England have been handed a two-match stadium ban by Uefa – with one of those suspended for two years – over the chaotic and violent scenes at Wembley around the Euro Not 2020 final. Here’s the latest story.
CHANGING THEIR TOON
“The truth is, David, I’m not sure football fans – the majority – really care who owns their club,” said Jamie Redknapp on Sunday afternoon, responding to a question posed by David Jones, the Sky Sports anchor and one-time Company magazine North East Bachelor of the Year. Jamie was standing pitchside at St James’ Park, a stadium that would soon be jam-packed to the rafters with Newcastle fans who have cared loudly and at great length about who owns their club for more than a decade.
In fairness to Jamie, it’s probably safe to assume that what he actually meant is that the majority of football fans don’t care who owns their club as long as the proprietors in question have deep pockets in their robes and are prepared to hose money at it, rather than some tight-fisted one who treats them, their stadium and the team that calls it home with barely concealed contempt. Such largesse can help cover a multitude of sins and while Newcastle fans were commendably quick to protest against the lack of moral fortitude of an owner willing to take the advertising dime of an unscrupulous payday loan company, events in St James’ Park on Sunday suggested a good number are prepared to look past far worse atrocities perpetrated by an even more unsavoury tyrant who might buy them success.
Anyway, back to Jamie. “I think if you were going to go into the business dealings of a lot of the Premier League owners, we might not even have a league,” he continued, apparently oblivious to the fact that we almost certainly would have a league, albeit one with a functioning test for fit and proper owners that might have weeded out some of the more unsavoury charlatans who have been blithely given the green light and waved through since top-flight football was invented back in 1992.
While a cynic could be forgiven for thinking Jamie’s robust defence of the new Newcastle regime was in some way connected to his close personal friendship with the club’s new minority shareholder Jamie Reuben, he was stating the blindingly obvious when he said the club’s fans are “so excited” by the adventure that lies ahead. Some went so far as to showcase their excitement by donning Saudi Arabian robes and homemade keffiyehs, all the better to extend an obsequiously warm pre-match welcome to their new non-executive suit Yasir al-Rumayyan, who was in the ground representing their new Saudi overlords. Surfing to the pitch on a tidal wave of enthusiasm, the home side sparked scenes of jubilation by taking an early lead, only to have their old frailties under a manager in the unenviable position of being caretaker of his own job horribly exposed. On what was supposed to mark a brave new dawn for Newcastle United Football Club, the Sports Direct signs, on-field ineptitude and calls of “Bruce out!” suggested very little had actually changed.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It was an unfortunate incident that happens in football. We don’t have any unrest in the dressing room, definitely not. Aaron put his hand up and apologised, he admitted his actions were unacceptable … I don’t want to blow it up into a major incident” – Glentoran manager Mick McDermott responds after his keeper Aaron McCarey was sent off for taking out teammate Bobby Burns in the wake of Coleraine’s equaliser in their 2-2 draw.
“Re: thrashings (Fiver letters passim). I had one of those Sunday teams with my mates that you run because you all can’t get a game otherwise. An 11-0 thumping was just a Sunday’s work to us, because there were good reasons we didn’t get a game elsewhere. But we were happy until one mismatched cup game, at about 22-0, the opposition decided to take the pi$$ by having their keeper try to score, not by swapping him with a striker, but by him roaming out of goal like some fat Bradford Higuita. Suddenly, we developed some pathetic idea about ‘disrespect’, and we determined he would not score. The game degenerated into a bad-tempered sham, they’d pass up clear chances at goal to play in their keeper, who was being followed around by 10 oafs. At 80-odd minutes he rose for a corner but crashed a header against the post. We celebrated ludicrously right in their faces, there was your standard Sunday League Touchline Fracas and the ref wisely blew for full-time. I’d been subbed off as not good enough even for that farce, it was my ‘Gary Neville on the Toilet’ moment, I knew I’d never play again. I’d been often outplayed by guys as dumb as a post, but never before by the actual post” – Jon Millard.
“Decades ago, many of my relations worked long and hard shifts – up to 12 hours – in industry. They were shift workers. Nowadays so many commentators and their sidekicks tell us that particular footballers ‘have put a shift in’. Oh yeah, 90 minutes. Do any other readers get annoyed at similar verbal misuse?” – Peter Clarke.
Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Jon Millard.
Football Weekly is hot out of the box.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
A doctor who performed CPR and helped save a stricken Newcastle fan during the game against Spurs has been hailed as a hero. “This wasn’t just me,” he said. “I had another doctor friend helping me out. St John’s [Ambulance] were brilliant, the Newcastle club doctor was there helping.”
Norwich keeper Dan Barden, who is on loan at Livingston, has been diagnosed with testicular cancer and will be taking a break from football. “The positive thing is that we’ve caught it early and the prognosis and next steps have all been positive,” he said.
Fans escaped injury after a section of the stand at NEC Nijmegen’s Goffert Stadium collapsed under the weight of celebrating AZ Alkmaar fans after their 1-0 win.
Arsène Wenger won’t let this World Cup nonsense lie, so he’s meeting with national team managers to try to get them on board.
And from the Fun and Games in North America Dept: Pittsburgh Riverhounds are still trying to work out how this was awarded as a corner kick to them rather than the own goal it was by Miami FC in a USL Championship stalemate.
STILL WANT MORE?
Jonathan Liew was on Tyneside for an emotional afternoon of unspeakable strangeness.
It’s not purely hot chat about the current Premier League standings, but 10 talking points about the weekend’s action.
Suzanne Wrack picks over the WSL season so far.
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