A RESERVOIR OF TALENT SHALLOWER THAN A CONVERSATION ON CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER
The Fiver is not renowned for its love of FA blazers, but we've always liked Greg Dyke's style. The kind of cool uncle the Fiver would have chosen over the disgusting weird one we've been saddled with since birth, Dyke is unique among FA chairman in that he seems like a fun guy. Bawdy Greg, Last Orders Greg, Furtive Smoke In The Car Park Greg, Throaty Guffaw Greg. In a world of humourless, droning, largely useless English football administrators, the new FA chairman seems like the kind of upbeat go-getter who might actually Get Things Done. After all, who could forget that time as ITV chief executive, he … er, schemed on behalf of a breakaway league in a move that had disastrous consequences for the confederacy of dunces he now chairs.
Today the new FA chairman issued a stirring cri de coeur, urging English football to get behind the national team at a time when the reservoir of homegrown talent from which manager Mr Roy has to pick couldn't be more shallow unless it was a conversation about small puddles between Courtney Stodden and Sophie Anderton on Celebrity Big Brother. His aim is clearly to fire the England football team back towards the dizzy trophy-laden heights it scaled in the 1970s and 1980s, before the stampede of Johnny Foreigners chasing Premier League coin threw a spanner in the works.
Considering nobody in charge of the Premier League could give less of a hoot about the England football team if they were an owl with laryngitis and the FA have already built "state-of-the-art" football development facilities (two hotels, some football pitches and an isokinetic dynamometer) in Staffordshire, it's difficult to know what else they can do to increase England's chances of winning something, short of hot-housing toddlers China-style or – even more radically – employing coaches to teach children to pass a football from A to B.
But Greg remains optimistic and that's why we love him. "The two targets I have for the England team are – one, to at least reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020," said Dyke, addressing a room-full of football journalists who would normally laugh uproariously at anything even resembling a press conference gag, but maintained admirably straight faces upon hearing that. And target No2? "Win the World Cup in 2022," added Greg, to stony silence, resisting the urge to look quizzically at his microphone and ask "is this thing on?"
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"They didn't have a good night and they weren't able to train well" – Venezuela coach Cesar Farias emerges from the carnage of his team's hotel to reveal that 20 of his squad have been struck down by gastroenteraaaaaggggghhhh!tis before their potentially decisive World Cup qualifier with Chile.
"Vinnie [Jones] is being fleeced by those Hollywood prices (yesterday's Quote of the Day). If he takes a 20 minute trip down I-405, he can get a bottle of Ribena for a mere $8 at my local Fresh N Easy in San Pedro. Crunchies are only $1.49 as well" – Ben Graham.
"Throughout yesterday I kept thinking Mesut Ozil looked like somebody but I couldn't think who. Just got it: the late French actress Pascale Ogier. Really" – Philip Johnson.
"I know it is not timely, but just wanted to commend the person who characterized the Liverpool IT department (Fiver passim) as a VIC-20. That individual could have gone with the venerable Commodore 64, but no – he chose the feisty VIC-20. These subtle touches are the reason I continue to let The Fiver spam my inbox" – Chaz Rice.
"Re: player nicknames (Fiver passim) Kiki 'Chris' Musampa and 'One Size' Fitz Hall are trumped by former Everton legend Neil 'Dissa' Pointon" – Simon Frank.
"I have also been away, in Pedants' Corner but am interested to hear that Joey Barton has moved yet again (yesterday's letters), this time it appears to West Ham" – Brent Ford (and no others).
• Send your letters to email@example.com. Also, if you've nothing better to do, you can tweet the Fiver. Today's winner of our prizeless letter o' the day prize is: Philip Johnson.
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BITS AND BOBS
Joachim Löw almost creased his immaculate shirt when he heard that Real Madrid had sold Mesut Ozil to Arsenal. "For me, it's incomprehensible that Real would sell one of their top scorers," he yelped.
Ian Holloway has been fined £18,000 and banned for two matches for his sweary antics after Crystal Palace's 1-0 defeat to Spurs. "Ian Holloway will serve a two-match touchline suspension with immediate effect," confirmed an FA suit.
Phil Bardsley has apologised for saying "Great opening day. Hahahhahaha hahahhaha!!!" on Instagram after Sunderland's 1-0 defeat to Fulham and will now be allowed entry back into Paolo Di Canio's boot camp.
And Theo Walcott has revealed the extent of the gory head-knack that has ruled Wayne Rooney out of England's World Cup qualifiers. "It is a very big gash. It is not a nice sight, to be honest. It is not going to help his looks, I wouldn't think. It's not very nice to see. It's like something out of a horror film."
STILL WANT MORE?
Michael Butler is a fan of colourful trainers, trendy glasses and east Lancashire pubs. What he isn't a fan of is the Premier League's obsession with 'undisclosed fees'.
Bundesliga clubs were efficient as ever in the transfer window unlike the wrong-side-of-the-road-two-taps-on-the-sink bonkers English lot. And Henrikh Mkhitaryan is proof of this, reckons Raphael Honigstein.
Cake? Check. Coffee? Check? Al fresco AC Jimbo? Check. It's a European papers review transfer special video.
There are still places available for the next of Big Paper/Website's 'How to be a football journalist' masterclasses on 29 September. If you're interested, you can sign up here.