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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Barry Glendenning

Ryan Reynolds, rom-com royalty and a general lack of FA Cup ‘magic’

Ryan Reynolds watches Wrexham v Sheffield United.
The FA Cup will do it to you. Photograph: Paul Currie/Colorsport/Shutterstock


On a weekend of FA Cup fourth-round action, when arguably the most “magic” thing to happen was the vanishing act performed by Luton Town midfielder Luke Berry as he disappeared headfirst over an advertising hoarding at one end of Kenilworth Road, the only major giant-killing of note came on Friday night when Arsenal were slain by the plucky underdogs of Manchester City, despite the two sides being separated by a whopping one place at the apex of the English football pyramid.

Luke Berry of Luton Town goes over LED boards against Grimsby.
Now you see him … Photograph: Michael Zemanek/Shutterstock

The following day, Tony Mowbray’s Mackems shoved it up to Premier League high-flyers Fulham, but ultimately had to settle for a draw at Craven Cottage after their 15-year-old super sub Chris Rigg had what would have been a Boy’s Own winner chalked off because he scored it past his bedtime, while Grimsby and Ipswich also remain in the hat after commendable draws with opposition from divisions above. They will learn of the potential rewards on offer when the fifth-round draw is conducted on The One Show, sandwiched between a Gyles Brandreth feature on Victorian fob chains and an interview with rom-com royalty Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher. The pair are due in studio to wax lyrically and enthusiastically about their new movie in which they play best friends and total opposites who – spoiler! – eventually get it on.

And so to Sunday, when Liverpool’s latest defeat to Brighton and Stevenage’s inability to “do it” on a cold afternoon in Stoke meant it was left up to Wrexham to serve up the fairytale we all craved, by bridging a gap of 70 places against Sheffield United at the Racecourse Ground. Cheered on by co-owner Deadpool Reynolds and the majority of a 10,000 crowd, things were looking extremely bleak for the nouveau riche club it’s OK to like after they found themselves a goal and two knacked centre-halves down inside 10 minutes. But like a dishonourably discharged special forces operative-turned-mercenary who’s just left his girlfriend so she won’t have to deal with his illness, they rallied in heroic fashion to turn things around. Ultimately it was their far more exalted opposition who will have considered themselves lucky to escape with a money-spinning sequel that almost certainly won’t be as entertaining as the original.

On Monday, the last of the scheduled fourth-round ties takes place, when Derby County entertain West Ham. While David Moyes’s Premier League strugglers are the favourites, they travel to Pride Park to play a side that is unbeaten in 14 League One games and looking for their seventh consecutive win. Given West Ham’s comparatively atrocious recent form it could be argued we are guaranteed some manner of upset, whichever of the sides wins.


Join Michael Butler from 8pm GMT for hot FA Cup MBM coverage of Derby 2-1 West Ham, which will follow updates on the fifth round draw.


“My staff and I are ready and eager to help get this great club back on track. I know about Everton’s passionate fanbase and how precious this club is to them. We’re ready to work and ready to give them what they want. That starts with sweat on the shirt, effort and getting back to some of the basic principles of what [this club] has stood for for a long time” – after dragging things out over the weekend, Everton finally unveil Sean Dyche as their new manager.

Sean Dyche gets his shiny big reveal.
Sean Dyche gets his shiny big reveal. Photograph: Tony McArdle/Everton FC/Getty Images


Re: the Rod Stewart in Spain picture from 1982 (Friday’s Memory Lane, full email edition). It was at about that time that my occasional Sunday team ‘Los Astros Del Sol’ (away games mainly with a gem of a fixture list, which started life as a pub team in Notting Hill playing on Wormwood Scrubs before their brand of Samba football and hospitality made them an ‘in-demand’ item on the London scene) played a match where the opponents’ spindly-looking sub in a raincoat who looked like Rod Stewart, turned out to be … Rod Stewart. He had a nice touch on the ball but didn’t like a tackle” – Tony Riley.

First off … long-time lurker from the Canadian Prairies (Saskatoon), first-time writer. Steve Burton’s letter regarding the use of ‘canon’ to mark red-card send-offs (Friday’s Football Daily letters), may have missed the real opportunity. The more attractive image is that of 21 Canon SLRs flashing in unison, like so many cannons in a row” –Robert Jardine.

Following James Brook (Friday’s letters) who felt deprived by the absence of the word ‘tooted’ in Wednesday’s edition, I was similarly affected by the lack of ‘the door marked Do One’ on Friday, despite two opportunities to use it. If The Man has told you to ease off on the catchphrases, he or she needs to think about what that would leave” – Robert Blanchard.

I wonder if the Sean Dyche who ‘was the one manager who cared about [Keith Treacy] as a person’ (Friday’s Football Daily) is any relation to the Sean Dyche who told Patrick Bamford he was too soft to be a professional footballer because he turned up at the club with his parents” – Robert Heath.

Can I be the first of 1,057 people to suggest it would be funny if Sean Dyche showed Everton the exact same reverence he has previously supposedly shown natural and ancient wonders of the world. As with the Grand Canyon, it’s entirely conceivable Dyche will describe the mess that is the current state of Everton with: “I’ve seen it, what else have I got to see, I’m just looking at this big hole’” – Ed Taylor (and no others).

Send your letters to Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Tony Riley.

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