The Fiver | It sure feels like forever since we watched … the Primeira Liga

By on June 3, 2020


TO PORTUGAL!

Like an exasperated reader, a terrible thought struck The Fiver today. Big Website and lots of Sworn-at Enemies have been using the recent suspension of football to go all retro, serving up deep-frozen takes on fascinating events from the past: and we have been missing that trick all along! So let’s right that wrong right now. All aboard for a trip down memory lane as we recall Great Fivers of Yesteryear! Woo-hoo!

Erm …

Yes.

Well.

The thing is …

Oh, look! Gil Vicente [subs note: check spelling] are playing at Portimonense [check existence of] today! Woo-hoo! The Portuguese league is back, baby!

Boy, it sure feels like forever since The Fiver last watched a match from the … [tap, tap, tap] … Primeira Liga. In fact, Portugal’s top flight has been on pause since 12 March and its resumption will take place amid safety controls said to be stringent. Matches will, of course, take place behind closed doors. “Without fans there will be a lack of condiments,” belched Porto manager Sérgio Conceição as he cooked up the sort of convoluted metaphor that could be read as a come-and-get-me plea to The Fiver. “Eating a salad without oil or vinegar is not the same,” he continued. “But if we are hungry, we have to eat anyway.”

Porto, league leaders by one point, are also in action, away to Famalicão [also check existence of]. Despite fears of supporters congregating around stadiums, several clubs have objected to the league’s proposal to allow matches to be screened for free on TV – Benfica president Luís Filipe Vieira declared himself “outraged” at the attempt to get politicians’ backing for that wheeze. So Porto ultras have vowed to travel to their team’s match to stand around outside the stadium while observing social distancing and, no doubt, staring at score updates on some Big Website. 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I knew straight away that I had to come out and apologise myself, which I wanted to do; I didn’t want to hide behind a club statement. I am old enough now and mature enough to know that I’d done wrong. I know I am a footballer but I’m still human and we all make mistakes” – Jack Grealish gets his chat on over that lockdown breach.



Jack Grealish before getting his chat on. Photograph: Neville Williams/Aston Villa

RECOMMENDED LISTENING

The latest Football Weekly podcast is right here, while there’s also another Forgotten Story of Football: part one of Abraham Klein, “the master of the whistle”.

Forgotten Stories of Football

Abraham Klein, the ‘master of the whistle’: part one

FIVER LETTERS

“At this time when all the discussion and attention is on Premier League football, please spare a thought for grassroots kids’ football. Not only was the season cut short but the traditional end-of-season tournaments have also been cancelled. These are usually great fun for the kids but also major fundraisers for the clubs – most of which are run by volunteers on non-profit basis. The club I’m involved in, Goldsworth Park Rangers, has 600 boys and girls between U-6s and U-18s, and is holding a virtual stay-at-home event, with all kids being sponsored to score a total of 2020 penalties per team. Half of the money raised will be donated to two other local charities, Shooting Star Children’s Hospice and Halo Children’s Foundation. If any of your readers would like to support this charity initiative details are here. Hopefully all grassroots kids teams can come through this tough time” – Simon Barron.

“To respond to Geoff Jones (yesterday’s Fiver letters), I would put The Fiver quite firmly in the category of doing something ‘vaguely’ important these days. My dictionary defines ‘vague’ as ‘not clear in meaning or expression; lacking definite shape, form, or character’. Yup, that suits you, Fiver. Not truly important, but vaguely so. Keep up the vague work” – Mike Wilner.

“Re: ‘bland news, please’ (yesterday’s Fiver). I’m very well, thank you” – Michael Bland.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … Michael Bland.

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

Real Salt Lake’s Nedum Onuoha, formerly of Manchester City and QPR, says he has a “fear and distrust” of police in the US. Newcastle’s DeAndre Yedlin has similar concerns about his home country. 

The FA will adopt “a commonsense approach” if Premier League players heed the call from Kick It Out to take a knee in protest at the killing of George Floyd.

Premier League suits, meanwhile, are close to presenting a provisional fixture list for the remaining games, with some clubs facing a sequence of three games in seven days. Meanwhile, Everton are channelling serious Tottenham 2004 vibes after requesting to host the champions-elect at Goodison later this month, with the fixture currently set to take place at a neutral venue. 

Liverpool overlord Jürgen Klopp has revealed he instructed his players to wear face masks and gloves whenever they ventured out during lockdown. 

Training earlier on Wednesday.



Training earlier on Wednesday. Photograph: John Powell/Liverpool FC/Getty Images

Spurs’ Son Heung-min just loved his military service in South Korea. “I couldn’t say everything that I’ve done but I really enjoyed it,” he tooted.

French lower-league outfit Chartres have appointed Jean-Pierre Papin as their new manager.

And after teasing those Saúl Ñiguez | Welcome to Man United | Skills & Assists transfer fanboys with the promise of a “new club” announcement three days ago, the Atlético Madrid player has gone and joined his brother in founding Club Costa City in Elche.

STILL WANT MORE?

The neutral venue option is unfair on fans and treats them as if they are inherently disorderly, writes former police chief Owen West.

Simon Burnton on how the Heysel disaster changed English football.

The Mole Antonelliana in Turin is illuminated in honour of the 39 victims who died in the Heysel disaster.



The Mole Antonelliana in Turin is illuminated in honour of the 39 victims who died in the Heysel disaster. Photograph: Filippo Alfero/Juventus FC/Getty Images

USA! USA!! USA!!! coaching legend Anson Dorrance chats to Suzanne Wrack about his coaching philosophy and years of unsurpassed success in the women’s game.

More hot chat, with Asmir Begovic.

Ten of the most in-form Premier League players before lockdown, via Martin Laurence.

This week’s Knowledge talks early 2-0 leads, goal-shy well-capped international strikers and the platonic ideal of mid-table mediocrity.

Quiz time: Manchester United’s Big Cup final win over Chelsea in 2008.

Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!



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