BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND
It’s been a strange old day here at Fiver Towers, what with the gale force winds of Storm Eunice having blown the corrugated roof clean off our bijou wattle hut. All the better to afford us a clear view of nonplussed cows, unsecured trampolines and wheelie bins whirling through the sky like a scene from The Wizard of Oz.
But while Eunice might sound like a kindly, slightly maiden aunt from a Famous Five novel, the storm which has taken her name has dominated the headlines in Blighty, a state of affairs likely to raise “oh look, the Brits are at it again”-inspired eyebrows among Fiver readers from countries with less forgiving climates. The kind where a monsoon, hurricane or howling blizzard are little more than daily inconveniences and the odd roof-tile dislodged by a rogue squall isn’t guaranteed to make the front page of the local paper.
The British have always had a peculiar, weirdly obsessive relationship with the weather and it is never more apparent than when the weather is either very good or very bad. Today, the Fiver was among several hundred thousand folk who tuned into Big Jet TV on YouTube, to watch aircraft of all shapes and sizes try to land at Heathrow in the face of 85mph crosswinds. All while a preposterously enthusiastic plane nerd and cameraman stood in an adjacent field shouting “Easy! Easy! Easy! Go on son! Wowwwwwwwww! That’s a big swing man! Bosh, he’s done it!”
Meanwhile on assorted news bulletins, presenters kept cutting to barely audible, soaking wet reporters standing dangerously close to storm-battered piers, cliff edges and flooding rivers as they warned viewers that under no circumstances should they go anywhere near storm-battered piers, cliff edges and flooding rivers …. “UNLESS IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!”
And what has all this got to do with football, you might ask – quite apart from the fact that the decidedly inclement weather has interfered with Tottenham’s travel plans ahead of tomorrow’s defeat at the hands of Manchester City, and made their stadium do strange things. Eunice has also prompted the cancellations of trains Newcastle fans were hoping to get to London for their team’s win over West Ham, and caused the postponement of Bournemouth’s game against Nottingham Forest tonight.
Today’s chaos also reminded the Fiver of the time when, in his post-football career as a mid-1980s Breakfast television talking head and resident contrarian, the late, great former Tottenham and England striker Jimmy Greaves went off on a diatribe about the ineptitude of weather forecasters. “I’ve lived through storms before in my life, I’ve lived through everything,” Greavsie mused, warming up nicely.
“And the fact is that the weather people this year have got nothing right. Absolutely nothing! The biggest problem is that the Met Office doesn’t seem to be as boring and efficient as it used to be. Most of them are too interested in going on Blankety Blank and Call My Bluff and things like this, and they’re paying no attention to the weather!” Stay safe out there, readers. It’s raining truth.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“There are times when I’m on the side of the pitch thinking: ‘What am I doing this for? I’m standing here, freezing my chuff off’ – the other manager is abusing you for something, and sometimes you just think: ‘Wow, this is some way to earn a living’” – Paul Warne, manager of League One leaders Rotherham, admits his job isn’t always fun as he gets his chat on with Ben Fisher.
“Following JJ Zucal’s revelation that he spent two hours of his birthday watching a dull 0-0 draw: I spent my 30th birthday with my future wife at Glanford Park, watching Firewall FC 0-0 Crystal Palace. I’m a Palace fan, she was a Firewall season-ticket holder, so a draw was probably the best result but it was an awful game. Still, I’m pleased with how our teams’ fortunes have diverged since” – Chris Richardson.
“Re: Gareth Southgate [Thursday’s Fiver]. Given it is 130-odd miles from England’s base at St George’s Park to Wembley and only 30-odd to Wolverhampton, playing at Molineux seems to be stretching the concept of ‘taking the squad on the road’” – Robin Hazlehurst.
“With regard to Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo’s tussle for the United captaincy [see News, Bits and Bobs] – perhaps Ronaldo could adopt the ploy of the late, great Ben Hannigan of League of Ireland fame. When faced with a challenge to his authority, Ben gently put one arm around the misguided individual and said: ‘Look at the crowd. Do you think they came to see you or to see me?’” – John Weldon.
Send your letters to email@example.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Chris Richardson.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Manchester City have lost their appeal against Kyle Walker’s three-match Big Cup ban after he was sent off against Leipzig. The flying full-back will miss the second leg against Sporting and the first leg of their quarter-final – how will they cope?
Harry Maguire has denied reports of a rift at Manchester United. “I’ve seen a lot of reports about this club that aren’t true and this is another,” he wailed. “Not going to start posting about everything that is written but I needed to make this one clear.”
In other news, United’s interim manager, Ralf Rangnick (born 29 June, 1958) has backed Maguire to keep the armband. “Harry will stay our captain until the end of the season,” Rangnick straight-batted.
Kieran Trippier has gone under the knife for his foot-gah, and may not play again this season for Newcastle. “We’re going to miss his leadership skills,” sobbed Eddie Howe.
Liverpool, meanwhile, don’t know when Diogo Jota will be back from his ankle-knack. “It’s something with some ligaments in and around the ankle, but not the ligament, some others,” sighed Jürg.
Before their meeting with Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, Watford’s Mr Roy has praised the impact of former England players Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney on the management game. “I’m delighted they have chosen that route because they have so much to give,” trilled Mr Roy.
Janine Beckie’s fine strike levelled out Millie Bright’s opener as England’s Lionesses drew 1-1 with Canada in the SheBelieves Cup. Meanwhile, Trinity Rodman, daughter of Dennis, debuted as USA! USA!! USA!!! drew 0-0 with the Czech Republic.
Manchester City are set to add the 17-year-old Brazilian winger Sávio to their phalanx of attacking players. Arsenal were interested in the Atlético Mineiro player, who will cost £5.5m plus change.
And in addition to Bournemouth v Forest tonight, Dunfermline v Partick (also tonight), Exeter v Barrow and Southend v Grimsby (both Saturday) have also been called off.
STILL WANT MORE?
Chasing a Champions League spot with a new billionaire investor. Does that mean a happy future for the Hammers? Jacob Steinberg investigates.
Premier League: 10 things to look out for, hopefully some of them pertinent.
Michael Olise left Chelsea at 14 but after impressing at Reading he is sparkling in the Premier League at Crystal Palace, notes Ed Aarons.
Konaté and Van Dijk looks the best Liverpool central defensive partnership for the long term, writes Andy Hunter.
Talent from the MLS and USA! USA!! USA!!! is all the rage in Europe, roars Graham Ruthven.
Get yer match previews before the games are called off, right here.
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