LENNON O NO
There’ll be no Scottish League Cup for the Queen’s Celtic this season, a domestic trophy slipping from their grasp for the first time since 2016, and the way some folk are carrying on you’d think the club are, as a result, heading the way of Renton or Third Lanark. Sunday’s abject defeat to Ross County led to a mass tantrum outside Parkhead later that evening, culminating in Socratic dialogue with the local polis, and now several members of the fanbase have lost their sense of smell and everything tastes of nothing.
It’s fair to say the protest wasn’t the brightest idea. The reason everyone’s lost the head isn’t really about the League Cup That Got Away at all: Celtic have also been dispatched from Europe in short order, they’re on their worst run of form since 1958, and worst of all Pope’s Newc O’Rangers have an 11-point lead at the top of the Premiership table. That’s jeopardised the dream of winning a 10th title in a row, which seems to be a big thing for the fans, though exactly why we’re not sure, given one of the signature achievements of the legendary Jock Stein would be superseded, and by definition diminished, by a collective featuring Shane Duffy and the 63-year-old Scott Brown. But each to their own.
Anyway, the protest appears to have had the opposite of its intended effect. The assembled rabble were calling, between dry coughs and the sharing of droplets, for the dismissal of Neil Lennon. However while his sacking was reportedly in the pipeline, the folk in charge of the Parkhead biscuit tin took one look outside at the unfolding pandemic-infused huff and resolved not to “bow to yobs”, gifting Lennon a stay of execution. Something of a fiasco, then, although perhaps fans will come to consider this chain of events a blessing in disguise, given the two favourites to take over are Martin O’Neill, fresh from leading Nottingham Forest to ninth place in the Championship, and former Middlesbrough boss Wee Gordon Strachan. The Fiver accordingly advises everyone to calm down, not least because there’s a fair chance that lot across town will touch cloth again in the new year anyway.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“My mother worked at a clothes and shoes shop close to our house. The boots I used were borrowed through her, somewhat in secret” – flying Ajax winger Antony tells Eryck Gomes how he owes his career to a pair of pilfered boots, among other things.
“Re: the greatest GOAT of all time and Marten Allen’s missive on his old captain’s For Your FYI (yesterday’s Fiver letters). I am constantly baffled by people asking you to ‘please RSVP’ to an invitation. OK sure, I’ll respond to your invitation, and I’ll add in a short summary on card in the shape of a round circle as to why I have the sad misfortune of having to attend or not. But I digress. This does remind me of that old joke about the ‘department of redundancy department’, although that sounds too much like most government departments” – Leon-Ben Lamprecht.
“Re: JJ Zucal (yesterday’s Fiver letters). ‘I should have read The Fiver’ are six words I absolutely thought I would never read … 2020 just keeps on delivering” – Paul Arnold.
“May I be the first of the 1,057 to point out that Marine have won seven games to get to the FA Cup third round, not just four as you suggest” – Alan Murphy (and 1,056 others).
“I chanced upon this fascinating piece in Big Paper at the weekend on the five common logical fallacies used by conspiracy theorists (special pleading, fake authority, illusory correlations, false equivalence and thought-terminating cliches) and couldn’t help notice the similarity between them and what a certain Premier League manager says” – Noble Francis.
Send your letters to email@example.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our letter o’the day prize is … Leon-Ben Lamprecht, who wins a copy of The Got, Not Got Football Gift Book – Every Fan’s Catalogue of Desires, by Derek Hammond and Gary Silke (postage available to UK only, sorry – Fiver Postal Ed].
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
An outbreak of Covid-19 has forced Newcastle’s entire squad to self-isolate, meaning Friday’s match against Aston Villa will either be postponed or take place with a Magpies team consisting of the cast of Jossy’s Giants plus Ant & Dec, live I’m a Celebrity duties or not.
It’s the Lilywhites v the Lilywhites after eighth-tier Marine landed Spurs in the FA Cup. “It’s an unbelievable draw,” whooped boss Neil Young. “We will plan as best we can. Usually with José [Mourinho]’s teams, he puts pretty strong sides out.”
France’s Stéphanie Frappart will become the first female official to take charge of a men’s Big Cup game when Juventus host Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær says Edinson Cavani’s head will be on their game with PSG and not stuck in the place it presumably was when he did that Instachat post. “The best players can put their problems or the other thoughts away for a while and then perform,” blabbed Solskjær.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea manager Frank Lampard reckons Wayne Rooney’s Derby should become Plain Old John Terry’s Derby. Phew. “I think it’s a great opportunity, if true,” cooed FLCMFL. “And [POJT] will be a hungry, ambitious manager.”
Andy Robertson hates VAR. “A lot of people I have spoken to are not enjoying football as much as they once did,” sighed the Liverpool left-back. “It is important to remember the key values that made us fall in love with it.”
And all hail the Moyesiah! West Ham are up to fifth in the Premier League after beating Aston Villa 2-1.
STILL WANT MORE?
Does Maradona’s greatness really have to stand in opposition to something else, asks Jonathan Liew, while Sid Lowe reckons Lionel Messi’s Newell’s shirt tribute to Diego was personal, pure and symbolic.
Suzy Wrack picks her WSL team of the season so far.
After a decade of decline, Ipswich have lost five of their past eight League One games and Nick Ames can hear alarm bells ringing. Po’ Ambitious Paul!
Football needs to catch up and get its house in order over concussion, writes Sean Ingle.
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