Hello reader. It’s scorching outside and we don’t do well in the heat – it scrambles our brain and plays havoc with our decision-making. The last time it was this hot we went to buy milk and ended up asleep on a pedalo in Grimsby. So we’ve decided to spend our time indoors watching TV instead. There’s a new documentary out about Paul Pogba, you see. It’s called the Pogmentary. Yes, really. Some Amazon Prime creatives came up with that. Perhaps the heat got to them, too. Anyway, the Pogmentary has created other headlines because in one scene with his late Mr 20%, Mino Raiola, the France midfielder describes a £300,000-per-week contract offer from Manchester United as “nothing”. It’s not gone down well with United fans and The Fiver would pay good money to see Graeme Souness’s reaction to it. His moral outrage from him probably caused the buttons on his fitted shirt to pop off and land in his Martini from him.
Obviously, £300,000 a week is not “nothing”. People have sounded off about his dismissive comment being disgraceful during a cost-of-living crisis, but the last time The Fiver looked, Pogba wasn’t residing in 10 Downing Street, which is a shame as even though his form is patchy, he could probably do a much better job than the man who is. He seems a lot kinder for a start. In one scene he is shown walking around Manchester at night chatting with homeless people and giving them food. He also seems like a good dad and, unlike Boris Johnson, he appears to know how many kids he has and engages with them in a playful and loving way.
What Pogba’s reaction to the offer does show is how many footballers seem to be influenced by the people around them. Pogba has had a lawyer since he was barely out of school and both she and Raiola may not have been forthcoming with the hard truth when it was necessary in his undercooked return to Old Trafford. Of course, when it comes to making decisions about his job, he does not really think like an ordinary person because he has voices in both ears, telling him how much he is worth. The real question is: at £89m has Pogba given Manchester United value for money? Everyone knows the answer to that. The documentary boasts that Pogba “dares to express himself” and though that might be true, for much of his time at United he was more influential in the dressing room than on the pitch, where in his latter years, just getting Bruno Fernandes to pass to him was a success.
There’s some nice animation in the series and a weird trailer where Pogba as a child is displayed scoring the goals of his adult self netted. The best of those come at Juventus, where he was a boss in midfield until 2016 before parking his career for six years. Juve look likely to sign Pogba on a free and give him the cash and status he is told that he deserves. The Fiver would love to see him lauding it in black and white again, though we can’t help but think he’s joined the Italian Manchester United – a superclub with a hotchpotch of players painfully struggling to get back to their best but with no clear plan how to achieve that. Oh Paul, how could you!
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We think the global footprint of this sport is really undeveloped. There are four billion fans of European football. There are 170 million fans of the NFL. Global club football is a fraction of the NFL media money. We are also going to be thinking about: how do we get more revenues for the players?” – new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly hopes to use an American model to develop the game’s financial potential and help his players build better personal brands. Oh football!
“Re: your request for donations to the prizes for the letters section (yesterday’s Last Line). I have a godawful lamp with two, yes two, absolutely irrelevant giraffes attached to it. You’re more than welcome to it. Yours in hope” – Dot Unwin.
“Dribbling from free-kicks, you say (yesterday’s Quote of the Day)? Took me back 32 years to a last-minute Plow Lane loss against Luton. It’s not that clear from the footage at 42 seconds other than Martin Tyler’s commentary – but believe me, David Preece really did take the free-kick to himself” – James Bolton.
“Among all this about kick-ins (yesterday’s Quote of the Day), has anyone mentioned that they were tried in the Isthmian League in 1994-95 and, as this forum quite conclusively demonstrates, were dreadful. Effectively, the game is reduced to a tactical battle to win a kick-in in the other half, before then spending an inordinate amount of time preparing to blooter a hopeful ball into the box for the big men. If you can’t be bothered to watch the epic Chertsey v Dorking video linked in the forum (and I urge you, watch it, if only for the introduction) the issue is well illustrated just by this bit. I’ll get off now, my bobble hat is weighed down by so many pin badges, my head hurts” – Jon Millard.
“Fiver merchandise is a great idea (yesterday’s Fiver letters). The possibilities are fun to think about. Pint glasses, shot glasses and liquor flasks are obvious ideas. But you should also team up with a brewery to sell cans of cheap lager called Fiver Tin. Maybe a teacup that reads ‘The Fiver’s late again’? How about T-shirts that say ‘Weird Uncle Fiver’, ‘$exually Repressed Morris Dancing Fiver’, ‘Shortbread McFiver’, etc? I think Fiver football shirts that say ‘STOP FOOTBALL’ where the sponsor name usually appears would be a hit. Name on the back: ‘Pedant’, number 1,057. Take my money” – Dan Davis.
Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Dan Davis.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Sadio Mané will do one for Bayern Munich after Liverpool accepted their latest bid for the Senegal forward.
Next season’s Premier League opener at Selhurst Park could produce some entertaining chants given Arsenal have agreed to buy Porto’s Fábio Vieira for £34m.
The World Cup 2026 venues in Canada, Mexico and USA! USES!! USES!!! have been unveiled, including the swoon-tastic BBVA Bancomer Stadium in Monterrey.
Despite being sacked by Blackpool after an 11-game spell in charge at the turn of 2013, Michael Appleton has been given another chance there as manager.
And fans of classy touches will appreciate Ben Mee bidding farewell to Turf Moor with a full-page advertisement in the Burnley Express. “Thank you to you, the fans, who have helped make my 11 years at the club so special,” he cheered.
STILL WANT MORE?
If keeping tabs on transfers is your thing, Ed Aarons has 10 for you.
Paul MacInnes on football’s boos problem.
Sarina Wiegman is turning England Women into contenders, reckons Louise Taylor.
And if it’s your thing Tim… you can
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