either, particularly as the sport's sights had been way off in Athens too.
But the news, when it came, hit hard. Shooting, which had provided a gold and silver in 2000, was now a "below the line" funding priority.
Confirmation of the sport's allocation did not come until late January. Shooting's bosses said they were expecting the worst - there was only £12.5m left in the kitty and 11 other sports to share it with - but even the worst of their imaginations wasn't as bad as the number they got: a little under £1.25m over four years. They had been spending that much every year since 2005.
So now shooting has five funded athletes, two coaches, no performance director, the same old headaches about finding places to train in the UK and a major flea in its ear about the venue chosen for the London Games.
But it has got Woodward and, in many ways, the two are made for each other.
Life since that Jonny Wilkinson drop goal has not been entirely smooth. Yes, there was the knighthood, a best-selling autobiography called "Winning!", the opportunity to lead a Lions tour and lucrative tilts at football and Olympic sport.
But then there was also the knighthood, the book called 'Winning!', the Lions tour and the highly lucrative tilts at football and Olympic sport. Tall poppies lose their heads in this country.
This has not been helped by the slightly unlucky position he found himself in when he accepted the BOA job. He had the kind of job title he wanted but sadly almost no chance of actually performing the task.
There were already plenty of elite performance directors in British Olympic sport, they just didn't work for the National Olympic Committee. They worked at UK Sport, the agency that holds the purse strings, or within the sports themselves.
Early attempts to manufacture a role, or find an opening at an Olympic sport, met with little real success.
Slowly but surely that has started to change. For this alone Woodward should be congratulated - many wondered if he would have the patience - but by showing a willingness to wait, watch and learn, he has earned a place at Team GB's top table.
His involvement in the process that monitors Team GB's progress - Mission 2012 - is highly valued, his plans to set up a coaching academy are advancing and he has recently been named as deputy chef de mission for the 2010 Winter Olympics, having fulfilled the same role successfully in Beijing.
But it is shooting that offers his most exciting outlet for expression. Success there will not go unnoticed and table tennis, another of the funding lottery's losers, has already expressed an interest in being next in line for some Clive stardust.
I wish him well. He's been a coach on the sidelines for too long.