football

The Fiver | A whiff of expensive cologne, a vague sense of regret and Josh King


NON-EVENTERTON

There’s not much going on today, so a non-story about Everton seems an apposite direction for the Fiver to go in. You see, nothing of note has happened to the Toffees since the days of Paul Rideout, or Paul Power if you’re really trying to prove a point. The club recently got in a superstar manager in an attempt to shake things up, but look how that turned out. Though to be fair to Carlo Ancelotti, it’s hard to play football that’s easy on the eye with all the tumbleweed rolling around Goodison, this way and that, reducing each match to little more than an elaborate and never-ending game of Frogger.

Also in the not particularly long credit column of Don Carlo’s existential Everton ledger is the fact he didn’t trash the joint upon ghosting, in the way Jose totalled things at Spurs, or the way José totalled things at Manchester United. He merely left behind a whiff of expensive cologne, a vague sense of regret, and Josh King. As emotional detritus goes, it’s a relatively easy clear-up job. The club aren’t going to take up the option to extend King’s contract; they’ve been left in the lurch before, by the likes of Howard and Davie, and always bounced back; and it shouldn’t take too long to waft the final traces of Brut Trentatré out of the window.

Everton therefore move on with confidence, although they’ve yet to appoint a new manager. Nuno Espírito Santo is the short-priced favourite, while you can also give bookmakers your money for a theoretical 50-fold return on Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Big Sam or, for goodness’ sake, Pip Neville. If they land the former Wolves boss, Nuno may raid his old club for Pedro Neto, because they’ll need some sort of replacement for Richarlison should he follow his former boss and fellow conspicuous underachiever to the Bernabéu. It could be a busy summer for Everton. If the Euros prove to be a bust, we might even get a couple more stories out of them.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Uefa believes in [VAR]. We really believe it is an important help for the referees. Not only for the referees but an important help for football. Of course we need to use this project in the correct way; it can also be a dangerous project. We need to be careful, we need to be clear. We need to follow the principles of the laws of the game. We want to continue to use VAR only for clear and obvious mistakes” – Roberto Rosetti, Europe’s most senior refereeing official, gets his two pence in as news of a third VAR official, with the responsibility purely for checking offside decisions, and a dedicated VAR hub in Switzerland will be deployed to ensure Euro 2020 goes smoothly. Yep, looks foolproof.

HOT TIP: BUY BIG PAPER!

Euro 2020 is nearly here, don’t you know, so get your free 72-page definitive guide to the tournament in Saturday’s Big Paper!

Ooooooo. Shiny.
Ooooooo. Shiny supplement. Photograph: Guardian Design

RECOMMENDED BOOKING

Speaking of which, tickets are available now for Football Weekly Live’s Euro Not 2020 preview special on 10 June. Get them while they’re hot.

FIVER LETTERS

“Paul Southgate nearly nailed it yesterday with his suggestion about the most appropriate moniker for the new Conference thingy, but isn’t that just an adjective? Surely it’s got to be the Tin-pot Pot?” – Steve Allen.

“In the Euro Not 2020 Team Guide for Belgium, manager Roberto Martínez is quoted as saying “I am convinced we will see the best Eden Hazard at the Euros.” Are there multiple Eden Hazards that we are not aware of? Is there some sort of Eden Hazard cloning factory in Belgium – and if so, does that explain why Real Madrid have had a slightly dud copy?” – Nick Jeffery

“So a bloke with the last name Southgate just happens to win the letter of the day comp? I’m not having that. I call BS” – Taylor [Bobby?! – Fiver Ed] Robson.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com, or tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner receives a copy of A.D. Stephenson’s footballing comedy-thriller novel, A Cloud Can Weigh A Million Pounds. Congratulations to … Steve Allen.

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

South Yorkshire and West Midlands police have agreed a settlement with more than 600 people to compensate them for the false police campaign aimed at avoiding responsibility for the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and blame the victims instead, which bereaved families have always said was a cover-up. David Conn with the full story.

Alan Miller, the former West Brom and Middlesbrough goalkeeper, has died aged 51. Miller helped the Teesside club to promotion to the Premier League in 1995.

Thomas Tuchel vows there is “far more to come” after he extended his deal at Champions League winners Chelsea to June 2024.

It’s Ben McAleer on how Antonio Conte would change Tottenham’s shape and mentality.

Dean Smith says Aston Villa want to be the next Leicester – presumably, the FA Cup-winning part rather than blowing Champions League qualification.

Confirmed. Trent Alexander-Arnold has been ruled out of Euro 2020 after sustaining a thigh injury against Austria. The Liverpool man will be out for four to six weeks, leaving Gareth Southgate with absolutely no headache at all at right-back.

STILL WANT MORE?

Euro 2020: your complete guide. Everything you need to know – and maybe a bit more – about all 622 players taking part in Euro Not 2020. Pets, hobbies, heroes… we’ve got it all covered.

If you like these three, just wait until you find out about the other 619.
If you like these three, just wait until you find out about the other 619. Composite: Miles Probyn/The Guardian, AFP/Getty Images, PA Wire/Belga/PA, PA Wire

More Euro goodness in our Experts’ Network team guides: get a load of Austria in part nine, while the Netherlands feature in our orange-flavoured part 10.

And, talking of all things Oranje, here’s an in-depth look at Memphis Depay and how the troubled teen became a Dutch icon.

The world’s most fouled footballer, Jack Grealish, says he is ready to “take the kicks” (on route 1966?) to help England win Euro 2020.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Liew poses a question: why do England struggle after scoring first? The Three Lions have a far worse record than other big sides at holding on to a lead. Can Gareth Southgate provide a fix?

‘It’s hell’: the legacy of banned Yves Jean-Bart hangs over football in Haiti. Questions remain over the running of Haiti’s FA amid ‘unacceptable’ conditions for players and a visiting team held up at gunpoint.

Have you got any hopes and dreams? Specifically around your country’s chances at Euro 2020, that is. If you do, why not let us know.

Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!





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