The Fiver | A collective sigh of relief blowing through the red half of Merseyside | Football

JK HOWLING

While the cliche of scousers frantically urging each other to “calm down, calm down” is a lazy one, The Fiver is willing to bet its bottom dollar there were no shortage of Liverpool fans doing exactly that earlier on Tuesday. Out of the blue, the shock news that a famous German football manager named Jürgen had suddenly resigned was announced, prompting the red half of Merseyside to go into total meltdown.

With calm duly restored and a collective sigh of relief blowing through Britain like Storm Ciara, it emerged that, contrary to the worst fears of Liverpool fans, the now ex-gaffer boasting the initials “JK” on his club gilet is in fact Jürgen Klinsmann, who has stepped down as boss of Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin after just 10 weeks at the helm. Having taken over in late November, steered the club out of the relegation zone and spent around £70m on a January transfer trolley dash, the World Cup winner seemed to be on top of his brief but cited a lack of solidarity and trust from suits unspecified as the reason for his decision to quit.

“We were on a good path and despite difficult games had moved six points away from the relegation spots,” he explained on social media disgrace FaceSpace. “I am totally convinced that Hertha will stay up. But for that task to be completed, as head coach I need the trust of all those involved. In the fight against relegation unity, solidarity and concentration are the key elements. If they are not guaranteed then I cannot deliver on my full potential as a coach and cannot live up to my responsibilities.”

Having swallow-dived into Berlin’s Olympiastadion promising to keep Hertha up and transform them into title contenders with the financial backing of major investor Lars Windhorst, Klinsmann will remain at the club as part of the “supervisory board” upon which he sat before taking over from Ante Covic. “We were surprised about this development,” parped Hertha in a club statement. “Especially after the trusting cooperation regarding personnel decisions during the intensive winter transfer window, there was no sign of this. We will inform you about further developments in due course.”

While the club come to terms with this shock news, Klinsmann’s assistant, Alexander Nouri, has been put in charge, while his former boss sets about the process of calming things down by helping to identify and appoint his own replacement.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“In Paris, I missed the chance to become the best coach in the world. I won the league, four domestic cups and two Trophées des Champions. But the ultimate goal was [Big Cup]. The first year, in the round of 16 against Barcelona, we played a really high-level first leg. In the return leg, we were knocked out because VAR didn’t yet exist” – Unai Emery there, with an interesting take on what caused his career to nosedive.

RECOMMENDED LOOKING

Dele Alli, Duncan Ferguson and Sean Dyche feature in David Squires’s spanking cartoon on the Premier League’s winter break. You can buy it here.

Be afraid.



Be afraid. Illustration: David Squires/The Guardian

FIVER LETTERS

“I’ve noticed a recent trend of letter o’ the day being awarded to people for simply reporting on something witty that others had done instead of actually writing something funny themselves. I can’t imagine why anyone at The Fiver would think that sort of thing is worth rewarding – Scott L Henderson.

“Down here in the land of Oz, Guardian Australia regularly conducts opinion polls on the state of our political leaders. This fortnight for example, PM Scott Morrison has an approval rating of 39%, and more than half the sample, 52%, disapprove of his performance. Fiver readers’ perspicacity and influence is almost greater than I thought. The poll’s sample size is 1,056 respondents” – Stephen Hodgson.

“Fun fact: rhinos may have thick skin, but their derma is actually quite sensitive and can be easily scarred. The comparison between these majestic unicorns and Everton’s sometimes-majestic No 1 (yesterday’s Fiver) may be even more apt than thought, with the Netherlands’ former choice between the sticks now sitting between the subs at Goodison, Pickford may find his position in the pecking order ‘endangered’” – Matt Richman.

A sensitive beast.



Another sensitive beast. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

“Re: Jordan Pickford moaning that everyone hates England players, I can confirm, as a Scotsman, that this is 100% true” – Mathew Conway.

“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 … Stephen Hodgson.

RECOMMENDED LISTENING

The latest Football Weekly podcast is right here! And tickets are also on sale for the next live show in London.

Football Weekly

Blades cut loose, seven-goal thrillers and scheduled tweets

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

Former Celtic captain Jackie McNamara is seriously ill in hospital after collapsing near his home in York.

Dele Alli is facing a possible FA charge over a post on social media disgrace SnapTok in which he appeared to mock an Asian man and claimed he might be infected with the coronavirus.

A 12-year-old boy has been charged in connection with racist chants against Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos.

Manchester United have asked for permission to install rail seating for up to 1,500 fans at Old Trafford. “It is fantastic news that the world’s most famous club is seeking to enhance spectator safety in this way,” cheered Jon Darch of the Safe Standing campaign group.

Meanwhile, Ed Woodward has backed Ole Gunnar Solskjær to lead United’s summer spending. “Our focus is on bringing in a combination of experience and the best young players with potential to develop further,” he blathered.

And Adrián has revealed he spent a steamy night sleeping with the Super Cup after his penalty-saving heroics in last year’s final. “James [Milner] told me to take the trophy with me for the night. It took me several seconds to realise he really meant it. Getting into the room with the Super Cup, my first title … awesome,” phwoared the Liverpool goalkeeper.

STILL WANT MORE?

Remember when Fulham’s Pajtim Kasami channeled Marco van Basten to traction-engine home a stunning volley against Palace? Will Unwin does, and chatted about it with him for our latest Golden Goal.

Géd Houllier’s achievements at Liverpool are undervalued, writes Sachin Nakrani, who corrects the record with this long read.

Ed Aarons investigates why teams in England’s top two divisions are taking sizeable loans from an Australian bank.

Proper Journalism’s David Conn praises Everton for temporarily reining it in with the gambling advertising and appearing against Palace endorsing the club’s community work on their shirts.

Some gossips reckon Pep Guardiola’s going to Juve, and The Mill has blasted their speculation out to all and sundry.

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




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