THE TV BIT OF TV & RADIO
The Fiver’s got the weekend sorted. We’re tempted to go down to Westminster Bridge and stand gormlessly within two metres of as many people as possible, in accordance with new social distancing guidelines. But that would involve getting dressed, so we’ll probably stick to the usual routine of booze and football. Smarter readers may note that the lockdown hasn’t had much impact on The Fiver’s life. The only differences are that the football is old rather than LIVE!, and we’ve had to scale down from Premium to Value Tin. It’s a subtle palate cleanser: moreishly vile, with notes of Bonjela, turps, bleach and desperation, but at least we can afford it.
And it goes very well with wall-to-wall association football. There’s a bumper weekend of retro entertainment ahead, including the original Super Sunday and the greatest of all Super Sundays. On Saturday afternoon, BBC1 are showing highlights of the astonishing 1990 FA Cup semi-finals. If you don’t want to know the scores, WELL YOU SHOULD BLOODY WELL KNOW THEM! IT’S THE FIRST THING THEY TEACH ON THE FOOTBALL HISTORY SYLLABUS, YOU DISRESPECTFUL OIK! Crystal Palace 4-3 Liverpool, Oldham 3-3 Manchester United: 13 goals, 13 different scorers, the most dramatic double-header in English football history.
Back then they were just two great matches rather than the fulfilment of a slogan. The phrase “Super Sunday” became part of the football lexicon two years later, when it fell out of Richard Keys’ abundant mouth before Sky’s first televised Premier League game. On Sunday afternoon they are repeating Nottingham Forest 1-0 Liverpool in its entirety, though sadly they have stopped short of replaying the full five-hour broadcast: two hours of build-up and another hour after the game. Sky are also repeating a documentary about Arsenal’s Invincible season on Sunday night. Just before that, BT Sport have highlights of Arsenal’s swaggering victories over Juventus and Bayer Leverkusen in 2001-02, and the hammering of Internazionale two seasons later. Look, it doesn’t matter whether they went on to win Big Cup in those seasons. Don’t be a buzzkill. Just live in the moment almost 20 years ago!
Finally, and yes we know it’s not football but our cricketing cousin, The Spin, keeps badgering us to mention it, BT are showing the magnificent Forged In Fire from 9pm on Sunday. Wait, come back! It’s a three-part documentary about the modern history of Ashes cricket, full of candid, fruity interviews. Take this example from human moustache Merv Hughes on how Allan Border turned the Australian team round from the dark days of the mid-1980s. “AB just stood up and said: ‘Right, I’m sick of being seen as nice guys and getting beaten everywhere we go – I’d rather win games and be seen as a pr1ck.’” What do you make of that, then, Merv? “Suited me down to the ground! Y’know, Graham Gooch would say: ‘Good morning, Merv, how are you?’ ‘Ah, [eff] off.’” We’ll raise a can of Value Tin to that.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Leeds United are devastated to learn of the passing of club legend Norman Hunter. He leaves a huge hole in [our] family. His legacy will never be forgotten and our thoughts are with Norman’s family and friends at this difficult time” – tributes are paid to the former Leeds and England defender, who has died aged 76 after testing positive for coronavirus.
Football Weekly Extra is right here.
“One of my favourite chants (Fiver letters passim) was when my mate Craig and I were stood on the away terrace at York City hosting Oxford United at Bootham Crescent on 1April 2002. It sticks in the memory for two reasons: an Oxford fan was thrown out for chanting during the pre-match minute’s silence to respect the death of the Queen Mother; and in the week prior to the game, York’s owner (and self-confessed corporate asset–str1pper John Batchelor) had been refused permission by the FA to play – during the game – a recording of fans singing to boost the atmosphere. A crowd of 3,290 watched a dull game in near silence, save for the away fans singing: ‘Can you hear the Tannoy sing? No-oo, no-oo’” – Howard Roberts.
“A reporter was doing a live segment from Roberto Di Matteo’s King’s Road restaurant where he, Dennis Wise, Dan Petrescu, Gus Poyet and others were eating. He asked Gustavo how he was settling in; he replied he was enjoying himself in the dressing room and Wise was helping him with his English and had even taught him a song. The reporter could not resist asking, so the TV audience got to hear Gustavo’s innocent rendition of ‘Who the Eff are Man United’ while Wise fell off his chair laughing. Oddly, Sky have never repeated that interview” – Dave Newsome.
“My favourite game in defeat (Fiver letters passim) was undoubtedly Leicester 3-4 Swindon in the 1993 play-off final at old Wembley. Up against player-manager Glenn Hoddle, we were 3-0 down after an hour, destined for humiliating defeat, before roaring back with three goals in 10 minutes – literally roaring when the third went in, it still gives me shivers and that feeling has never quite been repeated since (despite all that Premier League stuff in 2016). Of course, we then went on to lose to a late, dodgy penalty but it had changed from humiliating to glorious defeat, so we all went to Covent Garden and met loads of other fans in the Dutch pub for an impromptu massive party on Sunday night in London” – Jim Smith.
“Can I just point out to Mike Fichtner (yesterday’s letters) that Neither Rochester nor Syracuse are anywhere near I-95 (which connects Boston, New York and beyond). He must mean I-90 which connects Boston to Buffalo (and beyond). A bit more pedantry needed in these difficult times” – Skip Koblintz (and 1,056 others).
QUIZ! QUIZ! QUIZ!
How many lions on the shirt? For tougher questions on England at Euro ‘96, click here.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Arsenal players are set to agree a 12.5% pay cut, after a video pep talk from Mikel Arteta.
Football League suit Rick Parry says matches are likely to return behind closed doors.
Chelsea winger Willian has reservations about any similar plans to restart the Premier League. “It’s not a bad idea but they have to know very carefully what’s going to happen,” he said. “[If] I play against someone and I get the virus, then I pass it to my wife or daughters.”
And the START FOOTBALL campaign continues to stall, after it emerged that finishing the season by 30 June was not discussed in Friday’s conference call between all 20 Premier League teams. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time for them to thrash this out.
STILL WANT MORE?
“Puyol, Xavi, Leo, me: we were all formed here as people. It’s difficult for something like that to happen again” – Andrés Iniesta gets his chat on with Sid Lowe about Barcelona, Vissel Kobe and lockdown life.
“Mike Ashley wants to sell you a cheap tracksuit. Saudi Arabia wants to sell you a soft-focus view of its oppressive regime” – Barney Ronay on the ethical quagmire of a potential change of Newcastle ownership.
Club legends do not come much bigger and bolder than the late Norman Hunter, writes Paul Wilson.
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