Newcastle United’s third kit reminding us of something familiar

A BLACK AND WHITE ISSUE
Newcastle United boast one of the most iconic shirts in world football. Black stripes and white stripes, basic yet beautiful, a stone-cold elemental classic. That hasn’t stopped kit designers through the ages sticking their nebs in to varying degrees of abject failure, though. The blue trim. The all-black chest panel. The Micky Quinn-era irregular stripes that really did look like an actual barcode. And of course last season’s why-didn’t-we-think-of-this-when-we-were-scribbling-it-down-on-the-back-of-a-fag-packet 4 abomination. Oh Adidas, Puma, Umbro and Castore! How could you, you, you and you.

To be fair to Castore, they’ve learned from their shouldn’t-have-signed-that-off-at-the-end-of-an-eight-pint-session fiasco, and this year’s effort looks a lot tidier. More stripes, no once-seen-can’t-be-unseen hidden numbers, a step back in the right direction towards the Jackie Milburn ideal. But a kit manufacturer wouldn’t be doing their job properly if they didn’t do something to irritate and annoy the fanbase, and chafe against the aesthetic and/or moral sensibilities of the wider public at large, and to this end, Castore have unveiled a third kit that’s the spit of the Saudi Arabia national team’s clobber. And there was The Fiver thinking those leaked images had just been some buffoonish online prank.

The choice of green and white could simply be a coincidence, of course, another case of Castore failing to think things through, number two in a continuing series, number one being number four. Or, given the Premier League only approved Newcastle’s takeover by a Saudi-backed consortium after receiving “legally binding assurances” that the Saudi state had no influence, it’s a spectacular and unambiguous middle-digit trolling of the new ownership’s critics. The Fiver, ever looking for the good in people, assumes it’s all an innocent mistake with no ulterior sportswashing motive. Having said that, just in case the hunch nagging away at the back of our mind turns out to be right, we’re off to lump a few quid on green and white becoming the club’s new first-choice colours for 2023-24. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It’s an historic result. We put ourselves in the game and we won, demonstrating that politics can be done without insults or responding to provocations. Our political proposal has turned the page” – in fair Verona, where we lay our scene, former Roma, Italy and QPR midfielder Damiano Tomassi – who got a papal blessing back in 2005 – is the new mayor.

COMING SOON
It’s the new Women’s Football Weekly podcast.

FIVER LETTERS
“I’m wondering, do Fiver readers scroll down to see which was the letter of the day and then read them all to see if they agree, or do they read them, decide which they think is the best and see what you picked (assuming they care at all)? It occurred to me that if Paul Dixon’s ‘Ideal Eating’ hadn’t won yesterday, I would’ve demanded an inquest” – Nick Livesey.

“Re: yesterday’s Fiver. Maybe someone should get Gareth Bale a map so he might realise that Pebble Beach golf course is 320 miles or five and a half hours from Los Angeles. This is the same distance from Cardiff to Newcastle. In his favour, LA has better weather than Cardiff, even though it has more pollution, guns and wildfires” – Nigel Sanders.

“We USA! USA!! USA!!! fans know The Fiver features top-notch travel and location analysis, along with the occasional attempt to understand football. But is it really the case that people (even Gareth Bale) should prefer to live in Cardiff over Los Angeles? If The Fiver was offered a relocation from its current location under the staircase to those two cities, which would you choose? Sushi or Welsh rarebit? Tacos or Glamorgan sausages? Disneyland or … wherever? Even allowing for the comparative golfing options (my grandmother was Welsh, for what its worth)” – Richard McGahey [who has clearly never experienced the delights of SC2 Rhyl – Fiver Ed].

“Allow me to join the 1,056 other pedants in pointing out that the Wizards (yesterday’s Fiver) haven’t existed since 2010, and now prefer to be called Sporting Kansas City. Perhaps surprisingly, the club has the fifth worst disciplinary record in the 28-club league at the moment” – Harriet Osborn (and no others).

“I’m surprised that a club as money-focused as Chelsea have decided to let go of senior employees named Buck and Cech” – Peter Oh.

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
As far as volte-faces go, French interior minister Gérald Darmanin is slowly getting towards 90 degrees, apologising for the grim scenes at the Champions League final, but stopping short of saying sorry to the Liverpool fans he blamed for the chaos on the night. “Should the Stade de France have been better managed? The answer is yes,” he parped. “Am I partly responsible? The answer is yes. Of course, I readily apologise towards everyone who suffered from this bad management of the event.”

More than 20,000 people have signed a petition opposing Everton having betting firm Stake.com as their main shirt sponsor, with one recovering gambling addict fan accusing the Toffees of “selling the soul of the club”.

Chelsea’s new sheriff in town Todd Boehly, is ready to table an opening offer for Raheem Sterling, with Manchester City expected to let the winger do one for between £50m and £60m.

Josh King has seen himself through the Watford door marked Do One, halfway through a two-year deal.

Aston Villa have revealed snazzy new plans to develop Villa Park so that it is a 50,000-plus “world-class sporting venue and thriving community destination”.

And new Toronto FC signing Lorenzo Insigne insists he’s not hotfooted it to MLS for a late-career payday. “I made the decision not for the money, but to find a new life for family and my kids,” he cheered, arriving on a four-year deal worth an eye-watering $60m. “I want the people to love me and to understand me better with my action on the pitch.”