100s of titles, one news app for just $10 a month.
Dive Deeper:
FA Cup final weekend football countdown – as it happened
A look back at our updates ahead of the FA Cup finals, the Championship playoffs and the penultimate weekend of…
The north London derby: thrills, spills, aggravation and the BFFP
In today’s Fiver: Spurs v Arsenal, Leeds’s lessons from Gandhi, and the lack of beef at Forest Green
Who is RAYE, the artist singing the FA Cup final national anthem before Liverpool v Chelsea?
The FA has planned a number of festivities ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final
Bringing Mother Teresa to the white-hot heat of a relegation battle
In today’s Fiver: Quotes, hiding from Lord Ferg and a big Forest Green funk
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Thomas Tuchel stays calm amid the chaos as Chelsea’s biggest asset
The head coach has faced the club’s problems head-on and with great diplomacy and an FA Cup win would be…
Alan Shearer gives Gary Lineker the middle finger after he mocks him for FA Cup failure
The two Match of the Day stars and ex-England internationals regularly poke fun at the other's trophy haul and this…
Get all your news in one place
Latest Sport news:
Djokovic, Nadal Launch French Open Bids as Swiatek Puts Streak on Line
Defending champion Novak Djokovic and 13-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal start their Roland Garros campaigns on a star-studded Monday,…
Read news from The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more, with one subscription
Learn More
Pre-War Cars Look And Sound Awesome On The Nurburgring
Superchargers, straight cut gears, and the crackle from the exhausts. Glorious!
Thrower thrilled she didn't put the hammer down
Nicole Bradley almost gave up hammer throwing a year ago, after a rough patch in her athletics career. Now she's…
Hexlox Offers Security For Your Bike's Expensive Accessories
Hexlox, a German tech startup, has designed a new magnetic lock that can prevent thieves from stealing youre bike's expensive…
Tim Anderson Shushes Yankees Crowd After Three-Run Homer
While rounding the bases after his home run, Anderson decided to give the Yankees fans a piece of his mind.
From analysis to good news, read the world’s best news in one place
Indy 500: Dixon claims pole record with 234mph average
Scott Dixon charged to his fifth Indianapolis 500 pole, concluding qualifying for next Sunday's race with a 234.046mph average -…
French Gear Maker Furygan Introduces Volt Summer Gloves
French gear and equipment manufacturer Furygan introduces the new Volt summer gloves, the perfect pair of gloves for the sporty…

Peak FA Cup magic-loss and a rival final to outrage the angriest of men

By Barry Glendenning
The Arsenal players show how FA Cup final day should be done after their 1979 Wembley win over Manchester United.
The Arsenal players show how FA Cup final day should be done after their 1979 Wembley win over Manchester United. Photograph: PA

IT’S A KIND OF MAGIC

In much the same way that the Fiver used to be much better 20 years ago, so was the FA Cup final. The TV coverage would begin at 10am with TV reporters from BBC and ITV joining the players of both teams in their hotel dining rooms for breakfast, before travelling with them on their coaches to … er, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

In those days, they’d all be suited and booted for the day and viewers would be treated to footage of them playing cards, chatting, sitting frozen in nervous terror or listening to their Walkmans (ask your folks). Invariably, some luckless sod from each team that happened to be missing the game through injury would be roped into introducing assorted teammates he thought might up for a bit of performative “banter” for the cameras. Then at 3pm, after hours of buildup the teams would kick off and 90 or 120 minutes later the famous old trophy would be handed over.

In the intervening years, it has not gone unnoticed that the FA Cup has lost so much of its magic, that even the act of pointing out it has lost its magic has lost its magic. Indeed, you could now go so far as to say that we have reached the point of peak FA Cup magic-loss, in so far as pointing out that the competition has lost its magic has not only lost its magic, but even pointing out that pointing out it has lost its magic has lost its magic.

But while FA Cup final day is a pale facsimile of the great day it once was, it is still a showpiece event well worth winning. And when Liverpool play Chelsea tomorrow at – the Fiver clutches its pearls – 4.45pm, not all but plenty of the eyes of nation will be focused on Wembley. Plenty but not the Fiver’s, because one of our idiot mates has committed the cardinal rookie error of scheduling his wedding for FA Cup final day.

But what’s this? Another FA Cup final? Available to watch on our screens on Sunday? With 50,000 tickets sold and counting, Wembley will be rocking for a second consecutive day when recently crowned WSL champions Chelsea take on Manchester City in the women’s version. And for the benefit of all those amusingly angry men who take time out of their clearly busy lives to repeatedly complain about having women’s football “rammed down our throats” it kicks off at 2.30pm and is being broadcast live on BBC One but lots of other football matches and TV stations are available.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“That moment changed my life, changed the club and everything. For me it was the best moment of my life. That moment always will be in my heart. We don’t know what would have happened if we’d lost the Premier League that year. That year changed everything because in the next years we started winning more titles” – Sergio Agüero reflects on that goal on his return to Manchester for the unveiling of a statue that looks kind of like him, if you look from the right angle.

LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE!

Join Barry Glendenning from 7.45pm BST for red hot MBM coverage of Luton 1-1 Huddersfield in the Championship playoff first leg.

