The Fiver’s French cousin, Garçon la bière la moins chère tout de suite Allez Allez Allez Fiver, has been doing some in-depth research into football finance matters. He should probably do a DNA test while he’s at it. Anyway, there he was, reading L’Equipe like a show-off when he decided to call The Fiver and tell us what he’d learned.
– “[Aside] Garçon, la bière la moins chère tout de suite. Allez Allez Allez!”
– “Ah, if it isn’t our continental cousin, the world famous Francophone boy reporter, Tin and more Tin.”
He proceeded to tell The Fiver a boring old story heard many times before, expecting us to laugh along with him as he indulged himself. Maybe the DNA test is not necessary, after all. Then again, he did add some amusing details to the tale, courtesy of his well-lubricated research. It was all about Paris Saint-Germain and their Qatari overlords’ attempt to buy respectability. According to figures published by L’Equipe, PSG have the 14 highest paid players in Ligue Urrrn, which makes their 12-point lead at the top of the table about as impressive as Prince Charles’ employment history.
PSG’s monthly wage bill is said to be nearly 10 times higher than the Ligue Urrrn average, which makes last weekend’s 3-0 defeat by Monaco, admittedly no lovable urchins themselves, all the more rum. PSG are not, of course, the reigning champions, since they lost the title last season to Lille, who also beat them in the French equivalent of the Charidee Shield. That was before Nice knocked them out of the Coupe de France, and also before they soiled their special Big Cup pants in front of the whole world in Madrid.
This, then, has been the most hapless year in the oil-powered existence of the new-fangled PSG. And L’Equipe reckons it will cost them around €20m to jilt Mauricio Pochettino and his backroom team, who are not even the main problem. Garçon la bière la moins chère tout de suite Allez Allez Allez Fiver was right, that really is funny! He really should do that DNA test.
LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE
Another clásico? Why not, eh? Join Paul Doyle for Real Madrid 0-4 Barcelona (8pm GMT) in Women’s Big Cup, quarter-final, first-leg action.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“If I’ve got a day off and we’ve won or I’ve scored, I feel I can treat myself to a little Belgian waffle – they’re top notch” – Rabbi Matondo tells Will Unwin about the sweet perks of rediscovering his form at Cercle Brugge, overcoming his Wales Euro Not 2020 heartbreak and his hopes for the future.
Fetch the bolt-cutters, it’s time for David Squires. Our resident cartoonist mops up all the latest in football farce over here.
“I can’t decide what I like the best about this photo of Phil Brown. The natty scarf? The fullish Covid beard? The Peaky Blinders cap? Or the leather bomber jacket with real synthetic fur collar? I’ll fully support Barrow if Phil wears this glorious ensemble on the touchline” – Mike Wilner.
“Re: footballers as teachers [Fivers passim]: former O’Rangers inside-right Derek Grierson, a Scottish Cup winner with Falkirk and member of the Great Britain squad at the 1952 Olympics, taught maths at my school. I have quite a vivid memory from the early 90s of watching him dribble a paper ball through the legs of some desks, before slotting coolly home past the blackboard and celebrating with a subtle fist pump. He would have been close to his 60s by then but in my estimation, the touch was still there” – Douglas Campbell.
“I recently found myself trawling YouTube for Sunderland matches from the 90s, in an effort to relive the ‘glory’ days. While watching highlights from one match, I noticed a number of comments from youngsters who recognised Sam Aiston – then a fresh-faced, perennially bench-warming midfielder – as their teacher. Aiston is now the head at a Shropshire primary school, so his career as an educator has proven more successful than his time at Sunderland” – Tim Grey.
“Ben Burgess – a forward who was good for Brentford, Blackpool and Hull but very not good for Stockport County, retired from football to become a primary school teacher” – Dan Levy [stay off our patch – Knowledge Ed].
Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Douglas Campbell.
From Madrid to Rome, via Monaco, hop on board Football Weekly’s Trans-Europe Express right here, or wherever you get your pods.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Birmingham City Women coach Marcus Bignot has been charged by the FA for allegedly using abusive language regarding sexual orientation.
Louis Van Gaal has added his tuppence-worth on Qatar hosting the Human Rights World Cup. “It’s ridiculous,” squawked the Netherlands head coach. “It’s about money, commercial interests.”
Euro 2028 looks to be coming home to the UK and the Republic O’Ireland, baby … because no one else wants it. Can’t you just smell that prestige.
After missing Real Madrid’s clásico thumping with unspecified knack, golf’s Gareth Bale was fit enough to train with Wales. Where’s a picture of that banner when you need one?
Liverpool and Manchester City fans have condemned the “shambolic” travel arrangements for their FA Cup semi-final at Wembley next month, in which no trains will be running to That London on the day. “We urge those in charge to think again and move the venue,” roared the statement.
Fans of Italy and Argentina will have even further to travel when those two nations meet at Wembley on 1 June for an unofficial Super Pot match between the European and South American champions.
In what’s fast turning into a reality TV-style contest, the identity of Chelsea’s new owner should be revealed – perhaps with an extended drum roll – by the end of the week.
And The Fiver is unnerved by reports that Mike Dean may be about to hang up his whistle at the end of the season, continuing only as a VAR official. How will he take centre-stage? Perhaps a WWE-style mid-match walk-on?
STILL WANT MORE?
It’s crunch time in Women’s Big Cup, so Suzanne Wrack takes a look at all the knockout ties here.
With his football career in the USA! USA!! USA!!! currently on hold, Blaise Matuidi is focused on his off-field business ventures. He gets his chat on with Will Unwin.
It’s a big week in qualifying for Human Rights World Cup. Catch up with the overall state of play with Ben McAleer, here.
And if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!