The Fiver: Contractually Obliged To Open And Close His Mouth | Simon Burnton
FERGIE'S VOTE OF NO DOCTOR CONFIDENCE
Lord Ferg keeps opening his mouth, and closing it again. Kind of like you, reader, only with more people clustered around it holding microphones. Lord Ferg is contractually obliged to open and close his mouth while in the company of people holding microphones, frequently as often as four or five days a week.
Lord Ferg is unhappy about this obligation and frequently attempts to get around it by arbitrarily boycotting individual microphone-holders and sometimes entire microphone-holding organisations. But every time Lord Ferg freezes out a microphone-holder, he finds five or six new microphone-holders in its place, eagerly thrusting their new microphones facewards. It's like Medusa's beserpented bonce, only more painful, less picturesque and more likely to report directly to a major international media organisation.
Lord Ferg has been addressing Mancunian microphone-holders for more than a quarter of a century. Imagine, reader, how many years have passed since he was last asked a question that, in some broad sense, perhaps phrased slightly differently, and with one player's name replaced by another's, he has never been asked before. Imagine the rage this situation must cause. Imagine the frustration. Imagine how many times each week Lord Ferg must ask himself: "Couldn't I be doing something more useful right now, like coaching players, or mulling over tactics, or phoning the manager of another club to say something mildly encouraging to them, or sowing radish seeds, digging them up again, and resowing them, repeatedly? Couldn't I?"
In the circumstances, it is a miracle that Lord Ferg can still stand near a microphone without his conversation becoming littered with curses and suicide threats. And if the FA, which we'll imagine for the purposes of this Fiver is a single being capable of sitting down and thinking and stuff, sat down and thought about this for even five minutes, it would surely realise that Lord Ferg deserves to be rewarded each time he endures a press conference without offending it or anyone else they care about. This would be positive reinforcement. Instead it fines him whenever he does offend it or someone it cares about. This is negative reinforcement, and negative reinforcement, as any fule no, don't work so well as the other kind.
And so to today, when Lord Ferg found himself contractually obliged to sit in front of an audience of microphone-holders. When the subject of the FA came up – in the context of Stuart Pearce having told the media a few days back that Phil Jones had shingles – he slipped straight into rage factor nine. "We're disappointed in Stuart Pearce" he fumed. "We thought that was doctor confidence. You hope these things don't happen, but we're dealing with a big unit at the FA now. News can leak out. They should have made sure it didn't go any further…" And so on and so forth.
Almost exactly an hour later, the FA announced it had just fined Lord Ferg £12k for being mean about a referee last month.
End this madness now! Free Lord Ferg!
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I am simply shocked and disgusted with the untrue and unwarranted comments made by Giovanni Trapattoni. These hurtful and untrue comments have caused distress and upset to myself and my family who have supported me throughout my career and know the level of commitment and passion I have always shown in representing my country" - Stephen Kelly, arguably the most mild-mannered, chilled out man in the history of Irish football, finally erupts after Republic O'Ireland manager Trapattoni told reporters the Reading full-back would not make himself available for selection unless he was guaranteed a place in the team.
"Re: that Gordon Banks' save being over-rated (Wednesday's Fiver)? Bloody hell, the Fiver's a tough crowd! It was from a textbook header from the world's most celebrated player and Pele executed the header perfectly. Surely it would require a super-human save? Stop dissing my sepia-tinted through rose-tinted spectacles memories" - Markierobbo.
"Following recent correspondence in the Fiver about football and professional wrestling (Fivers passim), I can't help wondering if there are some celebrity Fiver readers. For the second time in a couple of weeks Mark Lawrenson's predictions page on the BBC site has him up against a wrestler - this week it's Hulk Hogan. Perhaps Match of the Day would be more interesting viewing if there was a possibility that one of the pundits might get hit by a chair, although somehow this seems a more likely scenario for ITV's football coverage" - Ed Taylor.
"Re: Music & Entertainment's Michael Hann latest missive to appear in the Fiver (yesterday's Fiver Letters). I was just wondering how scared the Fiver is of Big Paper? Does Mr Hann ever write you any letters that you don't publish?" - Nick Moon.
"Re: Mr Roy wanting to see Frank Lampard 'doing keepie-uppies on my front lawn where I can see him'. While I would hazard a guess that a fair share of Fiver readers might 'work from home', I'm surprised that the manager of England gets to do that and isn't at FA Towers for his 9-5. It would explain a lot though" - Paul Dixon.
Send your letters to email@example.com. And if you've nothing better to do you can also tweet the Fiver. And to placate certain readers, the Fiver awards prizeless Fiver letter o' the day to Geri Haliwell.
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BITS AND BOBS
Arsene Wenger is scared that Jack Wilshere – hero of England's World Cup final victory over Brazil this week – may suffer from burnout. "It is not just the physical aspect but the mental pressure every time he plays," said Wenger, wrapping Wilshere in cotton wool and bubble wrap.
Football's very own Julian Assange, Sam Allardyce, believes he was fined for telling the truth about officials being influenced at Old Trafford. "For me I spoke the truth, so if you like I have been fined for speaking the truth, but there you go, we move on," he said, sounding like he hasn't moved on at all, then submitting his application for asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy.
Humanity news: a suspected arson attack damaged the Beitar Jerusalem clubhouse a day after four fans were charged with racist incitement after protesting against the team's recruitment of Muslim players.
And Peter Odemwingie has stashed his car keys, put his toys back in his pram, turned off his Satnav and returned to training at West Brom. "I understand how my actions have been viewed and want to apologise to the club and our supporters for any distress I have caused," Odemwingie press released. "I want to reassure everyone at the club and our fans that I will continue to give my all whenever I am selected."
And Frank, the constipated, epileptic victorian bulldog belonging to the former Millwall and Republic of Ireland striker Richie Sadlier has been taken off steroids and is doing very well, thanks for asking.
STILL WANT MORE?
Despite spending most of yesterday hanging around Johannesburg airport badgering staff from the airline who misplaced his bag of sweat-stained safari suits, Jonathan Wilson still found time to write this scene-setter ahead of Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations final.
Barney Ronay wouldn't degrade himself by hanging around airports badgering staff from any airline who misplaced his luggage, because he has a gentleman's gentleman to do that kind of thing for him and would probably have arrived on his own private jet anyway. Here's his wry take on whatever it is he's taking a wry take on this week.
Paul Doyle didn't spend any of yesterday hanging around Johannesburg airport badgering people because he was down in Southampton investigating what changes Mauricio Pochettino has made since taking over from Nigel Adkins. Here are his findings.
Louise Taylor hurled interrogatory projectiles at Newcastle United centre-half Steven Taylor (no relation) in a bid to find out how he's adapting to his new life as a Ligue 1 player doing his best to communicate with a dressing-room stuffed to the gunnels with French-speaking team-mates. This is what happened.
And a story about football boots, another story about football boots and four more stories about football boots all feature in this week's The Joy of Six: Tales from the bootroom.
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Filed under: Euro 2012
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