The Fiver | Football may as well add a multi-ball feature, pugil sticks and a travelator | Football


Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone! It’s a joyous celebration of Mexican-American culture. A reminder of the time Mexico gave the French a clip round the lug in 1862. An excuse to drink Super Bowlian quantities of session lager. And the name of the clothes shop Elaine Benes frequented in the hope of running a competing store, Putumayo, out of business after receiving bad service. “Hey, see these?” Lainey shouted through the window of Putumayo, pointing at her new shoes. “Cinco de Mayo! Sales commission, bye-bye-o!” Sadly it transpires the woman who was rude to her at Putumayo also owns Cinco de Mayo, and Elaine was saddled with a load of spite purchases she didn’t want. We sense we’re losing you. Let’s move on.

Anyway, in the same episode of Seinfeld, George tries to get himself sacked from his desk job at the New York Yankees by tying one of their World Series trophies to the bumper of his Buick and performing donuts in the car park, while screaming abuse at the rest of the front-office staff through a megaphone. “You can sit on it and rotate! This is George Costanza! I fear no reprisal! Extension 5170.” George being George, this gambit fails spectacularly, but The Fiver was reminded of his antics as another notable sports administrator also went out of his way to riff, bebop and scat on the history and traditions of the game.

Yes, it’s well-remunerated PFA chief Gordon Taylor, isn’t it, wheelspinning up and down the drive of his palatial mansion in the company car, the Premier League trophy trailing behind on a rope. “We don’t know the future,” he harrumphed on Tuesday morning, upon being asked by the Today programme if plans for football’s return are closer to being finalised. His voice barely audible as the tips of the trophy’s crown were ground to a nub by the tarmac, he continued: “What we do know is what ideas have been put: more substitutes, games possibly not being the full 45 minutes each way … try to wait and see what the proposals are and then have the courtesy to let the managers and coaches and players come to a considered view.”

Shorter matches with more players?! What’s going on in these meetings? Has someone turned the water cooler into a bong? If football goes down this road they may as well add a multi-ball feature, pugil sticks and a travelator, and be done with it. In other words, leave things be for goodness sake, will you, we’re not in that much of a rush. Then again, The Fiver is only simple folk. If it’s a considered view Taylor is after, perhaps we should borrow a line from Jerry, who said when bits of George’s rat hat were sent flying about Kenny Rogers Roasters: “That’s not going to be good for business.” No, that’s not going to be good for anybody.


“It worries us that by doing what we like most we could get infected and infect our family and friends and even contribute to a new wave of the pandemic with the terrible consequences that would have for the whole population. The health of everyone should be the most important thing and now is the time to back this idea up with actions and not just words. We ask for guarantees and we demand responsibility” – Eibar’s players issue a statement highlighting their fears of returning to action as La Liga returns to training this week.


It’s only David Squires on … Project Restart. And you can get your very own copy here.

Proper panel, that.

Proper panel, that. Illustration: David Squires/The Guardian


Like Richard Marx, the Football Weekly podcast is right here waiting for you.

Football Weekly

Platini, pain and penalties: France v West Germany 1982


“I was delighted to see reports that some Premier League clubs have advised they will only be willing to restart the season if the threat of relegation is removed (yesterday’s Fiver). As I am undoubtedly the worst at the job in my place of work, I thoroughly intend to follow this lead and advise my employers I will not be returning to the office unless the threat of dismissal is removed. Given the quality of the product churned out by The Fiver on a daily basis, I would suggest you do something similar” – Colin Reed.

“Anyone who has watched one of those four-team, pre-season competitions typically shown in late July, held at the grounds of one of the clubs, often involving Spurs and some Austrian side, and played in front of a half-empty stadium where the fans are bored and waiting for the second game of the day, will know that matches where the fans are uninvolved (or absent) are a real turn-off for viewers. Rushing back to play in empty stadiums is the quickest way to kill off fans’ addiction to football on TV. If they really want to ensure they stay interested and eager for it to get back to normal they should keep it off screens until it’s something approaching a normal spectacle. Which does raise the question, why isn’t The Fiver the biggest advocate of Project Restart? It’d be the surest way to Stop Football! once and for all” – David Wall.

Send your letters to t[email protected]. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … Colin Reed.


Human rights groups in Haiti have called for an official investigation into allegations that the president of the country’s FA, Yves Jean-Bart, sexually abused young female footballers at the national training centre.

EFL head honcho Rick Parry has called for a “complete reset” of the way football is run, including an end to the “evil” of Premier League parachute payments.

Rick Parry chatting to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, earlier. Must visit Chester.

Rick Parry chatting to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, earlier. Must visit Chester. Photograph: House of Commons/PA

Crystal Palace owner Steve Parish fears football clubs could go the way of the dodo airlines if the game doesn’t restart by August. “I genuinely don’t feel people are thinking clearly about the ramifications if we don’t play,” he sighed. “That’s a doomsday scenario.”

Liverpool’s pursuit of Timo Werner is being hampered by the current financial uncertainty.

And Feyenoord will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their 1970 European Cup success on Wednesday. “Even if they tell you in Amsterdam they won the cup four times, we were the first [Dutch winners],” cheered former captain Rinus Israël.


In the first of a week-long series, David Hytner talks to Peterborough’s Darragh MacAnthony about how the Football League can recover after the shutdown …

… and in part two, Tranmere’s Mark Palios calls on the PFA to step in and stop expensive player contracts from sending lower-league clubs to the wall.

START FOOTBALL? South Korea’s K-League is set to kick off again on Friday but sharing water bottles and close talking are prohibited, reports John Duerden.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors’ Lee Dong-gook at the weekend.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors’ Lee Dong-gook at the weekend. Photograph: Seo Hyemin/Seo Hyemin/FA Photos

Nick Ames got his (video) chat on with Des Buckingham, a coach from Oxford who led New Zealand to the Olympics but was then made redundant.

Quiz time! Test your knowledge of major trophy droughts right here.

Richard Foster remembers football’s great inventors.

Forty-seven years ago, second-tier Sunderland beat Nasty Leeds 1-0 in one of the all-time great FA Cup finals – so why not relive Big Sunday Paper’s match report?

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


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