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Maybe his plan is just so high-brow that we mere minions do not understand it?


Possibly because The Fiver is often incapable of concocting one itself, it likes having a plan in place. Footballers, it would seem, quite appreciate having one too. Or at least one that extends beyond sending it long to a healthy head of hair in the hope that the ball will cushion down from it and land in front of a red shirt. It is the biggest one direction since Simon Cowell was inspired to put five talentless lads together and get them to sing. Now that was a good plan. Louis van Gaal, however, appears to have no time for complex strategising. Louis is too busy being smart after the event, the event in case being a 2-1 FA Cup beating by Arsenal. “A match shall be decided by goals and this match has been decided by goals,” he said last night, hinting that he may finally be getting the hang of this football lark.

That the man who decided the match by scoring a goal was not considered good enough by Van Gaal made it all the much sweeter for those not of a Manchester United persuasion. Although it was not taken too kindly in the stands at Old Trafford where a mixture of boos and applause from the home fans when Danny Welbeck was being substituted led to two middle-aged men coming to blows in the usually prosaic confines of the Lord Ferg stand. It ended with a comical head-butt from behind and The Fiver reckons it is too easy to make a joke about there being more fight in the stands than on the pitch. Yet more proof that the dark days are very much on their way back and also a case to strengthen the no-celebration crew’s argument.

Then again, perhaps The Fiver is being a bit harsh on Van Gaal – maybe his plan is just so highbrow that we mere minions do not understand it? It could well be going completely over our heads. Still, it’s obvious that Van Gaal is getting increasingly tetchy at journalists he largely considers parasitic. He is not quite at Lord Ferg puce-faced barking level but he is getting there. “You are very happy to say that [Falcao hasn’t scored enough]. I see that in your face,” he sniped at one hack last night before storming out of the room. Very happy may not be the right choice of phrase because seeing a player as gifted as Falcao do a Torres and perform as a shadow of his previous self is not very enjoyable. No way, not at all. But it is absolutely hilarious to watch €50m worth of talent sit on the bench while a player you let go for £16m is defeating you.

Schadenfreude is what they apparently call it, though Van Gaal is unlikely to take much notice of that, even if he did lock himself into a monastery for a month and immerse himself in intensive German lessons when he took the Bayern Munich job. Bayern are in Big Cup action tomorrow; on last night’s evidence, United are nowhere near ready to rejoin the elite.


Join Scott Murray from 7.45pm GMT for MBM coverage of Real Madrid 3-1 Schalke (5-1 agg), while Jacob Steinberg will be in situ for Porto 2-0 FC Basel/Basle/Baaaaaarrrl (3-1 agg).


4 March: “I don’t believe that a change of manager would lead to different results Authentic Prada Handbags Outlet Uk … I am fully supportive of the manager” – Millwall chairman John Berylson vows not to cave in to fan pressure and sack Ian Holloway.

10 March: Caves.

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Photograph: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images


“Well done to Anthony Ujah for making an actual real apology (yesterday’s Quote of the Day). In this world of ‘Sorry if About Prada Products anyone was offended by …’ and ‘I regret the consequences of my actions …’ and ‘I apologise, but …’, it’s nice to hear someone just say sorry. Even if it was to a goat” – Matt Dony.

“Was Socrates during the Greek times as irritating as Louis van Gaal? Both of them seemed to keep talking about philosophy without no tangible contribution to mankind” – V Vikas.

“Farewell then, Ian Holloway. Instead of the usual bookies’ list of who will take over at Millwall, could they open a book on where Holloway will be next employed? I’d stick good money on him turning up at Jongleurs FC” – Darren Leathley.

• Send your letters to [email protected] And if you’ve nothing better to do you can also tweet the Fiver. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is: Matt Dony.


Chances are that if you’re reading this tea-timely football email, you’re almost certainly single. But fear not – if you’d like to find companionship or love, sign up here to view profiles of the kind of erudite, sociable and friendly folk who would never normally dream of going out with you. And don’t forget, it’s not the rejection that kills you, it’s the hope.


Here, for your aural pleasure, is the latest edition of the Football Weekly podcast.

And said plug! England v Lithuania not doing it for you? Then come and see AC Jimbo and the pod squad try and out-entertain Mr Roy’s Boys at Wembley. It’s Football Weekly Live in London on Friday 27 March.


Despite About Prada Products not deserving to be televised after the filth served up at Valley Parade on Saturday, Bradford’s FA Cup quarter-final at Reading will be on the BBC next Monday.

T1ttle-tattle-peddling Inter coach Roberto Mancini reckons his former player Yaya Touré wants to quit Manchester City for a move to Italy. “If, as seems to be the case, he wants to try Bicester Village Prada Refund Serie A we’ll look into the possibility [of signing him] but it won’t be easy,” he winked, presumably on Authentic Prada Factory Outlet Online his way to the baker’s.

Qatar should be stripped of the 2022 World Cup in order to rectify the mistake of awarding them the tournament, says outgoing Fifa Exco member Theo Zwanziger. “They may be able to cool the stadiums but a World Cup does not take place only there,” parped Zwanziger. “Fans from around the world will be coming and travelling in this heat and the first life-threatening case Bicester Village Prada Refund will trigger an investigation by a state prosecutor. That is not something Fifa Exco members want to answer for.”

And aforementioned Cologne goat-yanker Anthony Ujah has pitched up to wish Hennes a happy eighth birthday. It’s that slow a day.

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Photograph: Marius Becker/Dpa/Corbis


Barney Ronay wants to talk about Manchester United and definitely not referee Michael Oliver. OK, then, a bit about referee Michael Oliver.

It’s difficult to understand why Ángel di María has turned into an inconsistent, uninterested winger. Let Michael Cox explain.

Jonathan Johnson chats with PSG’s Gregory van der Wiel.

David Beckham’s Miami MLS franchise is running out of false starts, reports Ewan Murray.

Gus Poyet is slap-bang in the middle of a perfect storm at Sunderland, writes Louise Taylor.

We asked for your takes on the Alan Shearer statue for this week’s Gallery. Here’s what you came up with.

Photograph: Photomontage

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


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