The Fiver | Danny Rose and a slogan we would happily see on a press briefing lectern | Football


Even though Social Media Disgrace Twitter has for weeks been full of people posting hilarious quips about not being able to get their hair cut, UK gaffer Boris Johnson says the nation badly needs a morale boost. It is as if the famously detail-phobic politician is unaware that The Fiver has been available on a continuous and vaguely punctual basis all throughout the current lockdown or, on the other hand, that he reckons even a tea-timely football-themed email is not enough to keep people’s minds off a deadly contagion, which would suggest he’s been putting more thought into this whole pandemic thing than it seems.

Johnson, said to be the least inspiring leader ever seen in No 10 even by people who remember William Gallas’s sit-down strop at St Andrew’s, will have to seriously up his game if he is to convince everyone that football can distract people from the threat of death. Danny Rose, for one, isn’t buying it. The Tottenham full-back probably spoke for many of his peers when he responded to a question about the Premier League’s Project Restart by offering a slogan that The Fiver would happily see on a lectern at a daily press briefing.

“It’s b0ll0cks,” proclaimed Rose with the sort of frankness that has been absent from national discourse in recent months. “I don’t give a [eff] about the nation’s morale,” he continued. “People’s lives are at risk. Football shouldn’t even be spoken about coming back until the numbers [infected or dying] have dropped massively.” That’s what you could call a hospital pass back to Team Johnson.


“I still watch it back on YouTube now and get goosebumps every time” – former Watford defender Matthew Briggs is among the voices to recall, seven years on from the day, the absolute insanity of their play-off against Leicester.


It’s David Squires on … Escape to Victory.

Game on!

Game on! Illustration: David Squires/The Guardian


Football Weekly is right here, right now.


You can get your hands on a classic 1966 print, right here.


“One thing that worked out well for me this past week was finding random full matches on YouTube, where the result and proceedings were entirely unknown to me. If Weird Uncle Fiver or any of the 1,057 can suggest links to particularly enjoyable matches, I would be grateful. I can start it off by saying that, since I did not watch a lot of continental football until after after the turn of the millennium, I had a great time with this one” – Matt Richman.

“Another redesign suggestion (yesterday’s Fiver letters). In keeping with the paucity of humour, you might also consider using Comic Sans” – Noel Jugovac.

“I feel a bit like a village cricket scorer noting a leg bye in making this point of correction but Colchester released club captain Luke Prosser and not ‘Brandon’ Prosser as you reported on 27 April. Brandon Prosser, of course, plays the role of ‘the Zealot’ in 2017’s 1.7-out-of-10-rated Razing Sera (thank you IMDB). Ordinarily I wouldn’t help out a Colchester player but he always tried hard while at Southend” – Phil Jones.

“On the subject of classic football banners (Fiver letters passim), surely nothing beats this effort from Crewe fans” – Matt Withers.


OK. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

“If not the best, then this Newcastle one at Swansea was probably the longest” – Eric Erikson.

Ah, those Pardiola days.

Ah, those Pardiola days. Photograph: Kieran McManus/BPI/Rex

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 … Matt Richman.


New legal documents have been passed to the Premier League that raise fresh questions about whether the £300m Saudi-funded takeover of Newcastle United should get the go-ahead.

More than 10 members of Wolves’ backroom staff have been swabbed for Covid-19 as the Premier League begins its testing procedure in advance of any restart. The club, meanwhile, say they’re aware of a video showing Morgan Gibbs-White breaking lockdown rules by attending a house party in London over the weekend.

Chinese Super League side Tianjin Tianhai, who you might know for hiring Fabio Cannavaro as manager and signing Alexandre Pato and Axel Witsel, have gone bust.

This feels like it contains as many hypotheticals as a British government roadmap, but Joan Laporta will attempt to bring Pep Guardiola back to Barcelona if his push to return as club president in 2021 is successful. “He is a benchmark for Barcelona and many Catalans would like him to coach Barça again,” cheered Laporta.

And attempts to force an independent investigation into the SPFL have failed. The resolution, initially proposed by the Pope’s Newc O’Rangers, drew 13 of the 32 votes needed to pass, with 27 votes against and two clubs abstaining. “It’s now incumbent on all clubs to put their differences aside, otherwise we will all suffer together,” sniffed the SPFL’s Murdoch MacLennan.


Jonathan Liew explains why Kyle Walker’s foolish lockdown breaches are not a story motivated solely by a heartfelt concern for public health.

A tractor tyre, two Kiwis and Diego Maradona combined to give Stephen Bradfield his favourite game in 1984.

Some night in Manchester, this.

Some night in Manchester, this. Photograph: Getty Images

Budding botanist Carlos Carvalhal, now managing Rio Ave, tells Nick Ames why he will look at his flowers all the time once the coronavirus crisis is over.

Eryk Delinger celebrates the maverick mix of right-backs collected by Arsène Wenger during his days at Arsenal.

Ewan Murray has the latest on the rancour in the ranks of Scottish football.

And how much do you know about substitutes? Test yourself here.

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

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