HOT TIN TIME MACHINE
The Fiver woke up late to discover there’s a reasonable chance Dominic Raab will be in temporary control of the country soon. We thought about that for a moment. Then we thought about necking the rest of that Mogadon and Dettol cocktail we’d fixed for ourselves last night but didn’t quite finish before blackout. But instead we decided to run. So we ran. And we ran. And we ran and we ran and we ran and we ran and now we’ve found ourselves back in 1978.
Hm, the Fiver’s blistering pace, combined with the concomitant vapour trail of antiseptic disinfectant and despair, must have somehow burned a hole in the space-time continuum. And 27 March 2020 must have been one hell of a slow day in the world of football. We’ve got to say, life seems pretty good back here. It’s sunny. Sale of the Century, the quiz of the week from Norwich, is on Anglia later. And Boney M are number one. One out of three ain’t bad, so we’re chalking this up as a win.
There’s also a World Cup underway, although it hasn’t been going too well for Scotland, who have been making a rare old show of themselves over in Argentina. Having gone there promising to bring back “a medal of some sort”, Ally MacLeod’s lads have instead played like they’re on the Tin, taking one point from their opening two matches against Peru and Iran.
They’ve also had to dismiss Willie Johnston for necking pep pills (he later claimed they were for hayfever), and today it’s being reported that Don Masson ludicrously filed a false confession, pretending to have taken some speedy sweeties too, in the hope of deflecting some heat away from his disgraced teammate. Full marks for loyalty, not so many for the old logic.
It’s also not exactly clear what the galoot who hoicked a brick through the window of the Scottish FA back in Glasgow was trying to achieve. But the fans are unhappy, this much we know. After the dire draw with Iran, the players went away with songs containing multiple usage of the letter eff ringing in their lugs. Scotland are now left with the Herculean task of beating the Netherlands, finalists last time round and one of the favourites this year, by three clear goals.
Three clear goals! Well, good luck with that, lads. The Fiver isn’t going to bother watching, because if the first two games are anything to go by, we’re pretty damn sure nothing memorable is going to occur. See you in 42 years for our next edition on Monday!
LIVE(ISH) ON BIG WEBSITE
Can Ally’s Army do it? Follow Scotland v Netherlands live with Scott Murray on our As It Happened retro MBM, Saturday from 2pm GMT (kick-off 3pm).
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I was sent a video of people in the hospital and when they started singing You’ll Never Walk Alone, I started crying immediately. It shows everything, these people not only work but they have such a good spirit. They bring themselves in danger because they help sick people, so I couldn’t admire them more and appreciate it more” — Jürgen Klopp shows his appreciation for NHS staff amid the coronavirus crisis.
Max and Barry are podding from home in the latest Football Weekly Extra, and it’s a Sid Lowe special as they get the Lowe-down from our man in Spain. Listen below, or over here.
“Thursday’s Fiver reminded me of a story from the very nasty Don Revie days. The great Jim Baxter was called down to Leeds for an interview. ‘I’ve been asking around about you, Baxter,’ said Revie. ‘And it seems that football is less important to you than booze, birds and fast cars.’ Slim Jim replied: ‘you are remarkably well informed’” — Paul O’Sullivan.
“It’s a marvellous gesture by the Leeds United management and players to forego their wages so the staff at the club can get paid during these dystopian times. I hope other clubs will follow suit. However if you think I’m going to be calling them Lovely Leeds in future you are obviously hitting the Tin too hard” — John Myles.
“Now that we Kiwis have been locked into our own personal bubbles, otherwise known as #NewZealandLockdown (TM Pending), I find myself seeking odd and quite frankly disturbing diversions to keep me going. What was once just an occasional glance at the Fiver as I moved it to the spam file, has now become required reading to start my day. Is there no end to the misery?” — Paul Arnold.
“Fortunately for Woking, their season as ‘clear leaders of the Ryman League’ being declared null and void, will enable them to stay in the National League” — Trevor P [Oops. We meant Worthing — Fiver Ed].
Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … Paul O’Sullivan.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Manchester United have moved to reassure their fans that they will be reimbursed if games are played behind closed doors, or cancelled altogether. “We want to ease any concerns our loyal fans may have,” purred the United group managing director, Richard Arnold.
La Liga sides Barcelona, Espanyol and Atlético Madrid have announced temporary pay cuts for staff as the coronavirus crisis continues to escalate in Spain.
Non-league side Jersey Bulls have said they will contact the FA after their promotion to the Combined Counties Premier Division was voided. The Channel Islanders won all 27 league games they played, and had mathematically secured promotion before the season was abandoned.
Swansea City have offered the NHS use of their Liberty Stadium home if they need it, and will also give at least 1,000 free match tickets to NHS workers. The club’s chairman, Trevor Birch, has also announced a charity auction and food service to support homeless and vulnerable local people.
Frank Lampard has said that he does not want to push his Frank Lampard’s Chelsea players too hard. “It is very difficult at the moment because we have got nothing concrete in front of us,” Lampard told the club’s official app. “The last thing I want to do at this moment is to try and push and push and push them for no reason.”
Footballers getting dangerously bored news! James McClean has been fined two weeks’ wages by Stoke City after a spectacularly ill-judged post on some social media disgrace or other. McClean posted a picture in a black balaclava, giving his children what he described as a “history lesson”.
Former footballers getting dangerously bored news! Nolberto Solano is in hot water after allegedly breaking lockdown rules to attend a party in his native Peru. TV cameras caught the former Newcastle winger in discussion with police in Lima. “What party? What are you talking about? No sir, it’s not a party,” pleaded Solano. “You’re wasting time on this. This is disrespectful.”
STILL WANT MORE?
CSKA Sofia’s Viv Solomon-Otabor spoke to Will Unwin about how racial abuse has affected him in Bulgaria.
My Favourite Game continues, as Luke McLaughlin talks us through the 2012 Big Cup humdinger between Chelsea and Napoli.
Lots of European clubs are working out what do about wages during the coronavirus crisis, as Nick Ames explains.
Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!