SOLD SHORT

The current pandemic has forced The Fiver’s hand and, after not thinking things through properly, we are sad to announce that we have had to furlough all of our stereotypical cousins. See you on the other side, Theme Pub O’Fiver! We’ll meet again, Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch Fiver! Catch you later, Juan de la Juan de la Juan de la Juan Straw Donkey Acoustic Guitar Olé Olé Olé Eldorado Sun Sea Sand Dust Fiver! This painful decision secures The Fiver’s financial viability going forward [no it doesn’t – The Man], but on the other hand it means Shortbread McFiver isn’t around to report on this big here meeting that’s going on in Scotland. Oh Shortbread! We hardly knew ye!

Ah well, no matter, The Fiver can take up the slack. The SPFL is hosting a pow-wow on Tuesday afternoon during which Dundee are expected to finally register their vote on ending the current Scottish season as is. To explain: no, life’s too short, just go with it. Should Dundee vote yes as expected, Dundee United will be instantly promoted, but the good news for everyone at Dens Park is that some much-needed cash will flow into their coffers, as the SPFL telly money is released and distributed throughout the land. Hooray! Sadly, at the time of writing, there was no word. Nothing’s happened yet. So, erm, that’s it. Hmm. Yes, we miss Shortbread, too.

To be scrupulously fair to The Fiver, while we might not have shone much of a light on this process, it doesn’t really matter, because it’s not as though anyone actually involved knows what the hell they’re doing, so why should you? Suffice to say that, when the motion is carried, the Queen’s Celtic will be champions, Hearts will be relegated, calls will be made to reverse the decision and expand the top flight instead, lawyers up and down the land will be rubbing their hands together with glee and charging their clients for it too, and the Pope’s Newc O’Rangers will find some angle for a good furious affronted rant. Really looking forward to all that. We just wish our old pal Shortbread was here to enjoy it all with us. Oh Shortbread! When will we see your like again?

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I didn’t even know who he was, really. I heard he was a great player and stuff like that. I know the face but [not] the name … I like to focus on football” – Paul Pogba gets around to all that ongoing criticism from Graeme Souness. The former flag-planter later responded: “I’m happy with that. The oldest saying in football comes to mind: ‘Put your medals on the table.’ I’ve got a big table.”

RECOMMENDED LOOKING

David Squires on … 24 nice random things from football. And you can get your very own copy here.



Jesper! Illustration: David Squires/The Guardian

RECOMMENDED LISTENING

Get your ears around the latest Football Weekly podcast, featuring a throwback to Brazil v Italy at the 1982 World Cup.

Football Weekly Extra

Italy v Brazil 1982: Paolo Rossi, samba skills and classic kits

FIVER LETTERS

“Why does Matthew Fox hate golf (Thursday’s Fiver letters)? His balls keep getting Lost. Sorry” – Alex Metcalfe.

“This article got me thinking. The average wage at Sheffield United is £9,000 a week. Assuming John Lundstram is on around that, if the 1,056 others would join me in chipping in just a tenner a week, we could offer the guy a better deal, especially as football may have actually have stopped. Imagine it, actually owning John Lundstram. At the very least, you could get him to bleed the radiators” – Jon Millard.

“My favourite game (Fiver letters passim)? Hands down, 26 November 1994. St James’s Park (the other one), Exeter. The visitors: Scarborough. A dingy south-west afternoon. Thirty-two Scarborough fans having made the journey, on the Small Bank diligently chanting ‘Ooh, aah, D’Auria’ for 90 minutes (well for 89 minutes as it turned out). A reference to the eponymous David, hero of the team that season. It was a come-from-behind 5-2 win for Exeter, with a terrible ref who made all the wrong decisions. And then – the pièce de résistance. Eighty-ninth minute, long ball over the top, D’Auria doesn’t hesitate, goes in hard on Exeter keeper Andy Woodman. Woodman collects, takes two boots to the face, gets up and also doesn’t hesitate, lamping D’Auria directly in the face. A 21-man brawl ensues with both striker and keeper sent off. Top work” – Guy Banham.

“Please can we add another category to the most/least favourite game thread, which is ‘favourite game that your team lost’. As an Arsenal fan I’m struggling to choose between losing 3-1 at home to QPR in 1994 (because it allowed me to say that I was there when John Jensen scored, and yes I did buy the T-shirt), or losing 3-1 away at Camp Nou in the pouring rain in 2016 (I knew full well when I booked the flights that we didn’t have a prayer, and I got to see the best front three in club football history get a goal each, none of which were tap-ins)” – Nick Payne.

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 … Nick Payne.

QUIZ! QUIZ! QUIZ!

How well do you know your British players and managers working abroad? And how much do you know about English gaffers?

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

Fifa suit Victor Montagliani says most international games might not be played until 2021 because of ongoing travel restrictions.

Spurs have been shamed by fans into reversing their decision to furlough non-playing staff under a government scheme, with all 550 guaranteed full pay until the end of May.

England forward Fran Kirby has spoken of how close she came to quitting football due to a debilitating illness, pericarditis.

Gianluca Vialli, has been given the all-clear from pancreatic cancer.

We’ve all been here before, but Newcastle could finally be heading off Mike Ashley’s hands.

Manchester City fancy a bit of £6m-rated Sontje Hansen, the 17-year-old Ajax forward who was the Golden Boot winner at last year’s U-17 World Cup.

And Ivan Rakitic has stuck the boot into Barcelona, who apparently tried to force his departure last year, insisting he hasn’t had his chips just yet. “I’m not a sack of potatoes who you can do anything with,” he growled.

STILL WANT MORE?

In tribute to the brilliant Peter Bonetti, who died at the weekend aged 78.

The Cat in action for Chelsea.



The Cat in action for Chelsea. Photograph: Colorsport/Rex/Shutterstock

Barney Ronay’s World Cup questions kick off with: why didn’t the great Dutch teams of the 1990s win it?

For the love of five-a-side.

Floating footballing brain in a jar Jonathan Wilson wears his heart on his sleeve as he recalls his favourite game, Sunderland’s FA Cup slaying of Chelsea in 1992.

Ewan Murray on fitba’s voting farce.

Sifting through the soon-to-be-out-of-contract players who may have played their last games for their current clubs.

Birmingham’s Pep Clotet on life in the lockdown for managers.

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

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