ON YOUR OWN AND IN CROWDS
Dreams can come true
Look at me babe, I’m with you
You know you gotta have hope
You know you gotta be strong.
Not The Fiver’s words, reader, but those of Gabrielle, who sounds as though she could be an exciting new signing brought in by Newcastle United during the January transfer window, but is actually a singer made famous in the 90s for her aspirational words of ambition and desire. Much like the now-52-year-old Londoner, it appears that Bruno Guimarães – who sounds like he could be a singer from the 90s but is actually an exciting new signing brought in by Newcastle United during the January transfer window – shares Gabrielle’s penchant for a dream, as well as potentially having the wool well and truly pulled over his eyes.
“We’re going to be a big power in world football,” roared the new £33.3m Brazilian midfielder in his first chat with the local press, presumably before he saw fellow Newcastle recruit Matty Targett shuffling around the training pitch like a fan that had won a competition to line up with the first team. “The owners were very up-front that, this season, the idea is to stay in the Premier League but the main objective in the years to come is to be in [Big Cup] and, eventually, to win [Big Cup].” The concept is a nice one. Sure, Newcastle might eventually win [Big Cup], in the same way they eventually win any other cup, or the same way The Fiver might eventually get out of bed.
Manchester City, who act as some sort of awful precedent here, having started with the same lofty Big Cup dreams after their own Middle-Eastern revamp in 2008, are yet to get their hands on Ol’ Big Ears, despite 14 years and an estimated £1.5bn of trying. But they might, of course, eventually. So while Guimarães should be admired for his temerity, he could just as much be remembered as this generation’s Roque Santa Cruz, having swallowed the spiel from a Newcastle suit, spending the most important years of his career getting the ball off Paul Dummett and walloping missiles into ‘The Channel’ for Chris Wood to chase. Still, Bruno, you really should give Gabrielle a listen. The years will just fly by!
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“They have to be streetwise. It is a league we are playing in where there are a lot of streetwise players … I don’t think we have been coaching being streetwise, but I think it is something they will all learn. Usually players become magpies and pinch things off other players that can help their own games – and if that is becoming streetwise for us, then so be it” – Dean Smith reckons his Norwich players need to channel their crafty inner urchins to survive in the dog-eat-dog Premier League.
It’s your boy, David Squires, on the FA Cup fourth round.
All it’s missing is Gus Honeybun doing the interview. Illustration: David Squires/The Guardian
“Before we leave Afcon for another year, do you realise that Egypt only scored four goals throughout the whole tournament? If they only had a world-class striker then they might have won it” – Michael Dawson.
“I honestly read the first few lines of yesterday’s Quote of the Day about this worn-out 37-year-old who hadn’t trained in weeks, and pictured Cristiano Ronaldo” – Marcus Roth.
“It’s good to see Ralf Rangnick channelling his inner Garfield (cartoon cat of ‘dieting always starts tomorrow’ fame not former President James Abram) with his ‘Manchester United can compete for league title next season’. He did, of course, forget to include ‘but not with me in charge and a defensive midfield of McTominay and Fred’” – Noble Francis.
“I really don’t think your 10 FA Cup talking points went far enough (yesterday’s Still Want More?). Antonio Conte had a nerve even stepping foot on the same hallowed patch of turf as York City’s most relentlessly adequate full-back, and Spurs showed a lack of respect by blatantly scoring two more goals than Brighton at the weekend. If the FA Cup isn’t for Graham Potter’s team, then it should – as many have been quietly saying – be smelted down into some pleasant jewellery and dispersed among loyal Brighton support to compensate them, if in part only, for the continued injustices of 1996. Potter is clearly destined for better things, though whether that be as the director of the Royal Ballet, or to take over from Jacinda Ardern, only time will tell” – Jon Millard.
Send your letters to [email protected] And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Michael Dawson.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
The RSPCA has condemned Kurt Zouma after a video emerged of the West Ham player dropping, kicking and slapping a cat. “This is a very upsetting video,” said a spokesperson. “It’s never acceptable.” Zouma has apologised for his actions, parping: “I would like to assure everyone that our two cats are perfectly fine and healthy.”
Sakes, Kurt. Photograph: Rob Newell/CameraSport/Getty Images
Nike has terminated its endorsement agreement with Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood.
Al-Hilal coach Leonardo Jardim isn’t best chuffed with the Club World Cup’s format as they prepare to face Chelsea in the semi-finals. “I find it unfair some teams have to play four matches in eight days and other teams, the best, have to play two matches with their teams rested,” he tooted. “There should be better care with the match schedule to recover so Asia and South America can have ambition to win this cup.”
Christian Eriksen is back in training with Brentford after signing for the Bees. “It’s just the football touch that needs to come back,” he cheered.
Barcelona chief suit Ferran Reverter has quit the club “for personal and family reasons”. Meanwhile, the Mes que un Club remain in talks over a possible €280m sponsorship deal to create the Spotify Camp Nou.
There will be one fewer Mousa Dembélé for Big Website subs to deal with once the former Spurs midfielder hangs up his boots at the end of the season.
Frank Lampard’s Everton manager Frank Lampard says Dele Alli can wear whatever clobber he darn well likes after nonsensical criticism from Glenn Hoddle. “Maybe Donny [van de Beek] wears an overcoat that is longer than the one Dele wears and he has a different type of jacket, but it doesn’t bother me. As long as they produce on the pitch then I’m very happy,” he but seriouslyed.
And at the “Wagatha Christie” case … the North Sea!
STILL WANT MORE?
Wayne Rooney appears to feel guilt about his many achievements, writes Jonathan Liew after watching the new Wazza documentary.
Sorrow, anger and Mané’s redemption: Jonathan Wilson and Nick Ames reflect on their memories of attending Afcon Not 2021.
Meanwhile, here’s a gallery of the #scenes in Dakar after Senegal’s triumph.
Senegal enjoying a newly-announced public holiday. Photograph: John Wessels/AFP/Getty Images
Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings gets his chat on with Paul Doyle.
Juliano Belletti only scored one goal for Barcelona, but it was the winner in a Big Cup final. “There was no other option, I had to shoot,” he recalls.
GOING BIG IN CHINA