Cheryu and farewell
Norn Iron scored two goals in the span of 20 minutes against Kosovo yesterday, well, they wouldn’t change that, would they. This latest fiasco led to the 500-man green and white army chanting “cheerio” for manager Ian Baraclough, who won only three of his 19 competitive matches. “Let’s not be passive,” Baraklough, who continued his claim that Buddy McNair, who was injured on the morning of the game, would have made some kind of a difference, replied, before adding: “I understand the fans’ frustration but there are ways to lose a football match and that’s it.” No, we’re not wiser either, we just raised her up to the light and looked at her from different angles.
Norn Iron has so far played 13 Nations League matches and won none, with ten defeats. If nothing else, they are taking a brave and principled stance on Irish unity, with the Republic’s record in nascent UEFA time-wasting just as bad: Stephen Kenny has not won 12 times. But by itself, Norn Iron’s record isn’t great, and after joining the K22 group (subs, please check) as a top seed (that certainly can’t be true either), they find themselves eight points short of the pace set by Greece and five shy of Kosovo. Second place holder. Victory at Windsor Park over Cyprus on Sunday is now essential, and although Baraklough still believes the home fans will be “all behind the team, not a problem”, what can anyone realistically expect when fighting a battle without a Middlesbrough defence? Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Paddy.
But while Norn Iron’s current ordeal is somewhat of a downfall, it does at least illustrate, by way of absolute paradox, just how great Billy Bingham’s accomplishments were in the 1980s. Putting everything into perspective, it was announced this morning that the illustrious Bingham has passed away at the age of 90. He lived a less ordinary life, playing for Norn Iron in the 1958 World Cup and Luton in the 1959 FA Cup Final, winning the league with Everton in 1963, and leading Linfield to four times in 1971 before moving to manage Greece, Everton, PAOK, Mansfield Town and Saudi Al-Nassr.
The time had come when he was in charge of the Norn Iron which was truly burned into the memory. Bingham led his country to the 1982 and 1986 World Cup Finals, and it was the best point who – which Spain’s defeat is inspired by Jerry Armstrong in the World Cup Finals (although there is a strange kind of dignity in conceding a world to Josemar as well). The whole time with a tube. A prevailing tactician, I hope he takes a peek at Windsor on Sunday to inspire his countrymen one last time.
Live on a great site
Join Scott Murray at 7.45pm (GMT) for goal updates from all of the Evening Nations League matches.
Quote from today
“What are you doing here? It’s Serie D! Do you need money, man? Did you lose all your money? Are you poor?” – Former Manchester City midfielder Elano begins his conversation with Thiago Rabelo and reveals the colorful reception he received from the fans when he appeared as a coach at the lowest level in Brazil. Oh, and how I love playing for “True Lord” Sven-Goran Eriksson.
“How dare you make me tear up reading your normally emotionless letter. Yesterday’s letter from Brian Robson made me gasp at my cup of tea. If you succeed in your STOP FOOTBALL campaign, beautiful moments like these will be gone” – Tracy Stominoff.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of wooing the clubs of online gambling companies, I felt they could, oh, I don’t know, maybe… sponsor some kind of social action initiative aimed at reducing poverty?” – John Gregory (not that).
Noble Francis’ comment (Yesterday’s Letters) about managers ‘foolishly’ giving contract extensions after a big win highlighted something I’ve always found very strange in football. The reward for doing a good job is getting a longer contract. However, the reward for being bullshit is Being fired with immediate compensation for the remaining contract Jose Mourinho appears to have earned over £90m in payments from Manchester United, Chelsea (twice for good!), Tottenham and Real Madrid. Perhaps Fiver should look to running a football The foot for his next job?” – Paul Dixon
“Find someone who looks at you the way Sachin Nakrani looks at Divock Origi” (You still wanted more yesterday?). Really? After all this time, do you still not quite understand who your readers are? It never will. By the way, Excellent article on the legend of the club ”- Mike Welner.
Send your messages to email@example.com. And you can always tweet to The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner with our invaluable letter is… John Gregory.
Get your ears on the latest Football Weekly Extra. And while we’re there, Max, Barry, and the capsule squad will soon be back on tour. The last remaining tickets for live shows in June and July are available here.
News, Bit and Pop
UEFA has defended the decision of two of its top officials to leave Paris early after a chaotic day at the Stade de France to watch the tournament final at Wembley.
The Derby takeover was met with another delay. Chris Kirchner, another potential buyer, was given until Friday afternoon to prove he was in a position to close a deal. The Premier League appears to be “incredibly disappointed”. Still, at least there’s another lifesaver waiting in the wings in the form of…Mike Ashley. Ah, well, disaster averted in this case.
The Premier League transfer window has officially opened, as the Premier League vortex sucks unsuspecting souls into a terrifying parallel dimension of exit doors, war chests and pleas to come and get. The latest is that Aston Villa, Leeds and Tottenham are after Sonny Perkins, with West Ham reluctant to meet the youngster’s wage requirements, while Arsenal won the Marquinhos race.
Chelsea completed the signing of Kadisha Buchanan from Lyon. She’s won the Women’s Big Cup and Division 1 Féminine five times each, so it’s fair to say Emma Hayes did some good work there.
The PFA awards are faded and gone, with Mohamed Salah winning Player of the Year Gong and Sam Kerr scooping the Women’s award.
Danny Drinkwater has left Chelsea.
Do you still want more?
Our men’s and women’s transfer interactions are ready for action in the summer.
With Euro 2022 kicking off next month, Suzanne Warak recounts her experience growing up as a football fan and how the ongoing revolution in the women’s game has changed her life.
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