THE IMPORTANCE OF PROMOTION
We gotta preview the Big Cup on Friday, right? That means we can’t talk about the other big game that’s happening this weekend. Yes, it’s Sunday afternoon’s Oscar-Wilde final, the game that everyone seems to have contracted to call the most lucrative game in football, if only by people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Yes around £170m blah future earnings for winners are booming over the next three years chunter waffle blah but the occasion itself should be loved on its own terms right? Is correct!
Admittedly, there hasn’t been a truly exciting Championship play-off final since Reading nearly came back from three goals behind against Swansea in 2011, although a year later West Ham and Blackpool were reasonably engaged and we’re told physicists are fascinated by Aston Villa were and Derby in 2019, particularly the strange, frenzied molecular vibrations occurring in Frank Lampard’s lower lip. But the points total is there – there were three 4-3s and one 4-4 back then – and we’re entitled to a good one, right? Yes that’s right!
Whether Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield Town are best equipped to deliver this late classic is debatable. Huddersfield have played twice at Wembley since the turn of the millennium. They prevailed both times, but only on penalties, failing to score a single goal in either regular time or extra time. Forest have now – apart from the ZDS final – scored in their last two visits to the National Stadium, back in their League Cup pomp in the early 1990s, against a struggling Oldham Athletic who are playing their 643rd game of the season. To do justice to Steve Cooper’s 2022 vintage, they threw a nine-course banquet to beat Sheffield United in the semi-finals last week, so similar drama isn’t beyond the bounds, is it? Maybe. Maybe. Here is hope.
That’s undersold. They will thank us when the seventh and decisive goal flies in at 18:23 on Sunday.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We can neither believe nor understand this madness, the love that goes with it. How far will the fans go? As far as a plane” – Diego Maradona’s daughter Dalma attends the unveiling of a plane designed as a flying museum in homage to the Argentine legend. Fans, we’re told, can hop on the plane and leave a message for Maradona, “interact” with him via AI, and see memorabilia from the 1986 World Cup team.
“Canada’s stunning success in reaching the Human Rights World Cup has caused some people to forget recent history off the field. By hosting a friendly match against Iran on June 6, those in power overlooked how Iran shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in Tehran just over two years ago, killing everyone on board, including a large number of Canadian citizens and permanent residents Resident. It is now reported that Canada will also pay Iran $400,000 to cover its costs. Iran has yet to pay compensation to its victims” – Alain Etheringon.
“Regarding your recommendation to ask our grandfathers about the Intercontinental Cup (yesterday’s Fiver), what exactly does The Fiver think about its readership demographics?” – Harriet Osborn.
“José Mourinho is over the moon to win Tin Pot, although almost a decade ago he went on record as saying: ‘That would be a huge disappointment to me [to be in Big Vase]’, to say nothing of Tin Pot, is the greatest irony since the author of How to Murder Your Husband’ was found guilty of murdering her husband” – Noble Francis.
“I can’t believe I’m humbling myself to this. Well actually I can. But the audience isn’t applauding £1,000, £6,000 or any size jackpot prize at Pointless (five letter passim) at the moment. The last two series were not taped in front of an audience because of Covid” – John Mackay.
“I recently performed on Countdown, which in the post-Covid era no longer has a studio audience. I think they just applaud after the event.” – Craig Fawcett.
“A tip to relegated Burnley for showing us there’s always a grain of truth in those old adages. Misery loves Kompany” – Mark McFadden.
Send your letters to [email protected].com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our award letter of the day is… Alain Etherington.
Listen to the latest Football Weekly Extra. Speaking of which, Max, Barry and the Pod team are back on tour. Tickets for live shows in June and July are available here.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Police will confiscate the passports of 880 England fans ahead of the Nations League game against Germany on June 7 in Munich as part of a wide-ranging security operation.
As Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané prepare to cover nearly 200,000km this season – not even on the pitch – a new Fifpro study has found that the culture of overuse in top-flight football is threatening players’ health.
Manchester United fans have been told it is now their job to stand by new manager Erik ten Hag. “He has developed a long-term vision to build a successful, exciting team,” said director of football John Murtough. “[His early appointment] gave clarity and confidence.”
Lucy Bronze will follow Georgia Stanway and Caroline Weir out the door of Manchester City Women when her contract is about to expire.
With Arsenal options limited up front, Eddie Nketiah is expected to stay and accept a new long-term deal.
Norwich City striker Stuart Webber accepts the club have made it too easy for opponents as they make their way through the Premier League trapdoor. “Have we made Carrow Road a difficult place for opposing teams on and off the pitch? No we haven’t,” he sighed. “We accepted too quickly to be average and we have to look at that. It starts with us in the first place and probably ends with us.”
Swindon Town boss Ben Garner has been linked with the Charlton Athletic vacancy.
Chongqing Liangjiang Athletic had to disband due to mounting debts with the Chinese Super League club. “If more care and support had been given, this would not have happened,” said former manager Lee Jang-soo angrily.
And the flaming A-League All Stars gave Barcelona a decent game before losing 3-2 in Sydney. “Having 70,000 people show up as the head coach on my first debut was just amazing,” said Dwight Yorke, who took over as executive director of the All Stars. “[This] shows how popular football is in this country. It only needs Barça to bring it out.”
Iñigo Alexander travels to Colombia to describe Luis Díaz’ long journey to Liverpool.
Eduardo Camavinga is the supersub ready to shape Real Madrid’s future, writes Jonathan Liew.
The seven ages of Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool FC. By Sachin Nakrani.
Madrid newcomer Rodrygo chats with Josué Seixas.
How the Boehly deal came about: Jacob Steinberg shares the inside story of Chelsea’s takeover.
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