That distinctive spiralling trajectory many clubs are all too familiar with

first_img Coming soon … Photograph: The Guardian ETHICS WORLD CUP GUIDEHere we go, then, our bumper rundown of all 736 [SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY-SIX – Fiver vidiprinter] players at Russia 2018.SUPPORT THE GUARDIANProducing the Guardian’s thoughtful, in-depth journalism – the stuff not normally found in this email, obviously – is expensive, but supporting us isn’t. If you value our journalism, please support us by making a one-off or recurring contribution.THE FIVEЯYes, it’s our not-singing, not-dancing World Cup Fiver. Out every Thursday lunchtime BST, here’s the latest edition, a tale of Peruvian woe.FIVER LETTERS“Re: Brian Saxby (yesterday’s Fiver letters) asking whether there was a more futile expression of football addiction than watching two foreign teams playing a year-end friendly with commentary in a third foreign language. I’m a Boro fan” – Andrew Tate.“I dipped into a stretch of Saudi Arabia v Peru with Arabic commentary. The Saudis were in a green strip which was almost indistinguishable from the colour of the pitch, making it look like Peru were playing 11 (presumably) invisible men. I can’t decide if it was only half as bad, or twice as bad as it might have been. The match finished 3-0 to Peru, so perhaps the Saudis only fielded half a team. I will never know” – Graham Taylor.“I moved to Canada a few years ago. I watch MLS” – Sam Carpenter.“Mattias Lundberg appears to have taken it on himself to police the standard of jokes in The Fiver (yesterday’s letters). Does he realise the size of the job he’s taken on?” – David Hopkins (and 1,056 others).“I see Crystal Palace could be dissolved (yesterday’s News, Bits and Bobs). Is that why they disappear so quickly in the Cup?” – Mark McFadden [Mattias! – Fiver Ed].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 … Sam Carpenter.THE RECAPGet the best of Big Website’s coverage sent direct to your inbox every Friday lunchtime (BST). Has the added bonus of being on time. Sign up here.BITS AND BOBSProper Journalism’s David Conn has gone through the Premier League club accounts with a fine toothcomb and this is what he found.Juventus have bolstered their women’s squad with the acquisition of Eni Aluko. “So proud to hold the shirt worn by an endless list of legends,” she cheered. Eni in Turin. Photograph: Daniele Badolato/Juventus FC via Getty Images Facebook The Fiver Football Pinterest Share on WhatsApp THERE MAY BE TROUBLE AHEADAs if Aston Villa fans haven’t been through enough of late. Lumbered with one of the most dismal sides ever to stay in the Premier League under Alex McLeish. Subjected to nearly three whole seasons of Ambitious Paul Lambert. A large dollop of Tactics Tim, all washed down with lashings of Rémi Garde and relegation. And just last month one of the most gut-punchingly painful experiences in football – a play-off final defeat.They’ve been through the mill. And before Leyton Orient, Blackpool, Coventry and Portsmouth fans are up in arms with the perfectly understandable you-call-that-going-through-the-mill-let-me-ruddy-well-tell-you-what-going-through-the-mill-really-is-when-i-were-a-lad-all-this-were-fields routine, hold your fire. Villa’s path all of a sudden has that distinctive spiralling trajectory many of those clubs – and others – are all too familiar with. Facebook Twitter Share on Pinterest Premier League finances: the full club-by-club breakdown and verdict Pinterest Zings! Composite: Frank Hulley-Jones What have Brazil got up their sleeves? And why is Miranda a vital cog in their defence? Click here and here to find out.Óscar Duarte is so good he can even unite Costa Rica and Nicaragua, reckons Esteban Valverde. Meanwhile Marco Marín has the lowdown on what to expect from Los Ticos.Luis Monti lost the World Cup final in 1930 with Argentina so had another crack with Italy four years later and won it.What is the most alphabetically top-heavy football league? The Knowledge, as ever, has the answer.Brazil working man’s XI mainstay Fred could be just what José Mourinho is looking for, writes Nick Miller.Like a leathery rock band, England are better out on the road than staying at home, suggests Louise Taylor.Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!IT’S ALREADY HAPPENING Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Read more Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Facebook Topics Twitter Reuse this content You see, Villa face the threat of being served with a winding up petition by HMRC after failing to fork over their tax bill – the not insignificant amount of £4m – last week. News of that missed payment came just after the unrelated announcement that chief suit, Keith Wyness, had been suspended. Dr Tony Xia, the club’s owner who, it has been reported, is struggling to get his money out of China, last week released a statement pointing out the club faces “severe FFP challenges next season”, that “we need to change a lot of things” and, perhaps most ominously of all: “I am an Aston Villa fan. But I am also a businessman.” That’s how it always starts. Later there’s running, screaming and Trevor Birch. The first result seems likely to be a firesale of players, with Tenerife’s Jack Grealish, Villa’s one big-money playing asset, likely to be among the first out of the door. Either way, defeat at Wembley might not prove the nadir – the odds on Villa tumbling into League One, um, tumbled from 25-1 to 6-1 overnight.QUOTE OF THE DAY“To be honest with you, we’ve remained the same. Our values, our beliefs and our integrity – which we’ve always had – have been retained. Our culture of togetherness – which we’ve always had – has remained the same” – England’s Nikita Parris gets her chat on with Louise Taylor.FREE IN THIS WEEKEND’S BIG PAPERS …… get our 100-page definitive guide to the World Cup on Saturday, featuring Marcel Desailly, Marina Hyde, David Squires and our inimitable team guides. In Big Sunday Paper, you’ll find our essential large glossy wallchart. Get those pencils sharpened. features Unai Emery plans to pay tribute to his Arsenal predecessor and raid the French leagues for a teenage whelp: in this case PSG’s 17-year-old midfielder Yacine Adli.Diogo Dalot has completed his move to Manchester United from Porto. “He has all the attributes that a full-back needs: physicality, tactical intelligence and technical quality, combined with a Porto Academy mentality which prepares players for the maturity they need at the professional level,” honked José Mourinho as Luke Shaw ducked for cover.Marcus Edwards, once dubbed “mini Messi” by Mauricio Pochettino, has taken himself to Tottenham’s door marked Do One.Former Hannover manager Daniel Stendel is now known as Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel. “He has a style of play that matches the mentality of club and town, it’s attacking with flair and high intensity designed to press the opposition,” parped chief suit Gauthier Ganaye to the shock of local brass bands and mining fans.And Argentina have cancelled their controversial World Cup warm-up against Israel. “They’ve finally done the right thing,” sniffed Gonzalo Higuaín.STILL WANT MORE?It’s only Iker Casillas picking his all-time Spain XI! 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