The Fiver | Leeds United: not so nasty now | Football


Say what you like about coronavirus, but it brings out the best in people. Take Nasty Leeds, for example. If the Fiver’s got this right, they earned their reputation back in the 1960s and 1970s, when they were better at kicking everyone during an era when everyone tried to kick everyone. The cheek of it. Oh Billy, Norman, Johnny, Big Jack, etc., how could you, how dare they, and so on, and so forth. But all is now forgiven, as you’ll discover upon reading the next paragraph of a thin story we’re desperately trying to stretch out.

In events that would normally get a cursory three-line report in the News, Bits and Bobs section, the players, management and senior staff of the entity now known as Lovely Leeds have volunteered to defer their wages for the foreseeable future. This honourable decision has been made so all folk further down the food chain at the club will get paid during what could be a long shutdown. A fine gesture, and the sort of compassionate offer the Fiver hopes is matched across all other industries by well-remunerated managem … [The Man taps The Fiver on the shoulder and offers some beneficial advice]

Anyway, director of football, Victor Orta, says that Marcelo Bielsa and his squad have “demonstrated an incredible sense of unity and togetherness” in making the offer, given the club’s parlous financial state: Lovely Leeds are currently losing several million pounds every month. “We face uncertain times,” adds Orta, “therefore it is important that we all work together to find a way that the club can push through this period and end the season in the way we all hope we can.” Yes, we all have to make sacrifices in these troubled times, don’t we. For example, you’re making one right now, reading this. You’ve made it all the way to the end as well. Give yourself a big pat on the back. Go on, you’ve earned it.


“The amazing people in the NHS deserve the utmost respect for their hard work and sacrifice. We can show them that respect by doing everything we can to protect them” – Carlo Ancelotti is the boss.

Carlo Ancelotti

Definitely one of the best pictures of the postponed Premier League season so far. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters


“May I be the first of many to point out that Mr Young is ineligible to be president of USA! USA!! USA!!! because he wasn’t born in America. Typical of slack, slack, slack Fiver journalism. With North Korea still firing missiles into the sea, in the light of all the Covid-19 changes, it’s nice to know that some things never change” – Richard Fernandez (and 1,056 others).

“As I ‘shelter in place’ here in the USA! USA!! USA!!! – specifically in far northern California – I find that, as a recent retiree, I am losing track of the days of the week without football to guide me. If it is Big Cup, it is either Tuesday or Wednesday, Big Vase is Thursday, and then (if I am lucky) Premier League is Friday noon, followed by Saturday and Sunday mornings that give me a 50:50 chance of identifying the day, and then, Monday noon is the Premier League once again. Without football, what day is it? Your ‘Stop Football’ campaign may have succeeded (in the short term, at least), but what of us poor, deprived, confused fans?” – Robert W Zoellner.

“I’m struggling to understand how the semi-final loss to Germany makes it into your rotation of retro MBM ‘greatest hits’. Why not the group stage triumph over the Netherlands? Or the quarter-final victory over Spain? Instead you select a crushing defeat to reopen old wounds. You English are just so … English sometimes!” – Shane Hart.

“You seem to have cousins over over the globe, but I haven’t read about any Canadian cousins. Maybe these two are long lost family members! You can probably think of a title along the lines of ‘Tree-chopping water-hauling beaver-trapping hockey stick-swinging …’ Would love to see if you come up with anything. Come on, now – you’ve got time on your (overly washed) hands” – Allan Clark.

“Monday’s TV highlights in Tuesday’s Fiver? Tony Crawford is a darned fool (unless of course you printed his letter on the wrong day?” – Tony Crawford.

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 … Shane Hart.


Have some bonus David Squires on … just how we will cope now there’s no flamin’ A-League for the foreseeable future.


Boz. Illustration: David Squires/The Guardian


Real Madrid’s Bernabéu will be turned into a storage and distribution centre for medical material donated to the health authorities as the coronavirus crisis continues in Spain.

All non-league football below the National League will end for the season with all results “expunged”, the FA has announced. So spare a though for the likes of Woking, clear leaders of the Ryman League, and South Shields, runaway leaders of the Northern Premier, for whom their efforts in 2019-20 will now count for nowt. Same goes for all women’s football beneath the Championship.

Current contracts for players and coaches should be extended until the end of the delayed domestic football seasons, according to some red-hot Fifa paperwork that someone has sneaked a peek at.

The head-honcho of the Italian Football Federation, Gabriele Gravina, has refused to write off the Serie A season because of the coronavirus outbreak, saying the league could extend into July and August if necessary. “I don’t give up easily,” he said.

Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen have joined forces to create a £18.3m solidarity fund to help German clubs in the top two tiers stave off financial knack.

And panto villain Mike Ashley has again attracted the ire of Newcastle fans, angry that the club has seemingly refused requests to freeze season-ticket holders’ direct debits amid the coronavirus hiatus. “We find it incredibly disturbing that the club continues to take payments from supporters during these extremely difficult times,” said the Newcastle United Supporters Trust.


Jason Humphreys recalls how Raúl’s late-career move to the Bundesliga charmed Germany.

Today’s archive lucky dip turns up Rob Smyth on when Northwich Victoria dragged some fans out of the bar to make up the numbers for a first-team match.


Ah, the good old days. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

David Hytner on how Covid-19 has left Portsmouth reeling.

And this week’s Classic YouTube includes Euro 96, Chelsea v then-Nasty Leeds in 1970 and some top self-isolation goalkeeping.

Quiz! Quiz! Quiz! Quiz! Quiz? Quiz!

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


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