The Fiver | Newcastle United, Mike Ashley and a famous consortium-fronter | Football


The Fiver’s decision to furlough all of its stereotypical cousins has been met with thundering indifference. Po’ Shortbread McFiver! Po’ Theme Pub O’Fiver! Po Juan de la Juan de la Juan de la Juan Straw Donkey Acoustic Guitar Olé Olé Olé Eldorado Sun Sea Sand Dust Fiver! Did they exist merely as ciphers whose sole purpose was to allow The Fiver to churn out the same tired old riffs again and again and again over two inspiration-free decades for nothing? By the looks of it yes, is the answer to that.

But while The Fiver is more than comfortable to stretch a wafer-thin set-up so far it runs into the start of a second paragraph, it can’t live with itself knowing our old pals are on the street. Plus we can see the way the wind is blowing, what with Liverpool and Spurs and now Bournemouth and what have you. So we’re going to reverse our decision. Welcome back, cousins, one and all, and well done us! And who’s this first through the door, sniffing cash money? Why, it’s our city-boy cousin Buy Sell Buy Sell Red Braces Fuel-Injected Convertible Front-Tail Extension Smug Square-Jawed Floppy-Fringe-Covered Extremely-Smackable-Face Fiver! Well, he does have a talc habit to feed, and we’ve got a finance story to tell, so everyone’s happy (with the possible exception of you, dear reader, but two out of three ain’t bad).

According to BS Fiver, a consortium fronted by famous consortium-fronter Amanda Staveley, and consisting of billionaires David and Simon Reuben and the sovereign wealth fund of the easy-going and ever-popular middle-eastern Texas Tea concern Saudi Arabia, is on the verge of taking over Newcastle United. It seems this time Mike Ashley is prepared to sell for an agreed £300m, and all that stands in the way of sweet release for the Toon’s long-suffering fans is the Premier League’s owners and directors test. That could take up to a month, for some reason, so more breaking news from BS Fiver when he has it. [BS Fiver throws Bottega Veneta woven loafers up on to desk]. Ah we’re glad we’ve asked him back.


Join Jacob Steinberg from 7.45pm BST for hot MBM coverage of the Netherlands v Argentina in the 1998 World Cup quarter-finals.


“Today is the most significant date for our football club each year. The plan was for us to be together at Anfield but this is not possible, the only thing we can make sure is we are in each other’s thoughts. Believe me you have our thoughts, you have our prayers and most of all you have our love. You’ll never walk alone” – with the final memorial service having been postponed, Jürgen Klopp remembers the 96 men, women and children who died as a result of the Hillsborough disaster 31 years ago in a video message for their families, survivors and Liverpool fans.

A Hillsborough memorial banner hung at the Kop stand at Anfield.

A Hillsborough memorial banner hung at the Kop stand at Anfield. Photograph: Liverpool FC – Handout/Liverpool FC via Getty Images


“Hi Fiver! I enjoy your column from time to time and had an idea or two to share. In this football-playing downtime, fill your columns with the chants, songs and war cries of the various Premier League teams. Ask your readers to send them along for publication. (You can edit out the bad words if you like!). Extend this idea to other teams and then publish the best in a colourful book, ready for Christmas gifting. All the best” – Rex Hearn (former Big Manchester Paper employee, ‘in my 90th year now!’).

“Re: Graeme Souness on Paul Pogba and, then, his big table (yesterday’s Quote of the Day). Where exactly on it does he keep his World Cup winner’s medal?” – Barrie Francis.

“What’s even more extraordinary in this ‘spat’ is Pogba’s claim that he likes to focus on football. I’m not sure exactly what he means by that, but for some time now he hasn’t shown much enthusiasm for actually playing it, despite being handsomely paid for doing just that” – Alasdair Thomson.

“Worst game ever (Fiver letters passim)? Easy. Orient v Fulham in the late-1970s. I turned up excited at the prospect of watching Laurie Cunningham and George Best, and stood in the middle of the long terrace, with a bar at the back, that ran down the whole side of the Brisbane Road pitch. Unfortunately, most of the others standing around had come for something else, as I realised when half the stand on one side started shouting ‘Chelsea’ and to the other side of me ‘West Ham’. (Both these teams were playing away). I moved as close as decently possible to the nearest copper as all hell broke loose around me. On the pitch Cunningham and Best hardly got a touch, off the pitch there was a lot more than touching. Result (on the pitch) 0-0” – Bernard Clark.

“Go on then: favourite game that my team lost (yesterday’s letters). Mid-table in February 1995, Wimbledon had an eye on doing the double over a Villa team that we’d already beaten 4-3 at home. One-nil up after 11 minutes and all was going according to plan. And then … we fell apart. An own goal and a Tommy Johnson hat-trick meant 4-1 down at the break. By the time we were 6-1 down, we seemed more invested than the home fans in enjoying the experience: singing throughout, starting conga lines in celebration of a corner and chanting ‘we want seven’ (which we duly got). I stayed with friends in the Midlands that evening and went out clubbing with my Wimbledon shirt, the compliments for our sportsmanship coming thick and fast. Good times” – Wayne Ziants.

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 … Bernard Clark.


Fiendishly tricky Ligue Urrrrrrrrrrn teasers. See how you get on.

Here you are.

Here you are. Composite: EPA; Corbis/VCG via Getty Images


Jimmy Greaves has been released from hospital and is recovering at home after being taken ill last week. “Thanks to the thousands of you that have sent goodwill messages. We love that so many of you still hold Jimmy so dear to your hearts,” his family said in a statement.

The England Women’s team have donated money to the #PlayersTogether fund aimed at providing support to the NHS.

Eddie Howe is pleased Bournemouth have joined the bandwagon of Premier League clubs who have made a screeching U-turn on furloughing non-playing staff. “It’s such a difficult thing … I think they have definitely come to the right decision,” he blabbed.

Bruno Fernandes has come to the conclusion that Paul Pogba has looked bobbins in recent seasons because Manchester United have been bobbins in recent seasons. “When he played also the club and the team was not good … it’s normal when you are in that situation you don’t play like a superstar,” he blabbed.

And Copenhagen striker Michael Santos has been banned for three games by Uefa for getting up close and personal with Scottish fuzz during their Big Vase defeat of the Queen’s Celtic back when people still played football.


Which footballer has scored most goals for a relegated team in a season? As ever, The Knowledge knows the answer to this and much more.

Mick Channon, there on the right. He’s involved.

Mick Channon, there on the right. He’s involved. Photograph: Dennis Oulds/Getty Images

Film director Asif Kapadia gets his chat on with Sachin Nakrani and reveals what it was like making the Diego Maradona documentary and the love he feels for Jürgen Klopp.

“I’ve overcompensated and made sure I’m the most horrible person on the pitch.” Wales midfielder Joe Morrell tells Ben Fisher how, despite being only 5ft 6in, he makes sure his presence is felt.

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

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