Everton’s plans, Unesco and a tale about bustards
ON THE WATERFRONT
There are no Exeter City bathing suits in England’s national football museum, nor even a pair of Grecian Y-fronts. This is not by accident. The absence is, of course, to commemorate the fact that Exeter’s players were totally au naturel when they went for a swim in Rio de Janeiro in 1914, a fact that landed them in hot water with the city’s bizzies. But once wrists were slapped and kits donned, the Exeter lads went straight out and taught a local team everything they knew about the beautiful game. Which wasn’t a lot, as it transpired, as the hosts eased to 2-0 win in what has gone down in history as the Brazil national team’s first ever match. That was 107 years ago to this very day. Heritage, reader, The Fiver knows heritage. And if you don’t believe us, we’ve got a tonne of old jokes we could tell you.
Which brings us on to Everton and their continuing attempts to move out of Goodison Park. So far plans for a new stadium have progressed about as well as their plans to build a successful team, but the club has at least secured permission to build their shiny new £500m home by Liverpool’s waterfront. But that is an area that Unesco considered to have “outstanding universal value” until new developments, and the proposed new arena, diminished the place’s historic worth. So on Wednesday Unesco announced that Liverpool has been stripped of its cherished world heritage status. Only two places have previously endured such an indignity: Dresden, for building a massive bridge beside a treasured town centre, and Oman’s Arabian Oryx Sanctuary, for slashing the size of its protected area by 90%, endangering several species, including houbara bustards.
While no one would ever say Liverpool is a breeding ground for bustards, the depletion of the waterfront is a shame, as is the removal of world heritage status. Apparently, then, Unesco did not buy into the view that Everton have demonstrated their eagerness to preserve history by signing Andros Townsend and Asmir Begovic.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We were going to go down to 10 men, which we could have done. We spoke to Bristol City … and they kindly offered us a player. We didn’t choose him, either. So they gave us one of their young players and he played on the right wing and scored, doing himself no harm whatsoever” – Danny Cowley on the maverick 30-minute loan of flamin’ Bristol City youngster Marlee Francois, who ended up scoring for Portsmouth against City in their pre-season friendly.
“Is the Rumour Mill coming back for this transfer window. I very much miss the irreverent round-up, a bit of humour mixed with serious and not so serious links. Perhaps it could be added to The Fiver if a full column isn’t possible” – Neil Harris [Big Sports Day not helping but it will be back after. Guest return here from Monday a possible – Fiver Ed].
“Unless I’ve misread Tuesday’s News, Bits & Bobs, it appears The Fiver is comparing itself to Wayne Hennessey being proclaimed as ‘record-breaking’. Are there any other similarities between Rhe Fiver and the Welsh goalkeeper? For example, has The Fiver ever been misconstrued while waving to a colleague, or been described as displaying a lamentable degree of ignorance?” – Ed Taylor [yes, but not that lamentable degree of ignorance, at least – Fiver Ed].
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Marcus Rashford has defended his off-field partnerships after revealing that The Spectator was set to run a story suggesting he has “benefited commercially” from his campaigning. “Why has there always got to be a motive? Why can’t we just do the right thing?” he sighed.
USA! USA!! US … ah. “We got our a$$es kicked, didn’t we,” fumed Megan Rapinoe after their 3-0 going-over by Sweden at Big Sports Day. “I thought we were a little tight, a little nervous, just doing dumb stuff.”
No such problems for Team GB, who are up and running with a 2-0 win over Chile, while Zambia’s Barbara Banda may be getting a share of the match ball with Vivienne Miedema after scoring a hat-trick in their 10-3 gubbing by the Netherlands.
In a move that absolutely won’t come back to bite them on the posterior, Big Sports Day organisers have banned their social media disgrace teams from posting pictures of athletes taking the knee at Tokyo 2020.
Pedro Martínez Losa will take over as the new manager of Scotland Women on a three-year deal.
Steve Cooper is ready to do one from Swansea City after growing unsettled at the club.
New Real Madrid arrival and third-person fan David Alaba insists he’s not come to replace Sergio Ramos, despite taking the Spaniard’s No 4 shirt. “The truth is that yesterday I spoke to the club and they told me that right now it’s the only available squad number,” he tooted in news that’s hard to believe. “I didn’t want to start asking other players if they wanted to swap. I’m not here to compare myself to other players: I’m here to be David Alaba.”
Arsenal have pulled their appearance at the pre-season Florida Cup due to a number of Covid cases at the club.
Luke Shaw is hopeful of recovering from rib-snap in time for Manchester United’s opening Premier League match against Leeds.
And the Queen’s Celtic are already up against it in Big Cup after being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Midtjylland in the first leg of their qualifier. “I can’t ask any more of the players,” cheered new manager Ange Postecoglou, who probably should. “We will be better prepared, no doubt, in eight days’ time.”
STILL WANT MORE?
Managers who’ve crossed derby divides and players who’ve won honours for countries they’ve never played in domestically are among the subjects picked over in this week’s Knowledge.
Louise Taylor sifts through the latest (non-)developments in the deeply edifying Newcastle takeover saga.
Beau Dure on the USWNT’s shoeing.
Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!