TODAY (AND YESTERDAY) AT THE PRESSER
It was always heading this way, the coronavirus has merely accelerated the process: the entire world is now nothing more than one long, rolling, never-ending managerial press conference. The Fiver is trapped inside it, the doors locked, chairs wedged under the outside handles by The Man just to make sure. There are fixtures every minute of every day, and so everyone and everything and everywhere is a nightmare. Although to be scrupulously fair, yesterday’s appearance at The Presser by Neil Lennon was fairly interesting, the incandescent Celtic boss angrily jabbing both index fingers in the air while rounding on critics of his club’s trip to Dubai. “Agadoo, doo, doo,” he blasted. “Push pineapple. Shake the tree. Agadoo, doo, doo. Push pineapple. Grind coffeeeee.”
Even a band as technically accomplished as the mighty Black Lace were always going to struggle to follow up a No 2 smash like that. Their next seven-inch pop platter, Do The Conga, only just scraped into the top 10, and that was pretty much that for the band as a chart-bothering concern, much to the chagrin of Laceheads everywhere. Similarly, how can any of today’s speakers at The Presser be expected to follow Lennon’s coruscating cover? They can’t, really, can they? No. Which is exactly why two-thirds of today’s story has been taken up with stuff that was either said yesterday or released in 1984.
Today’s star turn at The Presser, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, did at least try, bless him, by controversially insisting there is “no chance” of Bruno Fernandes getting tired. Those who saw the face on the 53-time winner of the Player of the Month award as he was substituted at Anfield on Sunday, and who have experience of putting down overtired toddlers for their nap, may demur. But the Manchester United boss argued that Fernandes has been “immense” and that “if I ask him, there is absolutely no chance he will say he is tired”, so running him into the ground it is, then. At which point he gave up the floor to Pep Guardiola, whose lengthy philosophical observations on the rejuvenation of John Stones proved something of a disappointment to those hoping for a modern reinterpretation of all the moves – ski, spray, macho man, sound your horn – to Lace deep cut Superman. Tomorrow maybe.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It’s been a tough journey but I built lots of resilience and perseverance through my life experience. Maybe if I had not gone through some of those things I wouldn’t have been able to get back up when you get knocked down” – Manisha Tailor, the only South Asian Indian woman in the English professional game, talks to Donald McRae about her career and how it has helped her traumatised twin brother to speak again in this extraordinary interview.
“I once drove from Harwich to Goodison Park and back on a Saturday to watch Leicester draw 0-0 with Everton. A ‘friend’ got me tickets for a 0-0 between Coventry and Middlesborough, which the Sky Blues own manager ‘Big Ron’ described as the worst game he had ever been involved in. However, both were spectacularly entertaining compared to the turgid bore-fest at Anfield on Sunday (we actually predicted the scoreline in last Wednesday’s Bits and Bobs – proud Fiver Ed) ” – Steve Roberts.
“I share The Fiver’s appreciation of the contribution Liverpool and United made to the Stop Football campaign on Sunday but I feel that you failed to acknowledge the input of Paul Tierney to proceedings. Blowing early for half-time just as Sadio Mané was bearing down on goal literally stopped football (well, at least for 15 minutes) and contributed enormously to the boredom of the second half. Fair play to Paul. Everyone has to play their part in making this the-most-competitive-season-ever” – Adam U.
“Eden Hazard and Diego Costa only got six goals in total last season and four this season so it’s far to say that Frank Lampard’s Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is being a little unfair and the Chelsea forwards this season have actually reached (if that’s the right word) Hazard and Costa’s level” – Noble Francis.
It’s your man David Squires on … an interactive football lockdown worksheet, including dot-to-dot Jürgen Klopp and a version you can print out and colour in with the kids (providing they’re adults). You can buy a copy here, too.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
England Women have appointed the former Norway midfielder Hege Riise as temporary manager after Big Phil Neville left to create some new “footballing DNA” at Inter Miami.
Mo Salah has said some words which, depending on how your bread is buttered, mean he is either staying at Liverpool for a long time or doing one pronto. “I say I want to stay here as long as I can, but, as I have said before, it is in the hands of the club,” he riddled, making signing his name on paper sound really tough.
Meanwhile, David Alaba has turned his nose up at offers from Liverpool and PSG and agreed to scrawl his name all over a four-year Real Madrid deal when his Bayern contract expires.
Dean Smith said his Aston Villa players were like excitable children on the “first day back in the playground” when they emerged from Covid quarantine.
And Barcelona will appeal against the two-match ban handed out to Lionel Messi for attempting to accelerate his rebrand as a brooding rebel with a red card against Athletic Bilbao.
STILL WANT MORE?
“Tepid and too much arrogance”: Suzanne Wrack reviews Phil Neville’s time as England Women’s manager.
The Nessun Dorma pod squad chew the fat about France 98 and Arsenal’s glorious Double winners.
Lionel Messi is not the Messiah, he’s a (not) very naughty boy. That’s the general gist in this Jonathan Liew piece on that red card.
Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!