Caffeine Cup, featuring your Van de Beeks, your Gunns and your Goslings

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<span>Photograph: Matt West/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Matt West/Shutterstock


The football season only truly comes alive in late September when the most exciting midweek of the calendar takes place: the Caffeine Cup third round. This is the one the big guns’ (squad) players have all been waiting for.

Fans have also been pining to see Alex Telles, John Ruddy, CJ Egan-Riley and more get their chance. Their efforts were, however, all overshadowed by Manchester United’s 18th failed attempt at winning a first major trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, thanks to Manuel Lanzini’s Mark-Noble-redeeming strike at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Related: West Ham’s Lanzini strikes to knock Manchester United out of Carabao Cup

There are plenty of knock-on effects from going out of Fizzy Cup: missing out on glorious silverware, depriving fans of midweek nights out to watch the reserves for £40 a go, and ensuring the British public do not get to see Donny van de Beek ever again – although, who knows, he may return for United’s tilt at Big Vase next year.

While your Van de Beeks, your Gunns and your Goslings will be locked away for the winter months, your Barkleys, your Steffens and your Minaminos still have a shot at sitting on a Wembley bench in February. It’s the hope that kills you. It wasn’t all doom and gloom: Cameron Archer and Eddie Nketiah offered moments of magic, and Kepa came through a Milk Cup penalty shootout with his reputation intact.

Elsewhere, Swansea fans got to travel 229 miles from one coast to another to see their side lose to a Brighton team including Jürgen Locadia, who had not played for the Seagulls in more than two years. Perhaps the Dutchman can offer Van de Beek some advice: the Caffeine Cup is all about paying it forward.


“It was regrettable that the pyrotechnic ended up back in the stand as my intention was just to remove it from the pitch. Having just lost a goal I was eager to get the match restarted as quickly as possible, and I would like to apologise for any distress caused by this action” – Dundee’s Leigh Griffiths offers his version of events after kicking a smoke bomb thrown by St Johnstone fans back into the stand.


Football Weekly Extra looks at the midweek action and the Derby debacle. Have a listen over here.


“Richard Fernandez won the prestigious Fiver letter o’ the day with a piece about how brilliant the cartoons of David Squires are? Since stating facts seems to now be the only prerequisite for winning, can I just inform you that The Fiver is written by useless hacks with no sense of ambition, no understanding of comedy, and minimal skills in the art of writing” – Jeremy Adams.

“Allow me to join 1,056 other pedantic readers in pointing out the basic arithmetic error in today’s Fiver. If the Caffeine Cup is placed after the league title, both transfer windows and the FA Cup it is in fifth place, not sixth as stated. Can we now trust any of the numbers you quote? [No – Fiver Ed.] Did only 1,046 other readers point this out?” – John Kyle (and 1,046 others).

“The line break on the news/bit/bob about Steve Cooper [Tuesday’s Fiver] led me to read it as ‘Former Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper’, which seemed a little hasty, even for us” – Jim Hearson.

“The way the big clubs treat the Caffeine Cup, it makes sense to scrap it altogether or keep it only for lower-league teams (and Arsenal)” – Krishna Moorthy.

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 … Jeremy Ad Jim Hearson.


Romelu Lukaku has called for a summit with governing bodies and social media platforms to help combat online racism. “We are taking the knee but in the end, everybody’s clapping but sometimes after the game, you see another insult,” Lukaku told CNN Sport. The FA has reportedly made contact with the Chelsea forward.

Wayne Rooney has hit out at the owner of Wayne Rooney’s Derby County, Mel Morris, after the club fell into administration. “I personally haven’t spoken to Mel since 9 August,” Rooney said. “I still haven’t had a one-on-one conversation, no phone call, no text message. Nothing. I find it a bit disrespectful, to be honest.”

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney: rightly miffed. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Derby’s administrators say they are confident of finding a buyer for the club by the end of the year, but warned the disparity in revenue between the Premier League and Championship meant other clubs would hit financial problems “time and time again”.

Uefa have doubled the prize money at Women’s Euro 2022 to €16m (£13.7m), but it’s still a fraction of the men’s €371m (£317.3m) prize pot. Suzanne Wrack has more.

The Gambling Commission and Financial Conduct Authority have been criticised by an independent review of the Football Index collapse.

The draw for the Littlewoods Cup fourth round is as follows: Chelsea v Southampton, Arsenal v Nasty Leeds, Stoke v Brentford, Taxpayers FC v Manchester City, Leicester v Brighton, Burnley v Tottenham, QPR v Sunderland, Preston v Liverpool. Ties will be played on the week of 25 October.

The treatment room at Nasty Leeds is full to capacity, with Patrick Bamford (ankle-ouch) out of Saturday’s home game with West Ham. Luke Ayling, Jack Harrison, Diego Llorente and Robin Koch are also out with various knacks.

Uefa reckons there are four “real dangers” with Fifa’s plan for biennial World Cups, and none of them are Arsène Wenger trashing his reputation as one of the game’s good guys. Paul MacInnes reports.

Italy’s oldest football club, Genoa, have been taken over by USA! USA!! USA!!! private investment firm 777 Partners, in a deal worth €150m (£128m).

And James Rodríguez reportedly has a rather ambitious clause in his new contract with Qatari side Al-Rayyan. According to Mundo Deportivo, the Colombian will be allowed to leave if PSG come calling.


“It’s a very humbling experience but one I would not ever change. They’ve helped me in my life probably more than I’ve helped them.” Kelly Lindsey, the former coach of the Afghanistan women’s team, gets her chat on with Suzanne Wrack.

Juventus are loving life freed from the encumbrance of Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals and even won their midweek Mezzanotte relegation six-pointer with Spezia. Here’s Nicky Bandini with a closer look.

Pep Guardiola likes nothing more to rotate his shiny collection of diminutive Manchester City stars – but is it hindering the team, wonders Jamie Jackson.

Though most renowned for tattoos, muscle-shirts and a bad temper, Jorge Sampaoli is also building something special at Marseille, reckons Adam White.

The greatest of Jimmy Greaves and animal pitch invaders: it’s Classic YouTube!

Hamez Rodríguez’s marriage to Everton Football Club was doomed from the outset, reckons Jonathan Liew.

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


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