Classic scenarios from the Comedy 101 playbook

A bad weekend for Carlo Ancelotti
A bad weekend for Carlo Ancelotti. Photograph: Michael Regan/PA
A bad weekend for Carlo Ancelotti. Photograph: Michael Regan/PA

Last modified on Mon 15 Feb 2021 11.34 EST


It was a Valentine’s Day to remember for Granny Fiver, who spent the afternoon reminiscing, sweet sepia-toned memories of courting dearly departed Clive Dunn Fiver, a happy, nostalgic, 46.8% ABV juniper-flavoured tear rolling down her cheek. Weird Uncle Fiver enjoyed it too, receiving a card that looked roughly the same dimensions as a collectable magazine and locking himself in the bathroom to read it for five hours. But it wasn’t so good for The Fiver, who didn’t get any cards, chocolates, flowers or vintage bongo, again, or Everton, who meekly surrendered at home to Fulham, for goodness sake, their latest bid to get ahead of that useless shower over the park seemingly going the same way of all the other 387 attempts since 1988.

If that wasn’t painful enough for Carlo Ancelotti, the Everton manager fell victim at the weekend to one of the classic scenarios from the Comedy 101 playbook: somebody stole his safe. Having been removed from Carlo Mansions by two enterprising gentlemen in matching black clothing, a sartorial tribute perhaps to Neville Southall, the safe was subsequently dumped in a local car park. Fans of cheap metaphor and facile tactical analysis will be delighted to hear that the code had easily been cracked and the door was wide open.

The local constabulary have their best men, DCI Charlie Barlow and PC Fancy Smith, on the case. But it’s not easy gathering evidence with a piccolo-heavy theme tune ringing in your ears, and at the time of writing no arrests have been made. The Feds are understandably keeping their cards close to their chest, so have not disclosed the contents of the safe, whether said contents were stolen, or if Ancelotti was sitting in the front room binging a blu-ray box set of Softly, Softly while the heist was going on.

Whatever, it’s the last thing the Everton boss needs. Now, when he should be planning ahead for Everton’s 22-man bench-emptying brawl with Liverpool next weekend, he’s got to go shopping for a big safe to put his safe in. That scenario’s on page two of the Comedy 101 playbook, incidentally. You’re welcome.


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“We are in a good flow. We have won the last four matches while Liverpool have not won five out of their last seven. They are the slight favourites based on their international experience but we have shown that we can hold our own against such teams, both last year and this season with a very tough group stage. We have clearly developed as a team” – RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann shows a criminal disregard for his media training by giving an engaging, balanced and honest preview of his side’s Big Cup tie against Liverpool.

It’s Nagelsmann! Photograph: Boris Streubel/Getty Images


“I have every faith that David Beckham’s Adidas v Puma documentary will be balanced and straight down the middle – it’s not as though he’s got a multi-million-pound lifetime sponsorship deal with one of the subjects” – Jim Hearson.

“I think that between print and broadcast punditry this weekend we explored the topic of what could be in Gareth Bale’s head as much as we could, without getting any insight into the contents. Until we trip over a staggeringly disloyal mate, or he has startlingly unprofessional sports psychologist we will never know more. As Harry Pearson once said of Don Goodman, he could be wondering whether fish burp. Actually, that would explain things” – Jon Millard.

“Re: Bayern Munich beating Chelsea and Liverpool to the signing of Dayot Upamecano. He really sounds like a player you can build a team around, not just another cog in the machine – he might strut around a bit, but he’s a hard nut who could bolt after anyone who tries to screw with him. That said, it’s a big step up at such a young age, and in the event he flops I wouldn’t be surprised if Bayern ship him out to Dynamo Kiev, Lokomotiv Moscow or maybe even Metallist Kharkhiv” – Tom Murray-Rust.

Send your letters to [email protected]. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day prize is … Tom Murray-Rust.


Today’s commute from the office to the sofa is all taken care of: Football Weekly has landed!

It’s Max and Barry!
It’s Max and Barry! Photograph: James Drew Turner/The Guardian


Jürgen Klopp has dismissed rumours that he is about to do one from Anfield. “I don’t need a break,” he growled. “No one has to worry about me. Now we are in this situation, I see it as a challenge.”

Anthony Martial was racially abused again on Instagram after Man Utd’s 1-1 at West Brom. Here’s a precis of Instagram’s response:

The Pope’s Newc O’Rangers are investigating whether any of their players were at a Glasgow house party that was broken up by polis in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Only two players or staff tested positive in the latest round of Premier League Covi-19 testing.

Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett is taking a short break from the job so that he can undertake an unspecified medical procedure. Joe Gallen will take over as caretaker manager.

And Borussia Mönchengladbach have confirmed coach Marco Rose will do one at the end of the season to take over at Borussia Dortmund.


Gareth Bale and Liverpool’s sentimentality monsters feature in our round-up of a busy weekend in the Premier League.

Red-hot composite action, right here.
Red-hot composite action, right here. Composite: Getty/Shutterstock/NMC

Andy Brassell on Dayot Upamecano’s transfer to Bayern Munich and all the other Bundesliga news.

Nicky Bandini on a romantic weekend in Serie A, which included a famous win for Spezia against Milan

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