IN DEFENCE OF POJT
The Fiver doesn't usually have any problems when it comes to shooting fish in a barrel. In fact, when the Fiver normally hears that a group of piscine critters have floated into sight it picks up its blunderbuss and has scales in its crosshairs before you can say "large cod and chips". And so we find ourselves in a rather confusing position today with a particularly whopping catch having sploshed its way into our big ol' barrel o' news: Plain Old John Terry, you see, despite being ruled out of Chelsea's Big Vase final against Benfica tonight, will join Frank Lampard on the podium to lift the trophy if Chelsea win in Amsterdam.
We could make the obvious gag about him running about in his pristine full kit like a small boy on Christmas morning as his banjaxed team-mates who have just spent 90 minutes chasing the Portuguese champions round the pitch try to summon the energy for a pogo. We could chuckle at the thought of him donning his shin pads for the occasion. We could marvel at the medical mystery that seems to have led to the captain's armband being surgically grafted to Terry's upper arm and yet still managing to appear on top of whatever shirt he is wearing. We could do all that (and we want to. Oh, how we want to) but on this occasion our trigger finger paused even as the great guppy-faced yawping fish-mouth hoved into view.
This time POJT has probably got a case. He has, after all, captained the side in six of their eight Big Vase games this season. In fact, because he's no longer first-choice in the Premier League, the Big Vase has accounted for nearly a quarter of all his games for the club this season. Anyone else, any other club, and you wouldn't raise an eyebrow. Gary Caldwell, for example, John Terryed all over Wigan's FA Cup celebrations at the weekend. You might even think it a Nice Thing To Do, in the manner of letting a child put the hundreds and thousands on top of a cake, or turning a blind eye as an elderly relative cheats at Scrabble.
So, you know, think on. Now please excuse the Fiver as we head off for a hot shower. A very, very hot shower. In turpentine. With a loofer made from old cheese graters. And a blowtorch.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"One thing I made clear was that my passion and commitment to represent my country is as strong as ever. It is disappointing that I won't be able to play a part in the upcoming games but I told [Mr] Roy that I want to continue to be available for England and I look forward to working with him in the future" – Rio Ferdinand, 18 March 2013.
"I have decided the time is right for me to retire from international football" – Rio Ferdinand, 15 May 2013.
"Regarding Stephen Aziz's Quote of the Day from yesterday's Fiver, it is slightly ironic that someone who is employed to ensure a group of men look as immaculately turned out as possible can criticise the vanity of a former colleague" – Tom Hooper.
"Is Stephen Aziz's entertaining rant the first example of a kit man airing a former club's dirty laundry in public? No doubt Mancini's riposte will be to point out the lack of clean sheets at Sunderland since last summer" – Justin Kavanagh.
"Does Roberto Martínez really think that the conflict between Wigan and Arsenal featured 'two teams with similar ideologies?' (yesterday's Fiver). This seems a high level of analysis, even given Martínez and Wenger's reputations as the biggest brains in English football. Other historic conflicts between 'two teams with similar ideologies' don't always end well. Henry Kissinger said that the difference between Zhou En-Lai and Mao was that 'Mao thought of himself as a philosopher; Zhou saw his role as an administrator or a negotiator'. Certainly Wenger fits the self-imagined philosopher role (with a cult of personality to boot), but not sure Martínez fancies himself a mere administrator. And then there's always the struggle between the two ancient St Petersburg Bolshevik teams, with rival managers Lenin and Trotsky, 'two teams with similar ideologies'. Look out for the ice pick in the skull, Roberto!" – Rick McGahey.
"I noticed you slipped this into your U21 squad list yesterday: 'Wisdom (Liverpool)'. Ha! Who said you don't get any good jokes in the Fiver any more?" – Robert Heath.
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BITS AND BOBS
QPR's Loïc Rémy, a cousin and a friend have been arrested on suspicion of r@pe after a woman in her 30s made a complaint to police.
Bayern Munich have scoffed at the idea of signing Wayne Rooney. "I don't know what Rooney would bring," sniffed their sporting director Matthias Sammer. "I can't answer that." Step forward, then, Mike Ashley's Newcastle. Maybe.
Sky fatcats are slavering over the idea of a Super Sunday spin-off: if Arsenal beat Newcastle 2-1 and Chelsea draw 0-0 with Everton on the final day of the season, there'll be a play-off for third place.
Lyon have offered to replay their women's French Cup semi-final against Montpellier after a thunderous gaffe – the referee failing to spot Montpellier's crucial penalty shootout spot-kick had gone in. "We do this for reasons of fair play," Lyon said.
And Swiss broadcaster SRF has fessed up to adding fake crowd noise to its highlights of Saturday's Grasshoppers v FC Zurich game, played during a fans' boycott: "We did it to make the report as attractive as possible ... It was wrong, we apologise."
STILL WANT MORE?
Paolo Di Canio and Alan Pardew are two misunderstood gaffers who are bound to come good, reckons Louise Taylor.
Life for Wigan after Roberto Martínez would be no life at all, says Paul Wilson.
Marina Hyde unloads on the dreary, Bunterish pomposity of football's punditocracy.
Franck Leboeuf's mullet and Thierry Henry's moustache feature in this week's Beautiful Games gallery: old school Panini stickers.
Brighton fans! When is it acceptable to leave a football match early? The Guardian Sport Network knows.
And if you're worried about whether a league's lowest scoring team has ever won the title, thank heavens for this week's Knowledge.
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