Crystal Palace v Brighton: arguably the Premier League’s weirdest rivalry

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ANGRY BIRDS

One of those long-running feuds that goes back so long that few (least of all the warring factions so heavily invested in it) can quite remember what prompted it in the first place, Crystal Palace and Brighton resume hostilities on Monday night in what is arguably the Premier League’s weirdest derby. A quick recap: having endured a somewhat pr1ckly relationship during their playing days at Tottenham, Terry Venables and Alan Mullery were appointed managers of third division clubs Palace and Brighton respectively, within a month of each other in 1976. The sides would go on to meet five times that season, tensions simmering on each occasion before reaching – quite literally – boiling point after the fourth encounter when a Palace fan threw a cup of coffee over Mullery.

Reaching into his pocket, the Brighton boss pulled out a handful of change. “That’s all you’re worth, Crystal Palace,” he shouted, accompanying his exhortation with some V-signs. Led away by the Old Bill, he was subsequently forced to dig deep again after being fined £100 for bringing the game into disrepute. A bitter rivalry was born, albeit between two clubs located 45 miles apart and with no other obvious grounds for mutual contempt beyond an airborne cup of hot beverage and some scattered coins.

While tea, coffee, Bovril and hot chocolate are all available from the Selhurst Park concession stands, in these straitened times any Crystal Palace fans thinking of scalding mild-mannered Brighton manager Graham Potter might think twice about doing so when confronted with the knowledge it will cost them £2, and that’s without factoring in the accompanying night in the cells, court appearance, fine and banning order. The more flash among any enraged fans are discouraged from hurling other available missiles in the form of burgers (£5), hot dogs (£4.50) or Tuscan bean pies (£4) for the same reasons.

“I know what it means for the fans to win the game,” parped Palace Pat Vieira in the buildup to the Sarf Lahndan ding-dong. “I know the trouble our football club went through. I understand how passionate both fans are about the game.” Travelling Brighton fans will head up the A23 to see their Seagulls take on the Eagles in the Angry Birds Derby, knowing that victory will catapult their side to the top of the Premier League table. Having hailed the “fantastic atmosphere” at Selhurst, Potter captured the essence of this intense rivalry with a typically Churchillian cri de couer. “Hopefully we can play well and bring the result back,” the Brighton manager roared, with the kind of stirring rhetoric that is likely to inflame coffee-wielding Palace fans.

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Join Will Unwin at 8pm BST for red-hot MBM updates of Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I don’t know how to stop them … they’re so good” – Pep Guardiola there, having absolutely no one on and clearly about to unleash a never-before-seen formation on football when Manchester City play PSG.

Pep Guardiola’s brain, computing formations at warp-speed against Chelsea.
Pep Guardiola’s brain, computing formations at warp-speed against Chelsea. Photograph: Javier García/REX/Shutterstock

FIVER LETTERS

“Re: ‘more time spent away from the game … at the toilets, causing all manner of inconvenience to fellow fans who have to stand up and let you scooch past as you go about your business’ (Friday’s Fiver). I read that as causing inconvenience to fellow fans going about their business. As a result, you’ve brought back long-suppressed and very, very bad memories of the cubical-free toilets on offer at a Namibia Premier League game that I attended a long time ago, though now it seems like only yesterday. If there’s any chance of this happening again, I may have to stop reading The Fiver (every cloud, etc)” – Jim Allison.

“I’m surprised Michael Owen has time to be an ambassador for the Pakistan Football League (Friday’s News, Bits and Bobs), given how gifted he clearly is as a motivational speaker. ‘In 15-20 years’, ‘hopefully’, ‘it may happen’, ‘be more competitive than they currently are’ – who wants a guarantee of instant and unqualified success when you could live in his hypothetical utopia? I’m getting chills here’ – Jim Hearson.

“Would it be possible for The Fiver to give those of us hungry for the glory – and chance to monetise – an appearance in the letters section of the nation’s favourite tea-timely email a heads-up when it’s a slow letters day?” – Lynda Caines.

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

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NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

The €uropean $uper £eague still represents “an ongoing existential threat to the foundations and future of European football”, Uefa has warned.

Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Spurs could help transform shy young Gunners into wise old winners, according to Bukayo Saka. “We can achieve anything,” he yelped. “If we play like this we have enough quality to win trophies.”

Bukayo Saka celebrates after getting wise against Spurs.
Bukayo Saka celebrates after getting wise against Spurs. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Naby Keïta has recovered from foot-knack and is back in training with Liverpool before their Big Cup trip to Porto.

Manchester City can look forward to facing Lionel Messi in Big Cup after the PSG forward’s knee-knack appeared to have cleared up enough for him to do a few star jumps in training.

Marcus Rashford reckons he will be wrestling with Harry Maguire in training again soon after recovering from surgery on his shoulder-gah! “All being well, I will get the green [light] to join in with contact training again,” cheered the Manchester United forward.

And Luton boss Nathan Jones is still feeling funky after a Bournemouth fan refused to hand the ball back in added time of their 2-1 Championship defeat. “It was some clown in the stand, just wants to put his ball under his thing – fair enough,” tooted Jones. “It slows the game down. There’s four minutes of injury time which – there was about 20 subs – so I don’t understand that.”

STILL WANT MORE?

One talking point! Ha ha ha! Two talking points! Ha ha ha! Three talking points! Ha ha ha! Four talking points [We get the drift – Fiver Ed]! Ten! Ten talking points! Ha ha ha!

Maurizio Sarri celebrated Lazio’s win over Roma by holding aloft a massive eagle. Nicky Bandini has more.

Maurizio Sarri, smiling through the pain as he tries to hold aloft Olimpia.
Maurizio Sarri, smiling through the pain as he tries to hold aloft Olimpia. Photograph: Andrew Medichini/AP

Granit Xhaka? What a cracker, writes Nick Ames, though in rather more considered style.

Suzanne Wrack and Sarah Rendell run the rule over the weekend’s WSL action.

Sid Lowe on Ansu Fati and much-needed hope at Barcelona.

Marco Rose’s return to Gladbach was not a happy one, reports Andy Brassell.

Like a Sherpa turning up at the wrong basecamp, Chelsea missed Mount at the weekend, writes Jonathan Wilson.

The Fiver’s colleague Philipp Lahm on PSG v Manchester City.

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

THAT’S THE LAST TIME WE SEND FIVER JR ON AN ERRAND

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