AND THE AWARD FOR BEST FOOTBALL TEAM IN A LEAGUE CUP FINAL GOES TO …
While Seth MacFarlane has been universally panned for his efforts as host of last night's Oscar ceremony, it should come as no surprise that here at Fiver Towers we think he did a very fine job indeed. Smug self-satisfaction? Tick. Occasional moments of wanton self indulgence? Tick. A following comprised largely of immature man-boys? Tick. Poor timing? Tick. Often unfunny jokes of questionable taste? Tick. On the plus side, at least nobody was hurt when Seth went down in flames, whereas that meteorite in the Urals injured over 1,000 people. Yep, a topical gag there that might have rescued Mr MacFarlane from his mid-ceremony slump, if only he hadn't been too proud to reach out to the world's most tea-timely football email for help.
On the subject of self-congratulatory back-slapping, watching last night's Academy Awards, the Fiver was struck by how much the Oscars and yesterday's Rumbelow's Cup final had in common, even if Daniel Day-Lewis winning Best Actor meant we weren't treated to the sight of the famous method actor effing and jeffing while selfishly trying to wrestle the statuette out of a smirking colleague's grasp because he was on a hat-trick.
"I had two goals and it's not every day you get the chance for a hat-trick at Wembley so I wanted the third but I didn't get the chance and that was that," said Chris Rock doppelganger and Swansea striker Nathan Dyer, talking about the mini-tantrum he threw when Jonathan de Guzman refused to let him take the penalty, in comic scenes which added to the gaiety of an already splendid occasion.
No, it was in the Best Actress category in which the admittedly tenuous similarities between the Oscars and the Milk Cup final became apparent. On the one hand, we had Emmanuelle Riva, the Bradford of the piece: an institution who has seen better days, not in the rudest of health and in the Big Smoke after travelling a long way. Undoubtedly the underdog, everyone was rooting for Emmanuelle Riva.
But then on the other hand, there was Jennifer Lawrence, the Swansea City of the piece: dressed in white, Lawrence is pleasant on the eye, always entertaining and a genuinely down-to-earth crowd-pleaser. Unlikely to threaten the Big Four hegemony of Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Sigourney Weaver or Charlize Theron any time soon, she complains about being hungry, laughs off questions about her frock and trips over her own feet. Everyone likes Jennifer Lawrence.
"What they have done this season is absolutely outstanding and I think this final this year will remain in history, a small part because of us and a large part because of Bradford," said Swansea manager Michael Laudrup, helpfully stepping in to rescue us from what could be the first of many very tortured analogies this week. In hindsight comparing the Oscars to the Littlewoods Cup final wasn't a particularly cunning plan, but to paraphrase Argo's Tony Mendez, it was the best bad idea we had by far.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"The more often the players go knocking on doors, the higher the chances of them becoming familiar with residents. Who knows, they may become curious and decide to watch a game or two" – Balestier Khalsa chairman S Thavaneson explains why the Singapore S.League team's players are being made to go door-to-door in a bid to drum up a fan base.
"Clive Allen's Zlatan pronunciation attempts last night" – Glenn Weston.
"Opened my inbox this evening to see this communication from my team. It seems somehow appropriate after the past week" – Mat Owen.
"On the subject of celebrity Villa fans (Fiver letters passim), David Cameron, according to David Cameron, is not a football fan. He made that quite clear in this speech in 2001. He confessed he wasn't a lawyer either if anyone's interested" – Dan Ashley.
"Just for the sake of it, and because I've had a bad morning, I shall found a new club called AAAAAAAAA Aardvark FC, with loads of good players, and get them into the Premier League. This will ensure Arsenal get picked as the Premier League's second listed team by people like Tom Hanks, instead of Aston Villa. (And Aldershot Town can do one: I was here first. Go you Aardvarks.)" – Jon Kirby.
"Re: Friday's last line ('If the Fiver went on strike, would anybody notice?'). If a tree falls in the woods and there's no one around to hear it, does it riff on what music football teams sound like and notable Aston Villa fans?" – Andrew James.
• Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, 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 to: Glenn Weston.
JOIN GUARDIAN SOULMATES
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BITS AND BOBS
Following FC Twente's 2-1 defeat to Heerenveen, Shecond Shoish Shteve has been given a vote of confidensh by his chairman Joop Munsterman.
Mario Balotelli's time in Italy now reads: four games, four goals and three racism storms as Inter face a fine over alleged abusive chanting during the Milan derby on Sunday.
Tabloid newspapers looking for a cheap scapegoat when England go out of Brazil 2014 to a dubious goal will be cheered by the news they will have an old favourite to blame. A German firm has become the third to be licensed to provide goalline technology.
Fans of 17-year-old FA Cup semi-finals may have to get their kicks elsewhere next season after BT Vision announced plans to buy ESPN's UK and Ireland channels but to close down ESPN Classic. "Try talking to ladies instead," a spokesman didn't tell distraught fans.
Sergio Agüero says he wants to stay at Manchester City for a long time. "I keep a symbiotic relationship with the fans," he said, as unscrupulous hacks wondered if they could twist his words into: 'Agüero … brands … fans … parasites'.
Sammy Ameobi will now be belting them into the stands for Middlesbrough having signed a loan deal to join the club from Newcastle until the end of the season.
Fifty-eight Chinese players and officials have been handed worldwide bans, 33 of them for life, after widespread corruption, bribery and match-fixing during the 1990s and 2000s was discovered.
And Gennaro Gattuso has been appointed player-coach of FC Sion, the club's fourth appointment of the season. "Until further notice, the players will manage their activities themselves," sniffed a club statement.
Most. Pointless. Save. Ever?
STILL WANT MORE?
Sean Ingle has a big blackboard at home on which he works out loads of dead hard maths problems for fun. He also uses it for writing his weekly column, which you can read by clicking here.
In contrast to Sean, Michael Cox has a whiteboard at home which he uses to work out dead hard tactical problems and write his weekly column.
We don't know if Paolo Bandini has any black or white boards in his fancy house in the US of A, as we have never been invited over. What we do know is that he has filed another stellar installment in his Serie A series.
Sid Lowe had a tear in his eye when filing this week's blog after he witnessed Real Sociedad savour an emotional triumph in the last ever Basque derby at San Mamés.
And our crack team of writers have put together 10 talking points from the weekend's cup and league action which you can pass off as your own knowledge while lounging with the lads and ladies in the local later on.