JADED AFTER 15 YEARS? NOT US, NO MA'AM, NO SIR, NOPE
The Fiver is getting on a bit now - we're 15 years old, reader, and yes this is fast becoming a tragically undignified state of affairs, but there's no point kicking folk when they're down - but despite our advancing age we do still try our best to keep up with the modern world. We've got a gramophone that plays electrical stereophonic recordings in the new 162⁄3, 331⁄3 and 45 rpm formats. Our television transmits pictures in full living Technicolor, with an extra button spare for when the fourth channel arrives. We've ditched the stovepipe hat for a more contemporary bowler. And we've got ourselves hopelessly addicted to crack cocaine, just like all of your kids. But ultimately a doddery old fool, no matter how hard they try, is inevitably going to be found lagging behind the pack at some point. And the Fiver simply can't get with these young football hipsters they have today, we've all seen them, who are able to kid themselves that every other 0-0 has represented the apex of sophisticated entertainment.
The Fiver isn't having it. Take last night's goalless draw between Spain, the reigning world and European champions, and Italy, who try their best, in the Confederations Cup. It was mildly diverting, but to read some of the reports afterwards you'd think we'd just witnessed Hungary and Uruguay face off in the 1954 World Cup semi, only this time in full living Technicolor while on crack cocaine. All the Fiver saw was a few half-decent passing moves interspersed with a cavalcade of ineptitude in front of goal. Still, well done to everyone except poor old Leonardo Bonucci for scoring a penalty, another act contemporary mores demand is now rewarded with an overwhelmed jig by us, the grateful peon rank and file, even though nobody exactly roofed one like Graeme Souness in the 1984 Big Cup final or anything. Some would say standards are slipping in international football and that everyone's in thundering denial, but we're sure the Fiver's glazed expression is simply the result of our own rank stupidity and resulting inability to process the tactical brilliance unfolding in front of our flabbergasted slack-jawed coupon.
Turns out the real action was going on outside the stadium in Fortaleza anyway, where 5,000 anti-corruption protesters were going about their business quietly, until the bobbies turned up and started randomly pinging rubber bullets off their noggins before finishing everyone off with tear gas. The protesters, who had been outrageously demanding that some of their tax money be spent on schools and hospitals instead of being stuffed into one of those supermarket suction tubes and wheeched off into Fifa's trousers, now plan to conclude two weeks' worth of staunch mobilisation with a mega demo in Rio before the final between Brazil and Spain Nil on Sunday night. Precedent suggests that what happens on the streets will make more waves around the world than whatever unfolds inside the Maracana.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"The two things that I can bring to the club are experience and the quality of my play. These are certainly the most important things" - Carlos Tevez sells himself short by failing to mention the many other things he can bring to Juventus: impromptu bench-tantrums, a penchant for unannounced three-month mid-season golf holidays in Buenos Aires and the thick end of 250 hours Community Service that still has to be completed ... in England.
"Dear God, I hope I am the only one whose life is so empty that I feel the need to write in to point out that contrary to Thursday's Still Want More? section the suits worn by Liverpool in the 1995 Cup Final were cream not white. I'm 51, FFS. Why oh why do I feel this is important?" - John Stainton (and nobody else whose life is so empty they feel the need to etc, and so on).
"Is this how The Fiver is earning its Tin money?" - Ian Hutchinson.
"Re: figuring out how Macclesfield can make millions by only fielding supporters for £20,000 a time (Fivers passim). I see what you are trying to do. I read James O'Donoghues letter and then your own dodgy maths calculation and immediately opened Excel to begin constructing my own formula. I got to 20,000 x 11(players) x 9 (10 minute spells), at which point I stopped to ponder the amount of injury time, what league this was in, the number of subs, consideration as to whether completion of a whole 10 minutes was needed for full payment of £20,000 and then realised that to continue down this path (in all likelihood along with 1,056 other pedants) would serve only to ruin my weekend. I will not be draw into your cunning plan to STOP WEEKENDS" - Chris Harrison (and no other pedants).
JOIN GUARDIAN SOULMATES
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BITS AND BOBS
A life of double-training sessions, no booze, lengthy rants in Italian and not lying around on casino floors covered in £50 notes awaits Tom Huddlestone if talk linking the Spurs midfielder with an imminent move to Sunderland prove to be on the money.
Ahmed Elmohamady will have to endure no such hardship, having made his loan move from Sunderland to Hull permanent and signed for Steve Bruce's considerably less spartan regime on a three-year deal.
Djinkin' Djibril Cissé has left Queens Park Rangers by mutual consent, despite having one year left on his big fat contract. The Fiver's at a loss to know who's consent was more mutual in this one, if we're honest.
Everton have rejected Manchester United's offer of £12m for left-back Leighton Baines, but talk on Merseyside suggests they'll take £20m for the 28-year-old who looks like he should be playing lead guitar or at least shaking a tamborine for Arctic Monkeys on Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage tonight.
Blackeye Rovers have cancelled the contract of Portugal international Nuno Gomes by mutual consent, which came as big news to the Fiver, who had no idea Portugal international Nuno Gomes had signed for Blackeye Rovers.
Ian Harte has signed for Bournemouth on a one-year deal, having been released by Reading at the end of the season. "He's impressed me since he was playing for Leeds," said Cherries gaffer Eddie Howe, who clearly didn't think much of the Irishman's formative years playing for St. Kevins in Dublin.
There's a rumour doing the rounds that Paul Ince has offered to resign his position as Guv'nor of Blackpool, but the Fiver neither cares nor is well connected enough to find out if it's true.
And in Scotland, the Euro Disnae League and the Scottish Fitbaw League have agreed to merge after a marathon meeting that lasted 15 hours and probably consisted of a lot of men who sound like Groundskeeper Willie in The Simpsons shouting at each other a lot.
STILL WANT MORE?
Identify the retro football computer game from the graphic in this lovingly compiled quiz by Merseyside's own Gregg Bakowski.
In Not Football: rather than scour the city's fast food retail outlets for rogue Australian international rugby players, Andy Bull spent his night in Melbourne getting a wee bit chippy with a couple of annoying know-alls in a webchat. Here's how it went down.
Remember Paolo Bandini? Writes about Serie A, got too big for his boots, went off to live in the American mid-west and write a biography of some Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper from Denmark that you've never heard of? Here's an extract from that very tome.
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