The Fiver | We know a thing or two about being told we’re useless at our job | Football



For once, The Fiver feels as if we may be of use. According to Unai Emery, Granit Xhaka is still feeling “devastated and sad” about being jeered off by Arsenal fans during Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace. We know a thing or two about being told we’re useless at our job, you see. Each weekday at around 5.10pm we step outside Fiver Towers and clear up all the rotten fruit that’s been hurled our way after our latest attempt at tea-timely humour has been received about as well as news of another general election reaching Brenda from Bristol. Like a Xhaka lunge that results in a card, we too feel devastated and sad that the intention behind our energetic attempt at winning back the hearts and minds of our followers has been hopelessly misunderstood.

Emery is of the opinion that Xhaka should say sorry to fans for telling them where to beeping go before hurling his shirt at the ground. “I think when we make individual mistakes we need to make apologies,” Emery blabbed of Xhaka’s fresh and funky departure. “We suggest to him to do it.” The Fiver would suggest he doesn’t do it in a hurry. On top of being given verbal pelters for his perceived on-pitch failings, he’s had to soak up a shed-load of filth directed at him and his partner on various social media disgraces recently, too. Oh, and he became a father four weeks ago. If certain entitled fans can’t understand why the poor chap might have been at breaking point on Sunday, they ought to poke themselves in their eyes to see if they can actually feel anything. Xhaka has since deleted a picture of himself on Instachat wearing the Arsenal captain’s armband and replaced it with a Switzerland one instead. With fans such as these, it’s a crying shame anyone has to captain Arsenal – but someone does.

So step forward leader of men Mesut Özil, who has been located in an Emirates Stadium storeroom and dusted off just in time to be fitted for the Coca-Cola Cup armband he is likely to wear at Anfield on Wednesday evening against Liverpool U-16s. Xhaka has not been included in Arsenal’s matchday squad so that he can continue to let steam out of his ears. It’s a tricky one for Emery, who needs some kind of response from his side to help shift the dark cloud that’s been following him around for the past few weeks, even if he names a reserve XI including Gunnersaurus, Fiver Jr and Troopz from AFTV.

It’s a free hit for Jürgen Klopp, though, who will give teenage man-bun extraordinaire Harvey Elliott another chance to become Liverpool’s youngest ever goalscorer. The 16-year-old is back in contention after serving a 14-day domestic ban for being idiotic and mocking Harry Kane with offensive language. Chelsea and Manchester United also play in the Rumbelows Cup at Stamford Bridge, with Frank Lampard’s Chelsea manager Frank Lampard expected to stick to his policy of playing only footballers who are young enough to know what the Fortnite dance is. As for Xhaka, maybe he should spend his night off in the away end at Anfield, where he can see if any disgruntled Gooners would like to share their views about him in person.


Join Gregg Bakowski from 7.30pm for hot MBM coverage of Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal, while Rob Smyth will be on hand at 8.05pm for Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United.


“I was never close to signing. It was [weird]. People assumed because they’d seen it on [Social Media Disgrace] Twitter. I’ve never really been in that position before: I don’t think women’s football itself has. When I was at City, there was this thing about me going out with Sergio Agüero and I was like: ‘This is news to me.’ Honestly, it’s like: God bless the men’s players because they get it every week” – Toni Duggan gets her chat on with Sid Lowe about last season’s Women’s Big Cup final, rumours about joining Manchester United and why she left Barcelona for Atlético.

Toni Duggan, there.

Toni Duggan, there. Photograph: Pablo Garcia


“What kind of sick, twisted, immoral creature would put milk, milk, in a SodaStream (yesterday’s Fiver)?” – Ferg Slade.

“Dale Chase (yesterday’s Fiver letters) urges The Fiver to turn from its Stop Football campaign to Stop VAR. Doesn’t he realise that letting VAR continue might just well achieve both?” – John Myles.

“Mike Wilner (yesterday’s letters) suggesting there’s a large bill coming The Fiver’s way to compensate for substandard output over the years. The funds owed would be a multiple of The Fiver’s daily wage, no? It’s been a while since I was in school, but one assumes that multiplying anything by zero still results in zero” – Derek McGee.

Send your letters to And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … John Myles.


Francis Jeffers has pleaded guilty to sending a grossly offensive message via a public communications network to his estranged wife Lucy. Sophie Leyland, prosecuting, told Liverpool magistrates’ court: “On 29 May there were messages sent via WhatsApp to the victim making reference to the fact her life was over and referencing a coffin. The victim felt this was a threat to her life.” Jeffers was handed a restraining order, fined £625 and ordered to pay £85 court costs and £62 victim surcharge.

Bury have been given until 4 December to settle their debts in a bid to avoid a winding-up order.

Diego Maradona has been enjoying a comfy throne after returning to Newell’s Old Boys to see his Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata side win 4-0.

Beats Bielsa’s bucket, in his stadium and all.

Beats Bielsa’s bucket, in his stadium and all. Photograph: Luciano Bisbal/Getty Images

Manchester City, Leicester, Colchester and Oxford are through to the Milk Cup quarter-finals, along with Magic Marco’s Everton after a 2-0 win over Watford. “It is hard against a team with nine men behind the ball but we were more assertive in the second half,” he cheered.

Barcelona are back on top of La Liga after a Messi-inspired 5-1 shoeing of Real Valladolid. “He’s from another planet,” cooed Arturo Vidal.

And after a winless run of 41 games which comprised six different coaches, lasted 14 months and featured players protesting at unpaid wages, Mexican side Veracruz have won a league match, with Colin Kazim-Richards scoring the only goal against Puebla.


Which stadiums are lopsided, three-sided or just downright wonky? The Knowledge has the answer.

There’s a big story coming out of Spain: Suzanne Wrack has all the latest.

Telling Gareth Bale that Boris Johnson is PM took away b@nterpocalypse’s sole survivor, sighs Marina Hyde.

Big Gaz Bale, presumably pondering whether to vote for William Pitt the Younger in the upcoming election.

Big Gaz Bale, presumably pondering whether to vote for William Pitt the Younger in the upcoming election. Photograph: Chris Fairweather/Huw Evans/Rex/Shutterstock

Bargain buys and Peter Ridsdale [not often seen in the same sentence – Fiver Ed] are propelling Preston upwards, as Ben Fisher reports.

People should stop throwing stones inside English football’s glass house, writes Proper Journalism’s David Conn.

Tommy Doyle made his Manchester City debut on Tuesday, another part of the family’s fabric with the club.

Martin Laurence checks out 10 of the most prolific forwards in Europe right now.

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


Tickets are now available for Big Department’s year in review evening.


This week’s David Squires cracker is now available to buy and you can get your hands on some of his other favourite cartoons at our Print Shop.


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