The Fiver | Fulham and the need to post criticism on Social Media Disgrace Twitter | Football

FULHAM ARE NOT ALL ELITE

Even in the immediate aftermath of Fulham’s promotion to the Premier League, Scott Parker seemed strangely forlorn. As if he realised that, in masterminding unlikely victory over a strangely subdued Brentford, he might have made a terrible mistake. Summoned for a pitchside interview, he was close to tears as he spoke of his immense pride in his team who “had achieved what they’ve achieved” despite the “gaping wounds” which had been caused by Fulham’s relegation the previous season. Gaping wounds he insisted were “still there” and had “yet to heal”. Parker went on to talk about how difficult it was to enjoy “the moments” as a manager, saying the reality is you can’t really. “We live in a profession where you win a game, you lose the next one and you’re deemed as a failure.” The young manager’s raw, searing honesty was enough to bring a tear to a glass eye … even before some wag set his interview to a soundtrack of The Streets.

Of course The Fiver is no doctor and wouldn’t presume to speak for the size of the wounds from which Fulham currently suffer, but we can only hope they are not as gaping as the holes in a porous defence that has conceded a total of 10 goals in its three games back in the Premier League so far, going behind in the eighth, fifth and fifth minutes before succumbing to defeat in each. Indeed, so overrun were the Cottagers by Aston Villa on Monday that their co-owner and director of football felt compelled to post on Social Media Disgrace Twitter about their dire need for more central defenders, before the trio of holograms that had lined up for his team had even made it back to the dressing room.

“I apologize to @FulhamFC supporters for our performance tonight,” began Tony Khan, the opening strings of Dry Your Eyes audible in the background. “We’ve looked to add centre-backs since Wembley, I’m sorry we haven’t yet as 2 got Covid + we lost a free we thought was close + had another issue with a 4th CB. I promise players in + better efforts from this squad.” There was more. “I should + will apologize repeatedly for that performance,” tooted Khan. “I’m sorry everybody. We all need to do a better job.”

Social media disgraces being social media disgraces, some fans were quick to praise Khan for fronting up, while others pondered the wisdom of pursuing his fifth-choice stopper and still more asked him if he could ever foresee a time when a boy might swim faster than a shark. Back in something approaching reality, before the whole world lost its collective mind over a staggeringly banal misunderstanding between Roy Keane and Jürgen Klopp, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher was quick to condemn Khan, labelling him “a clown” who “should keep his mouth shut and his head down”. In his post-match press conference, Parker may have shared Carragher’s sentiments but was understandably more diplomatic. “Helpful?” he asked. “I’m not sure but that’s up to Tony really.” It was supposed to be so easy, but just three games in to the new season, Fulham find themselves on the edge of a cliff.

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Join Simon Burnton from 7.45pm BST for hot MBM coverage of Tottenham 1-2 Chelsea in the Milk Cup last 16.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“What can you say, you have to take it on the chin” – Coleraine boss Oran Kearney remains circumspect after striker Eoin Bradley was hit with a six-game ban for urinating on the pitch before extra-time in their their Irish Cup semi-final back in July.

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It’s David Squires on … the ongoing Premier League fever dream. You can get your very own copy here too.



Your weekly dose of splendidness. Illustration: David Squires/The Guardian

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Handball horrors, flying Foxes and Bayern bashed

FIVER LETTERS

“If José Mourinho thinks Tottenham’s fixture list is tough (yesterday’s News, Bits and Bobs), he should spare a thought for the players of Faroese side B36 Torshavn. Following Big Vase defeat at CSKA Sofia (24 September), their fixture list comprises four league games in six days. First, they are at home in the Torshavn derby against HB (28 September). They then travel to defending champions, Klaksvik (30 September), bottom-of-the-table Skala Itrottarfelag (1 October) and finally to Streymur (3 October). Thankfully, the international break will provide some respite for most of the squad” – Deryck Hall.

“Re: managers’ political persuasions (yesterday’s Fiver letters). We actually learned a little bit about the politics of David Moyes during a mid-season trip to New York City with Sunderland. In naming Trump Tower as a specified attraction, he not only demonstrated exactly which side his bread is buttered but also offered a possible explanation for some horrendously uncultured football” – Matt Richman.

“Your mention of a hitherto unknown doppelganger, FiVAR (yesterday’s Fiver), immediately brought this piece of 80s excellence to mind. My night has now been lost to YouTube, so please don’t tell me that I was alone with this thought” – Robin Foster.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … Deryck Hall.

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

A video message of support sent by Francesco Totti has been credited with helping Ilenia Matilli awake from a coma after a car crash which killed her best friend. “I want to see you out of the hospital soon and get your life back,” said Totti after meeting Matilli at hospital in Rome.

Francesco Totti meets Ilenia Matilli at the Gemelli hospital in Rome.



Francesco Totti meets Ilenia Matilli at the Gemelli hospital in Rome. Photograph: Policlinico Gemelli/Reuters

Deals are being struck left right and centre with less than a week until the transfer deadline. Lazio have swooped for Manchester United’s Andrea Pereira on a season’s loan with an option to buy, while Leeds are closing in on Bayern’s Michaël Cuisance and Taxpayers FC want Slavia Prague right-back Vladimir Coufal.

Thiago Silva, who once conducted a Big Website interview from a Paris restaurant, has spoken out after his error in Chelsea’s 3-3 draw at West Brom. “I didn’t come here to dine out in London or visit the tourist sites,” he honked, in a blow to open-top bus tour operators. “I came to play football, to work.”

Matt Ritchie faces a lengthy period on the sidelines with shoulder-knack sustained in Newcastle’s 1-1 draw at Spurs.

And Tony Gustavsson is the flamin’ new Australia women’s national coach.

STILL WANT MORE?

Jonathan Liew talks Dychonomics and why the Premier League doesn’t care if EFL clubs go to the wall.

Barney Ronay explains why Arsenal’s performance at Anfield felt all too familiar, while Jonathan Wilson writes on Klopp v Keane and a very modern argument.

Not a Jota difference, really.



Not a Jota difference, really. Photograph: Jason Cairndruff/EPA

Salomón Rondón has been getting his chat ón with Nick Ames about Rafa Benítez, being confined inside a Chinese hotel for nearly two months and why he’d love to sign for Newcastle again.

An essential read from Sid Lowe on Luis Suárez’s Atlético debut.

Paul MacInnes on the handball rule, a rush to boot balls at people’s body parts and why Fifa is to blame.

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


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