TUESDAY'S BIG STORIES
Football’s Coming Home… in 2030… if FIFA say yes
So football’s probably not coming home.
Spurs confirm Mason as interim boss for remainder of season
But as the UK government tries to cover their tracks after a choppy 12 months – “Not filled your passenger location form in? Why, come on in...” – and keep Ireland on side after Brexit, their latest diversion tactic is to hype up a five-nation bid for the 2030 World Cup.
“We are very, very keen to bring football home in 2030. I do think it’s the right place,” Boris Johnson told The Sun.
It’s the home of football, it’s the right time. It will be an absolutely wonderful thing for the country.
Of course, there’s absolutely no chance FIFA actually want this. Firstly, imagine their fury at having to award automatic places to England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland in a tournament where, at best, two of them would qualify through ability. Secondly, FIFA likely strongly dislike the UK (well, England) due to their involvement in the power-and-cash-hungry European Super League. Thirdly, this is just a PR mission to prove how wonderful life is outside the EU and dissuade the Scots from playing their second referendum card. And fourthly, if five nations are hosting the tournament, then which one is "the home of football", Boris? All of them?
Still, we’re not going to lie that we’re a little excited at the idea of a World Cup hitting our shores during our lifetime – if you’re reading this and were alive in 1966, thanks for choosing the Warm-Up in retirement – but can we just please get the current situation, y’know the scary pandemic, out of the way before we do anything else?
If there’s one thing we know about Big Boris, it’s that you can’t put him on a leash. He’s also offering to host other matches at Euro 2020, should UEFA change their plans for the country-hopping extravaganza.
“We are hosting the Euros. We are hosting the semis and the final,” he added. “If there’s, you know, if they want any other matches that they want hosted, we’re certainly on for that but at the moment that’s where we are with UEFA.”
Just get that vaccine in all the arms first, please.
The mother of top four races
What’s the point of living if you don’t make outrageous claims on the internet? So here’s one for you keen bookmarkers.
At least one of Everton, West Ham and Aston Villa will be playing in the Champions League next season. Actually, that wasn’t outrageous enough. TWO of Everton, West Ham and Asto… err, let’s just stick with one for now.
Everton proved they’re far more than James Rodriguez FC as they beat Set Piece FC 1-0 at Goodison Park without their star attraction. And while it wasn't vintage football, the result carried them to within two points of the fourth-placed Hammers with a game in hand. Just six points separate fourth and ninth, while Villa will propel themselves into the picture if they win their two games in hand.
In these turbulent times, why can’t the old guard be uprooted?
The Premier League is just a never-ending collection of competitive training sessions right now, with the absence of spectators meaning teams that are usually held back (West Ham) and teams that are usually propelled forward (Liverpool) by their fans have met in the middle. And that's created a glorious spectacle for the final third of the season.
So you want a ridiculously early prediction? OK. 1. Manchester City, 2. Manchester United, 3. Chelsea, 4. West Ham. Cancel the season now, it's settled.
(What a) mess que un club
Not only are they terrible. Not only is their best player keen to leave. Not only are they stuck in an election where potential presidents-to-be are one-upping each other with ludicrous transfer targets. But now their former president is waking up behind bars, according to many reports.
Josep Maria Bartomeu’s reported arrest on Monday followed a police raid at the club’s offices. Four arrests were made, although the identities have not been revealed.
"FC Barcelona express its utmost respect for the judicial process in place and for the principle of presumed innocence for the people affected within the remit of this investigation," read a club statement.
We eagerly await the next twist...
IN THE CHANNELS
Broadcast the referee feed!
It may sound good, but this would definitely end in disaster and that's why we're fully on board.
A very happy 49th birthday to Mauricio Pochettino! Why not celebrate by watching yourself get too involved in a game of keepie-uppie with Luke Shaw?
Getting in on the act simply does not work in high-scoring, could-go-either-way thrillers (more on those later) because it is an overwhelmingly one-sided concept. Got in on the act is essentially a more subtle, more polite, professionally impartial way of saying, How s*** must you be? Even (infrequent/relatively unlikely goalscorer X) has scored. With just five words, you’re implying the scoreline, recognising a novelty goalscorer and mocking the team on the receiving end in the process. That level of sophistication deserves to be used correctly and not when Alfredo Morelos has put Rangers 1-0 up after nine minutes.
You may remember the name Adam Hurrey, a former Warm-Up-er, who has gone onto smaller and worser things. Here he is in The Athletic dissecting the language of football. You will have to pay for the privilege to read it so we’ve lifted the best bit above. Don’t say we don’t treat you.
Wolves end Manchester City’s 20-match winning streak at the Etihad (20:00).
Please direct hate mail about that top four prediction to Marcus Foley at Eurosport Towers. He's here tomorrow to bask in the vitriol.
Nagelsmann, Allegri, King, Potter? The contenders to replace Mourinho at Spurs
PSG's unsung heroes making the difference in Champions League challenge