THE HOWARD WEBB SHOW (ALSO FEATURING LIVERPOOL AND EVERTON)
It's the day after the day before which is the day before the day after for FA Cup semi-finalists Liverpool FC. And for the definitive take on yesterday's tumultuous events at Anfield, where else can one turn but to respected journal The Sun? So what's their take on events, then? Why, it's Liverpool's "very own night of the long knives". And there you have it! Getting rid of the club quack, and that young chap with the nice suit and glasses who handed out the vol-au-vents at functions, is broadly comparable to the most infamous murderous purge in history. Well done, my Sun! Thank God for that august record's famed sense of perspective. It's just as well the woman with the asymmetric hair off LFC TV, and the bloke who cleans the traps, are both still clinging on to their jobs, or the paper would have been forced to dust off their Big Book Of Tasteful Pogrom Metaphors and really go to town.
Other news sources are thankfully available, especially as Liverpool's match with national sweethearts Everton at Wembley will be a time to remember the past through a prism of respect and humanity. There will be banners at both ends of the stadium in memorial of Gary Ablett, the only man to win the cup with both teams, who passed away earlier this year. And of course Hillsborough will be close to everyone's thoughts, a day before the 23rd anniversary of the disaster which claimed 96 lives, and impacted on so many others.
"It's going to be very emotive for everybody," said Kenny Dalglish today. "The Evertonians were affected by Hillsborough as well as the Liverpool fans, with family members who never came home. It will be poignant and I'm sure both sets of fans will grace the minute's silence with the dignity they've shown since 1989. The support the Liverpool people have had from Evertonians and vice-versa has been magnificent, and they're a credit to the city with the way they've handled themselves in a dignified manner, and I'm sure that'll continue." Given the pelters Dalglish has been getting all week for being a bit short in a post-match interview to some dude from Sky, it's only fair to remember just how dignified the man has always been while shouldering the burden of Britain's largest sporting disaster.
Unity will of course fly out of the window once Howard Webb blows air out of his whistlehole. Webb is the star attraction of the event, but Liverpool have high hopes for the returning Daniel Agger, who might sort out that defence, while Everton are looking to Nikica Jelavic to make his name in England. "He's got ice running through his veins and nothing bothers him," says his captain Phil Neville. "He missed a sitter against Swansea and scored the next one. He missed one at Sunderland, then he slotted. He doesn't throw his hands around and get upset. It's just like he's playing with his kids in the park."
The Croat has scored four in the last four, though Liverpool also have a man in form in Andy Carroll, who is on a hot streak of one in one. No quotes from Boxer's captain about ice in his veins, your super soaraway Fiver can't help but note, though they probably just haven't come through on the wires yet.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I have known him since he was a little kid. When I brought him into the team at Aberdeen, he was always a very receptive, intelligent young man … we all need a pat on the back at times and Alex has done a remarkable job" – Lord Ferg reminds Alex McLeish who's boss, then patronises him to within an inch of his life.
"On a Radio5 Moneyball special in November 2011 (He's on from 55 or so minutes it's absolutely worth a listen) Damien Comolli was asked 'Can you admit to a mistake?'. His reply? 'Of course I've got one in mind, and he taught me a lesson, I was so obsessed with the stats and the data, and I didn't look at the rest... You can't ignore the human aspects of it." It might just've been quicker to say Andy Carroll' - Gavin Hudson.
"Just a gentle call to arms that I've seen no Fiver piece on 'Arry Redknapp discussing THAT job in an age. In your continuing STOP ENGLISH/ENGLAND MANAGER APPOINTMENT ZZZZZ please prove me wrong in today's edition" - Nigel Byrne.
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BITS AND BOBS
In a break with tradition, Diego Maradona has disagreed with Pele – this time over the world-renowned talent scout's belief that Neymar is better than Lionel Messi. "My god that is just stupid," howled Maradona, with trademark diplomacy.
Younes Kaboul, Ledley King and Niko Kranjcar are all knacked for Spurs's FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea, leaving just William Gallas and Ryan Nelsen – combined age 68 – to face the threat of Fernando Tor … Ah.
Roberto Di Matteo has called for the FA to review its decision-making process, saying that Branislav Ivanovic's Mike Tysoning of Shaun Maloney was not violent conduct. The FA have done well not to ask him if he's serious.
Having cost Sunderland £13m, Asamoah Gyan doesn't feel the need to return from his jaunt in the Middle East, according to manager Martin O'Neill. "You wouldn't really want somebody who is really unwilling to come back to the football club," Woody Allened the Sunderland manager.
Things that have spurted from Robert Mancini's yap today, in a sentence: Uefa are fining City for lateness because they're cash jiggered, Mario Balotelli is a bad man, and it's tough to motivate a team to face Norwich. What's been reported: Mancini cranks up the mind games.
And Rangers directors Andrew Ellis and Dave King have urged club owner Craig Whyte to locate his hook then sling it.
STILL WANT MORE?
Scott Murray knows a failure when he sees one in the mirror, so who better to write the Joy of Six: footballers who won nothing.
David Lacey has written approximately 18,471 pieces in his illustrious career. This may well be the first to include the phrase 'Hairy Bikers'.
We've done approximately 4,912 football galleries in our not remotely illustrious career. This pictorial tale of the five previous Merseyside derbies at Wembley may well be the first to contain a giant milk bottle.
How five-cap wonder Chris Powell has put Charlton on course for the Championship.
It's Friday. It's the Football League Weekender.
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