BELIEVE THE HYPE
With the possible exception of having Weird Uncle Fiver's veteran grundies wafted under our freshly cleansed snout, nothing makes the Fiver recoil as much as a surfeit of hype. We've never been able to watch The Wire, due to the Guardian shoving it in our phizog 25/7 for a three-year period, and we heard so much about this "s3x" at school that we quickly wised up to what an overhyped waste of time that was, oh yeah. Occasionally, however, it's not actually possible to overhype something. Real Madrid v Manchester United is a case in point. This is the game in club football, between two clubs so glamorous that the Fiver is going to wear a tuxedo just to watch tonight's game. Or at least we would if we had a tuxedo, and weren't unable to afford one due to spending the last of the family copper on dames, horses and Tin.
"It's unfortunate we're meeting this early," said Lord Ferg. "I wish it had been at Wembley. But we can't think of failing. We have to get through if we are to win this trophy," he added, showing a peerless comprehension of how knockout football works. "Our team is capable of winning Big Cup. There is a great spirit about them. People keep saying we're not as good as past United teams but then sometimes we get foggy impressions about the past. I do so myself at times. But the reality is this team doesn't know when it is beaten, which is a great quality. I have no doubt in my mind this is the acid test."
The match pits Ferguson, the Godfather, against Daddy, the name that Michael Essien gave Jose Mourinho during yesterday's press conference. "Daddy is smiling, always happy and cheerful, working very hard for the team," he said, as Mourinho slumped in his chair alongside him, unprecedented contempt for everything and everyone written all over his coupon. Mourinho said his next job would be in England, but not as Ferguson's replacement. "No. I don't believe so. I think we have to end our career at the same time. Him at 90 and me at 70," he added with not even a soupcon of a hint of a tinge of a smile. All the while he had the air of a man who wouldn't physically be able to give a solitary one even if he wanted to, which was just fine by him because he didn't give a solitary one anyway. Of course it was all part of Mourinho's magnificent act. Inside he will be as excited as the rest of the world, for one simple reason: it's Real Madrid v Manchester United.
• Join Rob Smyth from 7pm tonight for coverage of Real Madrid 2-2 Manchester United. Meanwhile, Paul Doyle will be covering Shakhtar Donetsk 1-3 Borussia Dortmund from 7.03pm (he'll be slightly later as he'll experience difficulties with the coffee machine on his way to his desk).
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"As the ladies' toilets were packed, I took my girlfriend Derya to the gents. As a result security got involved. That's when the trouble started" – pity poor Hoffenheim midfielder Tobias Weis. Dressed as a caveman, you take your girlfriend to the toilets and the next thing you know you know you're being kicked out of a carnival for "rude" behaviour. Weis and his team-mate Tim Wiese have been disciplined by their club for the incident.
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"There have been plenty of predictable jokes about Harry Redknapp, Peter Odemwingie and Plain Old John Terry throwing their hats in the ring for the Vatican job. With a solid CV of bachelorhood, the aroma of musty wine and [A BIG LEGAL SNIP!], surely bookies are already paying out on Weird Uncle Fiver" – Alistair Drummond.
"Re: Plain Old Joe Ratzinger becoming Chelsea manager (yesterday's letters). He may have much relevant experience for the Chelsea job ... but does Roman Abramovich exist?" – Brendan Mackinney .
If we were accurately keeping your race horse analogy going (Fiver passim) wouldn't it be safer to assume that the Fiver, rather than being Zippy Chippy, would be Lethargic Lasagne or Beggered Burger" – John Myles.
Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you've nothing better to do you can also tweet the Fiver. And to placate certain readers, the Fiver awards prizeless Fiver letter o' the day goes to: Alistair Drummond.
JOIN GUARDIAN SOULMATES
We keep trying to point out the utter futility of advertising an online dating service "for interesting people" in the Fiver to the naive folk who run Guardian Soulmates, but they still aren't having any of it. So here you go – sign up here to view profiles of the kind of erudite, sociable and friendly romantics who would never dream of going out with you.
BITS AND BOBS
Czech fans of chest thumping and lionhearted grit are in for a treat: Plain Old JT has travelled with Chelsea to Prague for Thursday's Big Vase match despite missing their win over Wigan due to a knee injury.
A 53-year-old man has been charged in connection with allegations of racist abuse aimed at the Leeds striker El Hadji Diouf.
Preston North End, hovering just north of the League One relegation zone, have confirmed they have parted company with their manager Graham Westley. "I have never walked away from anything in my life and don't expect me to," said Wesley as he walked towards the car park rather than away from his office.
STILL WANT MORE?
When did city rivals last play at home on the same day? The Knowledge has the answer.
The Queen's Celtic may have gone down against Juventus but at least they went down scrapping, says Ewan Murray.
Not strictly speaking Fiver territory but well-worth checking out here's artist Oliver Laric's brilliant collection of basketball-manga face-offs.
Daniel Taylor joins Lord Ferg who is in surprisingly chipper form ahead of tonight's game in Madrid and then in turn is joined by you, the great unwashed.
While Marina Hyde really isn't buying that Lord Ferg - Special One love-in that has been doing the rounds lately.