ALL BACK TO POPE’S
It was a super Sunday for the Queen’s Celtic, as far as The Fiver can make out. Their latest dismal attempt to convert any, just one, of a bucketload of gilt-edged chances, this time at Dundee United, means they’ll be spared the ignominy of the Pope’s Newc O’Rangers securing the title and gambolling like giddy goats at Parkhead in a fortnight’s time. But if that wasn’t enough cause for celebration, Sunday’s result also rubber-stamped the club’s failure to erase the greatest team in the history of Scottish football from the record books by surpassing their nine in a row. Hats off to $tevie Mbe for ensuring that Jock Stein’s legends remain in the pantheon. A belated nod to Wim Jansen, too, come to think about it.
Obviously the club’s fans won’t be completely c0ck-a-hoop, given the unintended consequence of all this is party time at the Big House, which is now once again open for business. All back to Pope’s! But every cloud, and all that. And to be fair, O’Rangers’ 55th title, or their first if you’re one of those crashing bores, is some achievement, when you consider that while Celtic were making hay, the Light Blues were spending the best part of a decade failing to win Challenge Cup finals and losing at home to the likes of Annan Athletic. Truly this has been a comeback for the ages.
The sheer magnitude of their title win has inevitably found some supporters getting a wee bit carried away. Large numbers of galoots congregated outside Ibrox on Saturday, to hear the team all but secure the title by skelping St Mirren 3-0 and witness their manager hanging halfway out of a bog window. These buffoons turned up again on Sunday, and also crammed themselves into George Square in town, all the while raising concerns about the old pandemic, and giving first minister Nicola Sturgeon (“it’s infuriating and disgraceful”) the chance to grab some rare media attention.
All pretty bad, though most egregious of all was the plane commissioned by fans to fly over Tannadice trailing some trolling. This sort of unconscionably naff nonsense was also spotted on Sunday over the home of 2022-23 promotion challengers Liverpool, and it has to stop. To this end, The Fiver is launching a BAN BANNER B@NTER campaign, though as yet we can’t think of a good way to publicise it that doesn’t open us up to accusations of gross hypocrisy or undermine the credibility of our message.
LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE!
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I hope one day we don’t have to have special days and every single day is International Women’s Day” – former England international Claire Rafferty talks about her role at Lewes FC, the club with equal investment in their women’s and men’s teams.
“The Pope’s Newc O’Rangers and the Queen’s Celtic (Thursday’s Fiver)? Really? Are you trying to be funny or just thick? Why does every article you write have derogatory names for the Old Firm … sectarian bile. What a [snip – Fiver Bad Word Ed]. In what planet is the Pope associated with the Gers and the Queen of England with Celtic? Every article! Not funny. Sound like someone English trying and failing to be knowledgeable about Scottish sport. Patronising [snip – FBWE]. Give up!” – NE.
“Re: Friday’s Quote of the Day. Surely Steve Bruce’s past as a crime writer makes him the ideal person to find whoever has been leaking things to the media?” – Stuart Gillespie.
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 is … NE Stuart Gillespie, who wins a copy of From the Jaws of Victory. We’ve more to give away [UK only, apologies – Fiver Postal Ed], and you can also enter promo code FIVER and get 15% off and free shipping.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Jürgen Klopp isn’t having suggestions that his Mentality Mites weren’t as hungry for the win as Fulham as LLLLLLiverpool lost another home game. “Believe me these boys want to win,” he honked. “We still made mistakes and that’s the problem.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is glad his brave Manchester United boys put their bodies on the line during the 2-0 defeat of Manchester City. “We suffered a lot, the players worked their nuts off,” he grimaced. “The experience of having gone through that [can] help us of course [in future].”
Joan Laporta will begin a second stint as Barça bigwig after winning Big Vote. “Seeing Leo [Messi] go to vote, the best player in the world, voting with his son, for me, this shows … that Leo loves Barça, that we are all a big family,” cooed Laporta, impressively stroking two egos in one bit of chat.
José Mourinho (Psy.D) reckons the work he has done on Gareth Bale’s mind has made him good at football again. “I found psychological scars,” he diagnosed. “There is a moment where that psychological barrier has to be broken. And he broke it.”
And Portugal’s national coaches’ union wants Sporting manager Rúben Amorim suspended for up to six years because he’s not qualified to be a head coach. Their top-of-the-table position suggests otherwise. Sporting described the situation as “one of the most regrettable and surreal episodes in the history of Portuguese football”.
STILL WANT MORE?
“It’s incomparable”: fans of the Pope’s Newc O’Rangers celebrate their league title, hail hail $tevie and are now #goingfor56. Ewan Murray reports.
When it comes to a battle of Manchester’s giants, Ole’s Big Red continues to have Big Blue’s number and that might spell future problems for Pep, posits floating brain in a jar Jonathan Wilson.
Anything Erling Haaland could do was bettered by Robert Lewandowski in Der Klassiker, as Andy Brassell reports.
So Solid Sid Lowe on 29 seconds of the Madrid derby.
Álvaro Morata once again answered Juventus’s call in providing a useful alternative to Cristiano Ronaldo, explains Nicky Bandini.
1-2-3-4-5-6-8-9-10 talking points from the weekend’s Premier League.
Manchester City kept up the pressure on Chelsea while Manchester United bounced back. Rachel Brown-Finnis delivers her verdict on the latest WSL matches.
Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!