RECOMMENDED LISTENING

Get your ears around the latest Football Weekly. And while we’re at it, Max, Barry and the pod squad are going back out on tour. Tickets to live shows in June and July are available here – there’s even a new date added in Dublin – so get buying.

RECOMMENDED BOOKING

A New Formation: how Black British footballers shaped the modern game. Tickets are now available for the live event, featuring Jonathan Liew, Andrew Cole and Hope Powell.

MOVING THE GOALPOSTS

The Fiver has a new sister email, folks! You don’t need to be told that it’s smarter and wittier than us – so sign up. The latest edition from Anita Asante has been sent whistling into inboxes but you can get a taste here.

FIVER LETTERS

“If you’re looking for a catchy acronym for a Champions League placing [yesterday’s Fiver], how about IGAGT – I’ve got a Golden Ticket. The melodrama that is the ECL is probably comparable to a day out at the Wonka factory” – John Lawton.

“First of 1,058 pedants etc and so on, but “NLD”, “UHD” and “GBP” aren’t acronyms, they’re abbreviations. Unless you’re actually saying out loud “Nuld”, “Errhd” and “Gebup? In which case, Fonejacker’s Mr Doovde beat you to it” – Kristian Karamfiles.

“I’m an avid reader of Fiver’s japes and sometimes wish that your disparate musings were better/funnier/more closely related to Middlesbrough FC. (It’s unfortunate geography.) That said, and having watched the PL (‘saviour of football’ TM) for many years. I would like to ask you to survey your readers with this simple question. Who is the best ‘long-haired’ (be your own judge) footballer in PL history? – Jim Beckett.

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 … Kristian Karamfiles.

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

Schteve McClaren ish shet to be the new Manchester United assistant coach. The former Lord Ferg sideman had Erik ten Hag as his own bagman back in his FC Twente daysh.

Hey, Schteve!
Hey, Schteve. Welkom! Photograph: Eric Brinkhorst/Reuters

Antonio Conte was having none of Mikel Arteta’s ref rage after Spurs won the north London derby 3-0. “In six months here [at Spurs], I have listened to him complaining a lot,” said Don Antonio. “He needs to be more calm.”

Pep Guardiola’s metamorphosis into the new José Mourinho continues, as he responded to criticism of City’s Big Cup exit by United alumni Dimitar Berbatov and Patrice Evra. “I didn’t see this kind of character and personality when we played them, when we destroyed them, with Barcelona,” he Joséd.

Robert Lewandowski wants to leave Bayern Munich and join Barcelona. “He has a contract until June 2023 and we’ll definitely have him with us for another season,” wailed Bayern suit Oli Kahn.

Fans can now vote for the Premier League’s Player of the Season. And here are the nominations: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jarrod Bowen, João Cancelo, Kevin De Bruyne, Bukayo Saka, Mohamed Salah, Son Heung-min and James Ward-Prowse.

Romelu Lukaku is set for talks on his Chelsea future but may have to wait. “It’s nonsense to speculate on negotiations: Chelsea have just defined the takeover of the club,” screamed Rom’s Mr 10%, Federico Pastorello.

STILL WANT MORE?

David Hytner says Antonio Conte played a game of high-stakes poker, and won!

Barney Ronay examines just how Spurs got the better of – and riled up – Arsenal.

From the Conference to the brink of the Premier League. Ben Fisher speaks to the good people at Luton, who take on Huddersfield tonight in the Championship playoff first leg.

Barry Glendenning on the other playoff semi, Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest.

Chelsea’s Captain America, Christian Pulisic, gets his chat on with Jonathan Liew.

Forget VAR. Free-kick vanishing spray is football’s great modern invention, writes John Earls.

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

HIS DOG ATE SOME DARK CHOCOLATE AND REDECORATED HIS KENNEL

What is inkl?
The world’s most important news, from 100+ trusted global sources, in one place.
Morning Edition
Your daily
news overview

Morning Edition ensures you start your day well informed.

No paywalls, no clickbait, no ads
Enjoy beautiful reading

Content is only half the story. The world's best news experience is free from distraction: ad-free, clickbait-free, and beautifully designed.

Expert Curation
The news you need to know

Stories are ranked by proprietary algorithms based on importance and curated by real news journalists to ensure that you receive the most important stories as they break.

Dive Deeper:
FA Cup final weekend football countdown – as it happened
A look back at our updates ahead of the FA Cup finals, the Championship playoffs and the penultimate weekend of…
The north London derby: thrills, spills, aggravation and the BFFP
In today’s Fiver: Spurs v Arsenal, Leeds’s lessons from Gandhi, and the lack of beef at Forest Green
Who is RAYE, the artist singing the FA Cup final national anthem before Liverpool v Chelsea?
The FA has planned a number of festivities ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final
Bringing Mother Teresa to the white-hot heat of a relegation battle
In today’s Fiver: Quotes, hiding from Lord Ferg and a big Forest Green funk
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Thomas Tuchel stays calm amid the chaos as Chelsea’s biggest asset
The head coach has faced the club’s problems head-on and with great diplomacy and an FA Cup win would be…
Alan Shearer gives Gary Lineker the middle finger after he mocks him for FA Cup failure
The two Match of the Day stars and ex-England internationals regularly poke fun at the other's trophy haul and this…
Get all your news in one place