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The Fiver | We advise United fans to go home and change into their favourite onesies | Football


ED DEVILS

There is so much stuff to be righteously angry about these days. That thing someone somewhere said online that doesn’t exactly chime with your worldview. The colour of your passport that the evil EU has always allowed us to change if we could be bothered. Or the disdainful manner with which big clubs like Liverpool treat the FA Cup, while lower-league purists like Brentford make eight changes in order to prepare for a do-or-die clash with Nottingham Forest that if, say, they lost 1-0, would leave them in fifth place in the Championship, exactly where they were when they started. Ooh, the sheer arrogance of that Klopp/EU mandarin/guy on internet forum. Fume!

But just imagine supporting a club that hasn’t won a major European trophy for 979 days, is one match away from the Milk Cup final, is still in with a shout of winning both the FA Cup and Big Vase and is suffering such a bad season they’ve plummeted as low as fifth in the Premier League, a competition they’ve won 13 times in its first 27 seasons? Yes, we’d be parping hot steam from both lugs too. Though whether The Fiver would go so far as the “large group” of Manchester United fans who popped round Ed Woodward’s house and hoyed a flare over his gate while chanting he’s “going to die” is another matter altogether. For a start, we’d already changed into our jim-jams and made a nice mug of Horlicks. Nah, not going out.

Setting aside the fairly clear moral boundaries of this story, the timing of the attack seems a little odd to The Fiver. For a start, in Bruno Fernandes they’re extremely close to signing their first decent midfielder since Roy Keane left for the pundit’s chair on MUTV all those years ago, while Woodward seems to have got shot of Marcos Rojo, bound for Estudiantes, which has surely got to count for something. Then later on, it’s quite feasible that Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side could win at Manchester City like they did last month, force a penalty shootout, and make their first domestic cup final since the sepia-toned misty memories of May 2018. Because when all’s said and done, it’s a Manchester derby and City are still City.

Having said all that, there’s also a chance that City could run up a cricket score, like they threatened to do at Old Trafford in the first leg. In which case we advise fuming United fans to go straight home, change into their favourite onesies, and stay in for the rest of the night. Read about Brexit, log on to Twitter, do anything that’ll keep yourself relatively calm.

LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE

Join Scott Murray from 7.45pm GMT for hot MBM coverage of Manchester City 3-1 Manchester United (agg: 6-2) in the Milk Cup.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I showed them the video of me playing and they said they didn’t realise that at this age you can display such skills, movement and flexibility” – meet Eez Eldin Bahder, 74, the world’s oldest professional footballer – and you can watch his moves here in this video montage of his skills. Not so sure about the goalkeeper, mind.

FIVER LETTERS

“Dear Nick Dent (Tuesday’s Fiver letters), I love you and I want to have your baby. Not for buying the book – thanks! – but for backing my underdog writer status against ‘lit’ behemoth, Mr Cribbins. It’s the magic of the cup, lads!” – Robi Polgar.

“Re: Robi Polgar – I bought one, too. You keep it up!” – Hanif Khan.

“Recent Fiver letters reminded me of when I used to watch the mighty, sadly defunct, Formby FC in their North West Counties home matches at Victoria Park. Nicknamed ‘The Squirrels’, what music did the team come out to? Anything by Dr Drey. The crowd went nuts (it’s spelt ‘Dre’ – Fiver hip-hop Ed)” – Tim Cole.

“I fully sympathise with your readers who avoid saying ‘squirrel’. As a Bristolian ex-pat who has spent the last 35 years trying to suppress my accent to avoid ridicule, this is one of the words I avoid at all costs as it’s impossible for me to say it without sounding like Adge Cutler. See also, ‘world’ and ‘burglary’” – Bill Gallagher.

“As an old git, I can confirm that GLC (Tuesday’s Fiver) stands for Greater London Council. On the plus side, Menace have already done an anthem for when it all goes wrong for the poor lad” – Louise Wright.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our letter o’the day is … Bill Gallagher, who wins a copy of The Blizzard: The Best of the First Five Years, signed by editor and Fiver colleague Jonathan Wilson. And if you like what you see, you can buy or subscribe to it here. We’ve more to give away all week.

RECOMMENDED LISTENING

Get your ears around the latest Football Weekly. Tickets are also on sale for the next live show in London.

Football Weekly

FA Cup review, the Moyes Effect and a big result in Scotland

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

China’s women’s team are being held in quarantine in Australia over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Dean Smith lost the run of himself when Trézéguet scored the goal that sent Aston Villa into an inevitable Rumbelows Cup final defeat by Manchester City. “I certainly let myself go when we scored that goal,” sobbed Smith. “It means an awful lot.”

Spurs have signed Steven Bergwijn for £25m from PSV. “When I was a young boy I looked up to [Humility Man™] and now I play for him,” swooned the Dutch forward.

Arsenal have borrowed Flamengo defender Pablo Marí, with an option to buy him this summer if he’s any good. “I’m delighted… this is one of the world’s best clubs,” he parped.





Pablo Mari



Yes, Pablo! Photograph: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

David Moyes reckons West Ham might not be in such a precarious financial state if they stopped buying players with no resale value. “I want to stop the idea that always what we’re doing is just buying someone to fill the gap,” honked the Hammers’ No 1 gap-filling boss.

Chelsea want a piece of Dries Mertens.

A 4-0 defeat by Salford convinced Cambridge United to hoof Colin Calderwood through the door marked Do One, while Firewall FC have given Paul Hurst the boot, too.

And apropos of nothing, here’s Stuart Baxter “training” a Halmstads player hard back in the day.

STILL WANT MORE?

Feel free to be miffed at Manchester United’s current predicament, shrugs Paul Wilson, before adding a finger-wagging PS: flare-pelting Ed Woodward’s house is not any kind of solution.

Marina Hyde armsweeps her desk and screams into her bin wondering how the hell TV piracy is the potential hitch preventing a Saudi sportswashing at St James’ Park.

Ed Aarons watched Mbwana Samatta make his Villa bow but fans went away talking about Father Damo Jack Grealish as their side set a Milk Cup course for Wem-ber-ley.

Which footballer holds the world record for the longest throw-in? The Knowledge hive mind has the answer, plus a splendid related yarn.





Dave Challinor



It’s Dave Challinor and his special elbows. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Sleep trackers and yoga are helping Manchester United’s women stay ahead of the WSL pack, chirps Suzanne Wrack.

Chelsea, United, Spurs, Villa, West Ham and Watford: here’s Martin Laurence with a list of the players who could boost your club’s season.

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





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Written by sortiwa

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