STOP START FOOTBALL
After the rip-roaring success of our STOP FOOTBALL campaign, The Fiver is drunk on power, as opposed to being, no sir, still tipsy on last night’s Scottish wine. So now that, a mere two weeks in, the Bundesliga is done and dusted yet again in Bayern Munich’s favour, please join us on the front doorstep at 8pm this evening in screaming STOPPEN SIE DIE BUNDESLIGA DIESER SAISON!!! at the very top of our voice, the veins on our temple and neck pulsating in doctor-bothering fashion. Klebe es dort, wo die Sonne nicht scheint, der Jazzmusiker!
Happily, proper football we don’t have to pretend to like will be back soon, and The Fiver will no longer have to spend half the afternoon mucking about on Google Translate. That’s because the good folk of the Premier League have just unanimously approved the implementation of “stage-two medical protocols” at a shareholders meeting, which means clubs will now be able to start working together in small groups, tackling, playing football, etc., while “minimising unnecessary close contact”, presumably stuff like working together in small groups, tackling, playing football, etc. Pandemic raging, innit.
The bold decision to return to “contact training”, which is a thing now, means the resumption of the Premier League moves ever closer. Discussions will now be held on how to resume the 2019-20 season when “conditions allow”, while players and staff must continue to be tested at least twice a week for symptoms of Covid-19. Players have also been warned that they must not go on 520-mile round trips in the car with their eyes shut, perform donuts outside English Heritage properties, or hold any press conferences which could have barely been more eyebrow-raising had they entered the Downing Street rose garden freely urinating while shouting “Aaaaah! I’ve been holding that juicy one in since Watford Gap.” Stick to all the rules, lads, and we should be good to go in short order.
LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE
Join Scott Murray for red-hot MBM updates from RB Leipzig 3-0 Hertha Berlin at 5.30pm BST.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“You should have seen our training sessions. It’s a good job journalists weren’t there; it would have been horrible. When Gilberto Silva came and saw how we trained. Martin Keown goes in hard and he’s unlucky enough to injure Rami Shaaban. We get to the dressing room and Gilberto says: ‘Bro, is everyone mad here?!’ From the next day on, he never once took his shin pads off. And we’re talking Gilberto Silva, eh. We were hard, everyone wanted to win. And that showed on the pitch” – Lauren gets his chat on with Sid Lowe and reveals a culture of training with Arsenal’s Invincibles that created as much knack as they did free-flowing football.
The latest Football Weekly pod is right here, while you can also get your ears around the third podcast in our series of Forgotten Stories of Football, focusing on Jeff Hall: the footballer whose death turned the tide against polio.
“During the absence of actual football I’ve been playing more FIFA 20 than is perhaps healthy. My extended exposure to the various comments of the commentators and their ‘side-kicks’ has led me to discover their hidden agenda – slipping in the name of a classic album under the pretext of describing a football match. For example, Derek Rae managed to name Hawkwind’s ‘In Search of Space’ while Lautaro Martínez in my Serie A team was dribbling ineffectively through some random assortment of players in a Squad Battle. Has any other Fiver reader heard a favourite album being named during a Fifa 20 game? ‘George Best’ by the Wedding Present, obviously, but otherwise? ” – Kevin McKee.
“Tony Crawford’s link to that evocative film (Tuesday’s letters) made me search for this short gem of a film on the mighty Hull City Southern Supporters in the London based provincial supporters league. In the midst of obvious Thick of It/The Office comparisons look out for a cameo from Hibs goalkeeper, TV’s John Leslie” – Peter Josse.
“Poor old Paul Landers, omitted from the Rammstein photograph (Tuesday’s Fiver). Have you now given up on STOP FOOTBALL and started STOP RHYTHM GUITARISTS?” – Andy Taylor.
“Instead of the Premier League (other leagues are available) refunding the TV companies millions for lost games, why does it not follow the lead of Ryanair and others and just issue vouchers instead?” – Peter Storch.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
The Morecambe defender Christian Mbulu has died at the age of 23, the League Two club have confirmed.
The controversial £300m Saudi Arabia-funded takeover of Newcastle is in doubt after the World Trade Organization ruled that the country is behind a pirate satellite TV and streaming service.
José Mourinho has gazed into his crystal ball/spoken to Daniel Levy and predicted there will be fewer “crazy” transfers after football returns. “You are going to have a different market, I don’t see the world – especially the football world – ready for some crazy numbers,” he soothsayed.
Dortmund boss Lucien Favre received the backing of chief suit Hans-Joachim Watzke after the 1-0 defeat by Bayern meant the jig was all but up up for their title hopes. “At the moment there is no reason for a coach discussion,” he blabbed. “Until Tuesday, we had got 27 of a maximum 30 points.”
And Ole Gunnar Solskjær reckons Manchester United’s recent experience of playing in a silent stadium (if only there was an obvious gag – Fiver Ed) will help them when football in England resumes. “We played Lask just before lockdown and played fantastically well,” parped Solskjær. “We’re capable of playing without an atmosphere.”
STILL WANT MORE?
Scotland forward Caroline Weir gets her chat on with Suzanne Wrack about her work with Girls United and her desire to highlight football’s physical and social benefits.
In an extract from Matthew Spiro’s new book Sacré Bleu, World Cup winner Lilian Thuram discusses growing up in France and the racism he encountered throughout his career.
Bayern Munich ended the Bundesliga title race and reaffirmed football’s significance in these strange times, writes Andy Brassell.
Quiz! Quiz! Quiz! How much do you know about the Football League play-offs? Find out here.
Has a player featured in all their team’s wins in a season and no losses? The Knowledge knows. The Knowledge always knows.
Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!