We want the touchline sprint, the knee-slide and the handbags

Michael Butler
·6-min read
<span>Photograph: Matt Dunham/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Matt Dunham/Reuters


When it comes to José Mourinho, The Fiver is here for the pettiness. The drama. The staggering lack of self-awareness. Heartwarming moments on e-commerce documentaries? Stick that in your laundry basket. A Macedonian hack being granted a selfie with cuddly José? Urgh. We want the touchline sprint and knee-slides, the handbags with Arsène Wenger specialising in failure, the three-fingered salutes, one for each of his Premier League titles. We don’t keep José around for the football any more, and we’ve got to get our subscriptions’ worth somehow.

Tuesday’s Rumbelows Cup tie between Tottenham and Frank Lampard’s Chelsea was one of those evenings. When José walked the walk and talked the talk, specifically the bit where he spent most of his evening lecturing former golden boy FLC manager Frank Lampard about the dos and don’ts of touchline decorum. First, he stuck the desert boot in for FLCMFL being, imagine, a bit too gobby when Chelsea took a first-half lead. “[Effing] hell, when you’re losing 3-0 you’re not standing up here,” José volleyed across from one technical box to another, explaining the comment as a reference to when FLCMFL “was really sad and quiet in his chair” during Chelsea’s first-half 3-0 capitulation at West Brom on Saturday.

Related: Chelsea need better support from Frank Lampard at times, says Mourinho

“Stay on the touchline when your team is losing and stay calm when your team is winning,” Mourinho then opined in Tuesday’s post-match press conference, shortly after he himself had bounced down the Tottenham tunnel in victory following a penalty shoot-out win, the memories of Shearer-ing across the Camp Nou pitch (and his own advice seconds earlier) firmly removed from his mind. “The only thing I was telling him was just an opinion from an old coach to a young talented coach which was when the players need us is when they are losing,” José continued. “When they are winning we don’t need to be the protagonists of the touchline.”

One in the eye, then, for FLCMFL, to go with Chelsea’s Carling Cup exit. There were many other sub-stories to the night; Sergio Reguilón’s Spurs debut, Timo Werner’s lovely goal, Eric Dier disappearing down the tunnel for a worryingly quick comfort break mid-match and then wiping his hands all over Mason Mount in consolation after the Chelsea man had missed the decisive penalty. But there was only one narrative here. Just don’t call him a protagonist.


Join Paul Doyle from 7.15pm BST for hot MBM coverage of Birmingham City 1-2 Everton in the Women’s FA Cup semis, while Barry Glendenning will be on hand from 7.45pm for Brighton 2-3 Manchester United in the Milk Cup last 16.


“I didn’t want to be a pity story” – heart surgery forced Mark O’Brien to retire at 27 and though Newport’s former captain will miss facing Newcastle in the Milk Cup, analysing games is helping his recovery, he tells Ben Fisher.

Mark O&#x002019;Brien with Newport last year.
Mark O’Brien with Newport last year. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images


Here’s the latest star-studded Football Weekly podcast.


“After flicking through the last few instalments of The Fiver, I was staggered to see a certain Phil Davison winning the prizeless letter o’the day on 24 September. OK, having someone with the same name is not that odd but within the letter he states that he is a Sunderland fan. Wow, I thought, as I too am one of the unfortunates who happen to follow this hapless team. It doesn’t stop there. I too read The Fiver and I too find it mildly amusing that Liverpool have a goalkeeping coach. Something so trivial would never prompt me to write a letter, though. He sounds a bit weird and that’s where the similarity ends” – (The Other) Phil Davison.

“I have spent 10 years failing to find anything less inspiring than The Fiver. Then Fulham came back” – JJ Zucal.

“With Leicester signing Fofana and Castagne, is their transfer policy now centred around players who sound like French rugby internationals? I’ve thought hard for literally seconds but can’t come up with any new targets for them” – Matt Hockey.

“A six-game ban for relieving yourself on the pitch (yesterday’s Quote of the Day). Are they taking the [snip – Fiver Bad Word Ed]? As for Coleraine’s manager ‘taking it on the chin’, well I just hope [snip, snippety-snip – Fiver Taste Ed]” – John Myles (and others).

“Re: David Moyes’s potential political leanings (yesterday’s Fiver letters). Matt Richman ought to read Big Website more” – David.

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 … (The Other) Phil Davison.


“A real coup,” roared Aston Villa manager Dean Smith on the loan capture of Ross Barkley from Frank Lampard’s Chelsea. The England midfielder has taken the road not very well trodden by Danny Drinkwater – back at Frank Lampard’s Chelsea – last season.

A real coup, earlier.
A real coup, earlier. Photograph: Alastair Grant/Reuters

Eden Hazard’s woes at Real Madrid continue with the news of muscle-gah that will rule him out for the next month.

The Premier League has vowed to put a stop to the destruction of football and civilisation itself by looking at the new handball rules and softening its application.

Manchester City’s rollout of Rúben Dias’s signing did not go according to plan when the club’s official website offered Cityzens [bah, too late – Fiver Taste Ed] the chance to win a spanking new Kalidou Koulibaly shirt, their previous target to fill that aching gap in central defence.

And Donny van de Beek’s Mr 15%, Dutch legend Sjaak Swart, thinks his boy should have got more than 24 minutes so far for Ole’s army at Old Trafford. “A substitute; I don’t like it at all,” he roared. “You’d have to leave me on the bench.”


Have Borussia Dortmund become a glorified feeder club? Jonathan Liew on the fabled outfit that have won just one trophy since 2012.

Ooh, fancy.
Ooh, fancy. Composite: Getty Images

Think the Coca-Cola Cup drags on and on and on? Steven Pye remembers a time when it took Liverpool three matches to get past Arsenal.

Clubs, seeds, pots, format and more: Thursday’s Big Cup draw explained.

More goals than in the penalty shootouts that followed, the non-league career of Mike Marsh, plus Dennis Bergkamp’s plane-dodging road trips in this week’s Knowledge.

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