ARE you all prepared for the return of the dark ages, because they could be on their way all too soon.

Strangely in the fallout from the folding of the News Of The World and the phone hacking scandals, there seems to have been little comment made about just what the outcome for sport will be should Rupert Murdoch – who looks increasingly like Mr Burns from the Simpsons with every public appearance – see his empire actually disintegrate.

Whatever you may think of the man, the Aussie tycoon’s largesse when it has come to sport seemingly has known no bounds.

Football, cricket, both codes of rugby and boxing are the major sports to have benefited from the billions of pounds that have been thrown at them by BSkyB.

However, what will happen should the mammoth budget for sport wielded by BSkyB suddenly take on more modest proportions, should the Murdoch machine find they need to start cutting costs?

While all the aforementioned sports have been leading charmed lives with the injection of television funds, there can be no doubt football would take the biggest hit.

Having lavished ludicrous salaries on their star players and having forced transfer fees through the ceiling, football clubs may suddenly find themselves facing a significant cut in their income.

Back in 1992 it was the influence of Sky’s interest that saw the Premiership formed as the top teams broke away from the Football League to rake in the cash.

That flow of money has shown no signs of being stemmed for almost two decades – until now.

So be prepared for English football to take a step back to the 1980s – which is great because back then the only trophy Manchester United could win was the FA Cup, occasionally.