Ralf Rangnick, the Gideon Osborne of football | Soccer


Everyone knows someone sickeningly good at landing themselves a sweet new gig. Schmoozing, getting coffee, doing beers, touching base, LinkedTok, all a mystery to those who serve in the galley of the good ship Fiver, serving you meagre morsels of tea-time bitterness. For The Fiver, the job interview is something to send the ticker into overdrive, all that talk of where you see yourself in five years (here, probably… er, hopefully). And how, if anything, you are too much of a perfectionist. You get up, offer your clammy paws for a handshake, leave the room and then realize your flies were undone all that time, and then, a couple of days later, you are thanked for your application and wished the best for the future.

No such problems for Ralf Rangnick. The Gideon Osborne of fußball is to be the new Austrian national team coach, a role he will fulfil alongside the two-year consultancy role he landed at Manchester United to follow on from his current interim manager position. As season’s end approaches, Big Red are on course for the same 64 points total posted in the David Moyes annus horribilis of 2013-14, though only should they win their final three matches. On Monday, Brentford visited Old Trafford, Thomas Frank having gained a taste for poking the eye of the elite.

Who’s responsible? Well, Ole Gunnar Solskjær sobbed his last after the 12th Premier League match of the season, a 4-1 loss at Watford, leaving Ralfie 26 matches to turn things around before he donned his Chinese consultancy, having laid strong foundations for the next man. The evidence of Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea, where Cristiano Ronaldo scored the equalizer and the rest of United’s players shuffled around like schoolboys asked to perform contemporary dance, was that Ralfie has done no such thing. He will probably be best reminded by Top Reds for telling it like it is: that United are bloody rubbish.

What of that future United consultancy role? Recruitment’s the short answer, signing some talent so that Erik ten Hag lasts longer than 10 months. “That we bring in the best possible players, it is not only identifying but meeting them, convincing them to join the club even though we will not play in [Big Cup], ”He honked. Though the great man clearly needs little advice in the field of convincing people, a Fiver suggestion is to avoid, at all costs, showing potential recruits any videos of Manchester United playing football under the interim management of Ralf Rangnick.


“Mark’s had a cotton bud in his ear that has gone in too far. He’s gone to the hospital, sounds like the tweezers have gone in too far and he’s dizzy and can’t stand up ”- Hartlepool boss Graeme Lee reveals midfielder Mark Shelton will miss Saturday’s League Two game with Firewall FC due to, er, hygiene- knack?

Mark Shelton, earlier. Photograph: Richard Lee / Rex / Shutterstock


Get your ears around the latest Football Weekly Extra. And while we’re at it, Max, Barry and the pod squad are going back out on tour. Tickets to live shows in June and July are available here – there’s even a new date added in Dublin – so get buying.


“As a fan of attacking football, I’m happy to see that Liverpool’s manager has extended his contract for another couple of years. However, as a longtime Fiver reader, I’m somewhat disappointed that he will remain as manager of the first team. If, instead, he had agreed a job to oversee the security of Anfield’s cleaning products, you could have led this email with the headline ‘Klopp Top Kop Mop Cop’ ”- R Reisman.

“Re: Jeremy Foxon’s email (yesterday’s Fiver letters), which I’m sure must have been intended to provoke just this sort of response, but I can’t help it… what about Denmark v Netherlands, for example” – Frazer Low ( and 1,056 others).

“However unlikely the pairing might be, Livingston v Villarreal would provide another LIV v VIL. Arbroath v Bradford City (ARB v BRA) and Cardiff v Racing Club de Avellaneda (CAR v RAC) also provide fantasy palindromes, but if you prefer to stay in the real world: Torquay v Rotherham (TOR v ROT) and Macclesfield v Cambridge ( MAC v CAM) provide a couple more. And yes, I clearly do have too much time on my hands ”- Roy Saunders.

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… Roy Saunders.


After all that due process and deadlines, the UK’s richest man, City Boy Fiver Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has slapped a late £ 4bn offer down to buy Chelsea. “We are the only British bid,” said the Ineos owner. “Our motives are simply to try and create a very fine club in London.”

West Ham have identified the fans who allegedly attacked two German radio reporters during their Big Vase semi-final defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt.

Jürgen Klopp doesn’t expect Mo Salah and Sadio Mané to get busy with their pens just because he has inked his name all over a new four-year Liverpool deal. “If it’s a positive sign for the boys great but I don’t think this will be the one decisive thing for a decision they make for their lives,” he blabbed.

Nice cup, Jürg.
Nice cup, Jürg. Photograph: Andrew Powell / Liverpool FC / Getty Images

Channel 4 has won the rights to show England men’s matches live until 2024 which, frankly, seems a bit weird for an aging tea-timely email who grew up watching The Word, Brookside and The Crystal Maze on it.

Jesse Marsch says he packed his relegation waders when he took the Leeds job because he knew the club was going to be “knee-deep in everything until May 22”. “I think it’ll stay that way,” he said before visiting Manchester City.

$ tevie Mbe is not worried that Aston Villa are going to get dragged into the relegation fight, which is a fair assessment considering they play Norwich next. “I only look forward and I only look up,” he blathered.

And Queen’s Celtic boss Ange Postecoglu has got a cheeky dig in before the Old Firm derby by dismissing the Pope’s Newc O’Rangers’ Big Vase run as being routine in the grand scheme of Scottish success in Europe. “If you want evidence… there’s a trophy I can show you just down the road here, mate.”


“This is the thing about the Portuguese, the [WhatsBook] group we have, it comes alive at about one o’clock in the morning. They’re crazy ”- Wales goalkeeping coach, Tony Roberts, gets his entertaining chat on with Ben Fisher about the trouble with being on Wolves’ staff, viral pranks and Human Rights World Cup hopes.

Bobby Copping: the footballer whose life changed with one header. By Ryan Baldi.

Best of luck to Bobby.
Best of luck to Bobby. Photograph: Fabio De Paola / The Guardian

Ten things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend, right here.

Michail Antonio’s unpredictably offers West Ham the best chance of overturning their 2-1 deficit against Eintracht, writes Jonathan Liew.

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


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.