The Fiver | An idea so harebrained and stupid that it may be given the thumbs up | Football


With the usual big fat clanging caveat that none of it really matters, except to a worrying number of football fans to whom it appears to matter a very great deal indeed, debate over whether or not the current Premier League season should be played out to a conclusion continues to simmer like the blood pressure of a Solihull resident who wakes up to find their parked car has been hit by a Range Rover overnight.

While it seems slightly ridiculous to worry about when best to begin the next season before ending the one that’s currently under way, there are those – specifically fans of Manchester City, Tottenham, Leicester, all three teams in the relegation zone and everyone who doesn’t support Liverpool – who seem to be of the opinion that simply voiding the season would be best for everyone. Quite what their motivation might be The Fiver couldn’t possibly imagine, but even Harry Kane has decreed the top-flight campaign should be scrapped if it can’t be finished before the end of June. Although we suspect even he might change his tune once somebody tells him that would mean the 11 Premier League goals he’s scored this season would be “unscored” with the stroke of a pen and expunged from the record.

Despite nobody anywhere having the foggiest idea when or how we’ll be released from house arrest, it has emerged that clubs from the top division could gather in a neutral location for a summer football festival to play out the rest of the season behind closed doors. An idea that seems so harebrained and stupid that it may well be given the thumbs up by the 20 clubs involved when they kind of convene for a scheduled conference call on House Party next Friday, these Matches With Nobody At Them would require the presence of players, backroom staff, teams of match officials, TV crews and medical staff who might have more important work to be getting on with during a health crisis. Indeed, just one person involved would have to test positive for coronavirus for the whole jamboree to be sacked off.

On the flip side, of course, there will hopefully come a time when football will have to take its first tentative steps back into the spotlight and this may prove the right time, even if marking it down in the collective diary this early seems a tad optimistic and premature. If nothing else, it’s not the most daft idea The Fiver’s heard today, what with Red Bull motorsport chief Helmut Marko having actually said out loud that his team’s F1 drivers should actively try to contract the potentially deadly virus because it was the ideal time for them to do so, now that their own season is on hold.


“When I heard about the schools shutting down, I knew that meant [needing to get] free meals for some kids that they are not getting at school. It [helping children] is very important [to me], it is at the top of my to-do list. In our generation there have been a lot of positive and negative influences. I am just trying to impact the next generation in a positive way. We have done the best we could with people donating, we have done very well. We have got to the 100,000 mark which means we get to feed 400,000 children so it’s been very positive” – a tip of The Fiver’s cap to Marcus Rashford, who says helping children is his top priority after working to get food to those who relied on free school meals.

A good egg, earlier.

A good egg, earlier. Photograph: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images


The latest Football Weekly podcast will be in this general vicinity.


“The only things I’m looking forward to more than the reports from this weekend’s Belarusian Premier League are the letters about reports from the Belarusian Premier League and letters about letters about reports from the Belarusian Premier League” – Paddy Reilly.

“The Fiver now seems to be STOPPING JOURNALISM, with even the Economist resorting to ‘this is how we work’” – Alex Roy.

“I am a bit nonplussed by the ‘favourite games’ you are currently churning out. I would like to read more true-to-life stories from fellow normal fans, at all levels of the game. Favourite game for me … Northwich Vics winning 3-2 at Wycombe in the Drinkwise Cup final second leg with a Gordon Davies hat-trick? The Wycombe fans had been taking the pi$$ out of his age so, when he scored his third, he got an imaginary walking stick to mock them. Surely you can allow some of us small people a voice? Thanks for the continued daily awful diatribe” – Antony Clark.

Send your letters to [email protected]. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … Alex Roy.


Former Turkey goalkeeper Rustu Recber is in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus. “We are still in shock by the sudden and rapidly developing symptoms,” said his wife, Isil Recber.

The Maracanã and the Pacaembu are being converted into Covid-19 field hospitals as Brazil braces for more coronavirus cases.

The Maracanã in Rio.

The Maracanã in Rio. Photograph: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

Neymar has denied flouting social-distancing rules following his return to his native Brazil after posting pictures on Instachat which showed him sunbathing and playing foot-volleyball with a group of friends.

Plymouth Argyle have handed over the use of their new Home Park grandstand to the NHS, with the boardroom temporarily moonlighting as a phlebotomy clinic.

As talk of a potential £340m Saudi Arabian takeover was revived, Newcastle have become the first Premier League club to put all non-first-team staff on furlough.

Xavi is well up for managing Barcelona if the dressing room wasn’t so “toxic”. Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has announced that Barça’s players have accepted a 70% wage cut. “We are going to make contributions as well so that club employees can collect 100% of their salary for the duration of this situation,” said Messi.

Just 24 hours after encouraging the public to “stay home [and] save lives”, Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish was pictured out and about wearing slippers at the scene of a road traffic accident in which a Ranger Rover had pranged some parked cars.

Pep Guardiola is channelling a third of The Fiver.

“I’m an ambitious player, I want to improve, get better and become one of the top, top players. It all depends on what happens as a team and how we progress. So it’s not a definite I’m going to stay there forever.” Harry Kane says he would happily shuttle-run through the door marked Do One if Tottenham go backwards. Let’s see how that progress is going under José. Oh.

And rescheduled Big Sports Day will now take place between 23 July and 8 August next year.


Football’s magnetism means doors should stay closed on crowdless matches, writes writes Simon Burnton.

Fancy yourself as the second coming of Motty? Try this commentary quiz then.

Here you go.

Here you go. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Sachin Nakrani fell in love with football while watching Benjamin Massing hoof Claudio Caniggia into the air. It’s why Argentina v Cameroon at the 1990 World Cup is his favourite game.

Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!

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