The Fiver | The 10th anniversary of that famous night in Paris | Football



Hell hath no fury like a knobbly stick-waving, Riverdancing Irish relative whose national team has been cheated out of a place at a major football tournament and Monday marks the 10th anniversary of the famous night in Paris that sent The Fiver’s cousin, Theme Pub O’Fiver, over the abyss and into the madness. With O’Ireland level on aggregate with France in a play-off for the 2010 World Cup finals and deep into the first half of added time, the ball was crossed into their crowded penalty area, where Thierry Henry controlled it with his hand, spun it for a good 30 seconds on one finger Harlem Globetrotter-style, before sending a pinpoint wraparound pass into the path of William Gallas, who headed past Shay Given to score the winner.

Finally electing to come off the goal-line to which he’d been anchored, something he should have done several seconds previously to prevent what would become an ensuing and unseemly collective national meltdown, O’Ireland’s goalkeeper, among others, raced off in pursuit of Swedish referee Martin Hansson, patting his outstretched arm in the international language of “hand-effing-ball”. Oblivious to Henry’s chicanery, Hansson ignored O’Irish protests and awarded what would be the decisive goal, prompting O’Fiver and four million compatriots to completely lose their minds.

Some might say, given the day it’s on, that it would only be fair if German referee Felix Brych was mindful of the anniversary of this cataclysmic injustice as he prepares to take charge of O’Ireland’s must-win game against Denmark in Dublin, a match that marks the sixth in a largely depressing and turgid series of games between the two nations in the past two years. Of the previous five, only one of which was must-win for anyone, four haven’t been won by anyone, while Denmark prevailed emphatically in the one that really mattered.

But back to Herr Brych, who will surely be feeling the weight of history on his shoulders as he lays out his coin, cards, whistle, notebook, pen and wristwatch before heading off to work. Herr Brych, who will be well aware of the great vengeance with furious rebukes executed upon his former colleague in the wake of his unfortunate, career-defining mistake; Herr Brych, who in the interests of an ensuring easy evening in front of over 50,000 anxious, baying Irishmen, will almost certainly go overboard in in his attempts not to be That Guy, the one who marks the 10th anniversary of one of the most terrible decisions in sporting history by making another terrible decision against the same team. No pressure, Felix. No pressure. Irish eyes are watching.


Join Simon Burnton from 7.45pm GMT for hot MBM coverage of Republic O’Ireland 1-1 Denmark.


4 January: “The game’s full of emotions, and it’s easy to get carried away sometimes. But if you can try and keep some perspective and logic in the craziness of football, that can certainly be helpful” – Grimsby Town manager Michael Jolley.

18 November: “On the scale of eruption, it’s clear that the football club had to go through a disciplinary process and anybody who thinks otherwise needs to think again. I’m not suggesting it would have resulted in gross misconduct and dismissal, there can be a whole range of outcomes to that. But at the end of the day Michael assumed it could only go in one direction and sought mutual settlement, which we arrived at” – Grimsby Town majority shareholder John Fenty reflects on Jolley’s exit after a four-minute rant at BBC Radio Humberside journalists last month, which included a spectacular 58 effs and the like.

Jolley by name … ah.

Jolley by name … ah. Photograph: Greig Cowie/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock


Vote! Vote! Vote!


“I can’t help wondering if the recent Disgraceful Scenes™ in that there Gridiron™ have put our own national-team-bit-of-bother into perspective. If only because it would have enhanced the spectacle enormously last Sunday if Raheem Sterling had whacked Joe Gomez on the bonce with a helmet before being subjected to a good shoeing by Virgil van Dijk. Once again we’ve been shown up by our American cousins. Come on lads, you can do better” – Nick Kinsella.

“Please let me be the 1,057th Canadian to point out that Thierry Henry is going to Montreal, not Toronto (Friday’s Still Want More?). We in the hinterlands of Canada often feel the national English-language media is Toronto-centric. We don’t need the English media doing the same. Sorry, eh” – John Kendle (and 1,056 other Canadians).

“The crossover between Economist and Fiver readers might be pretty small. But after reading this week’s edition, in which Noble Francis of the Construction Products Association, a trade body, says that ‘in construction you can spend a little money very quickly, but spending a lot of money is much harder’, I can only wonder how many other publications are festooned with Noble’s name” – Mark Newton.

Send your letters to And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our letter o’the day is … Mark Newton, who bags a copy of I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You. We’ve got more prizes to give away, so get scribbling.


The Dutch FA has opened an investigation into the racist abuse of Excelsior Rotterdam’s Ahmad Mendes Moreira, which resulted in a second division match being suspended. “I’m just very angry and very sad that these things still happen,” said Moreira, who reported that he was called a “negro and cotton-picker” by Den Bosch fans.

A man has been arrested after Wycombe keeper Ryan Allsop alleged homophobic abuse was aimed at him during Sunday’s League One win at Tranmere.

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro is feeling giddy as a toddler full of popping candy after watching his side’s 2-0 win at Spurs in front of a WSL-record 38,232 crowd. “It was an amazing occasion,” he whooped. “To have the passion, to have the rivalry, to have the tribalism. It was fantastic.”

A decent day and then some.

A decent day and then some. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Virgil van Dijk is apparently c0ck-a-hoop after leading the Netherlands to their first major tournament since 2014, not that you’d know it from these quotes. “We’re very happy that we can show the spirit, talents and the quality we have at the Euros,” yawned the big man. ”Personally, I think we’re back where we belong.”

And Cristiano Ronaldo says he has no lasting beef with Maurizio Sarri for subbing him for Juventus recently because he has been playing with mild-knack. “There was no controversy, you create controversy,” roared the elite underwear salesman.


Football Weekly is right here.


To Nuneaton! And this isn’t bad either.

Guardian sport

Spain training = Rodri x Thiago

November 18, 2019


“There is an anger”: where did it all go wrong for Shortbread McFiver and Scotland, asks Ewan Murray.

The Republic O’Ireland v Denmark is an unlikely circle of footballing hell, writes Barry Glendenning.

It’s Monday, so Rachel Brown-Finnis is here with the talking points from a record-breaking WSL Weekend.

You should be all over this Donald McRae chat with Vincent Kompany.

You should also be all over this Michael Butler chat with Philippe Albert.

Yes, big man.

Yes, big man. Photograph: Judith Jockel/The Guardian

Quiz! Quiz! Quiz! How much do you know about leading international scorers?

Gareth Southgate has made England into a bunch of likable lads but they still look slack in defence, reckons Richard Williams.

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


Tickets are still available for the Football Weekly Christmas Special [on 27 November! – Fiver Grinch Ed], live in London. Get them here.



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