THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS
The 1906 FA Cup finalists, Everton and Newcastle United, are unquestionably two of the biggest clubs in English football. Between them they’ve won 13 league championships, 11 FA Cups – let’s gloss over their combined record in the League Cup – and one major European trophy each. That’s a pretty good haul. Only problem is, the freshest tick on the ledger is 28 years old, entered when the Toffees won their last FA Cup in 1995. Newcastle’s most recent contribution came 54 years ago, in a competition that doesn’t exist any more and isn’t retrospectively recognised by Uefa. But the Fairs Cup was nothing if it wasn’t something, and they did win it, so that’s good enough for Football Daily. Who hangs their hat on anything Uefa says anyway?
These two behemoths have spent the entirety of the 21st century akip in bed, both at times over the past two decades registering the highest attainable score of 11 on Football Daily’s patented Indolent-Lummox-o-meter™. However, one of these snoozing colossi is finally showing signs of rousing itself. Last night, Newcastle reached their first League Cup final since 1976 by seeing off Southampton in a manner more fraught than seemed strictly necessary when they went two up, three on aggregate, after 21 minutes. “If you said to anyone 12 months ago that this is what’s going to happen, they’d have probably laughed at you,” smiled two-goal local hero Sean Longstaff after the game, his man-of-the-match award handed to him by fellow Geordie Dan Burn, whose late-blossoming career and towering stature serve as a daily reminder to everyone at the club of what can be achieved when big things rise up and belatedly start lumbering about.
Everton have also sprung into action and are on the move, albeit in a state of advanced narcolepsy and in the general direction of the nearest cliff. The Scouse somnambulists failed to land anyone during the transfer window, despite making bids for Udinese’s Beto Betuncal, Milan’s Olivier Giroud, Ismaïla Sarr of Watford and Saints-bound Rennes winger Kamaldeen Sulemana, and now head into a relegation dogfight with an attack consisting of one-goal Neal Maupay and the balsa-boned Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Will the mooted panic-signing of free agent André Ayew, whose contract with Qatari club Al Sadd was recently terminated by mutual consent, put a stop to planned protests against the Goodison board before the weekend visit of Arsenal? We’ll not insult your intelligence by answering that, though if the free-flowing Gunners come at Everton like they did against Manchester United the other week, expect the mood to turn sour before Saturday lunchtime is out. Staying put in bed suddenly seems like a belter of an idea.
LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE
Scott Murray will be on hand from 8pm GMT for hot Carling Cup semi-final, second-leg coverage of Manchester United 2-1 Nottingham Forest (agg: 5-1).
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“If these reports prove correct, we are shocked and disappointed to hear this as we haven’t been consulted by Fifa at all on this matter. As Women’s World Cup 2023 co-hosts, New Zealand Football and Football Australia have jointly written to Fifa to urgently clarify the situation.” The New Zealand FA reacts to the news that the Saudi Arabian tourism authority, Visit Saudi, is set to be an official sponsor for the Women’s Rights World Cup this summer.
Listen here as Max Rushden asks Barry Glendenning if he could pick Enzo Fernández out of a line-up. Plus: Robyn Cowen and Lars Sivertsen chat about Newcastle, the transfer window, Sean Dyche’s hats and much more.
FOOTBALL DAILY LETTERS
“I can fill Greg Grimmer (Tuesday’s letters) in on some of the grim details of the Camden Musicians League he played in during the 1980s, because I helped found the league from a squat in Camden Town and played for ‘that right filthy bunch’, Camden Musicians. We boasted the virtually static Nigel Lewis of psychobilly band the Meteors and magnificent captain Finn Panton of various gruesome bands including Menace, Junior Manson Slags and Wicked Kitchen Staff. Along with left-back Sex Pistol Paul Cook, Greg would have played for Virgin Megastore. The Radio 1 team featured DJ Peter Powell in goal and Wham second-stringer Andrew Ridgeley. Up front, Owen Paul actually knew where the net was. Having created that league, we failed to win it in any of the dozen years I played for the team” – Dick Mably
“Further to everyone else’s reminiscences of playing Sunday football with rock stars: I recall playing for the Green Man (Riding House Street, W1) against their next-door neighbours, ITN, when I was a nurse at the Middlesex Hospital. ITN had a ringer playing for them: Thomas Dolby of ‘She Blinded Me With Science’ fame. Quite what he was doing playing for a TV company is beyond me – I always thought he was more of a Golden Age of Wireless man” – David Marriott.
“Back in the 90’s I played for a team called Zetland in Flamin’ Sydney, Australia. Our goalkeeper was the legendary rock photographer Tony Mott and he was sometimes able to arrange kickarounds with touring artists. We played against Billy Bragg and his band, plus support act Elastica, one time. Billy, of course, played on the left wing” – Mark Jones.
“Marc Albrighton leaving Leicester is a sad day. One of the truly unsung heroes. As he was at Villa. So unsung, that he was sold by us. I was so happy when he won the league. It was a ray of sunshine in an abysmal season for Villa. A boyhood local Villa lad, dumped in favour of inferior players simply after a nice payday. You don’t hear a bad word against him, and he went through that awful trauma of losing a family member in the terror attack in Tunisia too. Even that he has now moved to West Brom, I wish him continued success. Only him, not the team!” – Antony Train.
“Following last year’s Human Rights World Cup and news of Saudi sponsorship, I’m eager to learn whether this next tournament will be the Feminism World Cup or the Women Know Your Place World Cup” – Michael Hann.
Send your letters to email@example.com. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Dick Mably.
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