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Back in a previous life, when The Fiver occasionally draped itself in suit and tie in order to take up someone’s valuable desk space in an office far away, we received an almighty rollicking from The Man for rolling up to work straight from a transatlantic holiday in jeans and trainers. It was past midday, which aggravated things further. What we’re saying is: let he or she who has not erred on the back of a soothing summer break cast the first stone. We did at least show up, mind – unlike Harry Kane, who didn’t stop at dressing down on what was supposed to be his first day back at Spurs: he put in a no-show, so everyone else pulled up their chairs as the transfer saga we all knew was coming cranked into gear. Are you sitting comfortably? It’s only just begun.
What happens next is anyone’s guess. Perhaps Kane is just trying to give his new manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, a head start for early next year when he suffers his annual injury and Tottenham regret not signing a competent backup;maybe he’s still lodged inside an infuriatingly fake-jovial Giorgio Chiellini’s pocket. Or has he joined Jack Grealish on a wild road trip around Ancoats and Beswick, screeching the car to a halt outside the Etihad once in a while to scream “Worth every penny, Sheikh M!”
Regardless, Wolves fans used to tell the world “Nuno had a dream”, but this probably wasn’t the scenario he’d fantasised about upon receiving a once-in-a-career chance to wind up at failed Super League breakaways. It isn’t really news that Kane has wanted out of Spurs for a while, and the club’s Benny Hill-style chase for a new manager probably didn’t do much towards convincing him they were heading onwards and upwards. But did anyone have their money on “saloon bar-style stand-off” at this stage? Not Nuno. “When he comes again, we will have time to speak,” he said earlier in pre-season. “We will have good conversations, but now is the moment for Harry to rest and to prepare for what’s coming.”
Much as Kane would have loved a coffee and pasteis de nata with his new boss, it seems he was in fact preparing to bypass those pleasant natters and walk straight up to the head honcho. Daniel Levy is apparently the man in his sights, with fresh talks sought over an amicable way to let him go. Given Levy is notoriously stubborn, skipping day one of the new term might not be the way to win him over – or the way to avoid souring what has been a relationship of sky-high mutual regard with the club’s fans. A battle of wills is the only certainty from here; the only advice the Fiver can offer Kane is that he would do well to smarten up for it.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“One shot on goal, a penalty kick. It’s a bitter one to swallow. Obviously we never want to lose to Canada. I don’t think I’ve ever lost to Canada. So it’s a bitter one … it sucks, yeah, it sucks” – Megan Rapinoe struggles to digest USA! USA!! USA!!!’s first defeat in 20 years to Canada, who are into Big Sports Day’s gold-medal match. Hell, yeah!
“It’s not often that we get a good substantial article in Big Paper on us, the ‘us’ being Sheffield Wednesday by the way, but we did get this good piece on 31 July highlighting the ‘vaulting optimism’ and ‘shrewd business in signing hungry talents hints at a brighter future’. Cue one day later and we’re already out of the Rumbelows Cup. On 1 August. Still, lots of time to concentrate on the league I guess …” – Noble Francis.
“Perhaps unfortunately for him, the man taking a selfie with the José Mourinho mural (Friday’s Fiver) bore a passing resemblance to Dominic Cummings. It can’t possibly be Barnard Castle’s most infamous visitor; why would he feel a kindred spirit with someone who has an unfaltering belief that he and only he is right, or who has fallen out with so many former colleagues and taken every subsequent opportunity to stick the boot into them through the media?” – Ed Taylor.
“Who does Digby Jones think he is? I’m fully supportive of Alex Scott as a presenter on the BBC. She was a talented footballer and is a very talented & likeable presenter, which is more than can be said for Digby Jones who comes across as an arrogant superficial [beeeeeeeep – Bad word Ed]” – Howard Hughes.
“Re: Frankie McAvoy (Friday’s Quote of the Day) – delighted to see the cross-pollination going on here, but it also works the other way round; Adam Crozier went from being the CEO of the Football Association to the same position at Royal Mail. At a higher wedge than Frankie’s getting, you’d imagine. To be fair to Crozier, he did nearly play football (well, Hibernian, argue that one out...) but I don’t think he tried to be a postman before taking on the Royal Mail gig. He ended up running ITV, so the nearest parallel I can imagine is that McAvoy will one day be part of the Euro 2028 pundits’ panel …” –Drew Goldie.
Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Howard Hughes.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Tyrone Mings has revealed that he had mental health problems at Euro 2020, with a crisis of self-confidence leaving him feeling like 95% of the country had doubts about him.
Sweden are into a second consecutive Big Sports Day final after beating flamin’ Australia 1-0.
The Pope’s O’Rangers will face Olympiacos or Ludogorets in the next round of the Big Cup play-offs if they get past Malmö. $tevie Mbe’s men play the first leg in Sweden on Tuesday; if they go out, O’Rangers will drop into the Euro Vase play-offs and take on crack Kazakh outfit Kairat Almaty or Armenia’s Alashkert.
In Euro Vase 2 (or was it Euro Pot? – Fiver Ed), Tottenham could face Larne in their opener, if the side from Norn Iron can get past Portugal’s Paços de Ferreira. Hibernian will face either Bohemians or PAOK if they get past Croatian side Rijeka, while the reward for Aberdeen if they beat Breidablik is a long trip to either Limassol or Qarabag.
And bastions of footballing fair play MK Dons have expressed their “extreme disappointment” after manager Russell Martin was snapped up by Swansea City.
STILL WANT MORE?
If you prefer Proper Football, Ben Fisher runs the rule over League Two, predicting success for Bradford and Leyton Orient and a tough season for the Swindon lot.
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