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The Fiver | Trying to do something about living in Chelsea’s shadow

GROUNDS FOR CONCERN?

Given Chelsea’s long rivalry with near-neighbours Fulham, there is a certain irony in the fact their future is now imperilled by a cottage, and that their reaction could be described as being craven. The word derives from the middle English “cravant”, or “defeated”, which is the current state of the Premier League giants’ desire to build a shiny enormodome on the site of their current stadium, stymied as they are by the recalcitrant locals. It has since come to mean “cowardly”, which seems less applicable of the club’s plan to deal with the matter by convincing the council to compulsorily acquire all land on which meddlesome neighbours live and lay waste to the lot of it, before building a gigantic new home and an equally unpopular high-level pedestrian walkway wherever they damn well choose.

The Crosthwaite family of Billing Place would prefer not to live in Chelsea’s shadow, but unlike the team currently 10th in the Championship they might be able to do something about it. They’ve taken out an injunction to stop immediate development, believe the idea of compulsory purchase is legally unjustifiable and have snubbed Chelsea’s offer of free legal advice and a six-figure compensation package, noting with extreme displeasure that “sunlight and daylight will be seriously affected to five of our windows”. They want the proposed east stand “cut back”, which is what Eden Hazard sometimes does at the end of one of Chelsea’s attacks, or “redesigned”, which is what Ron Harris sometimes did with opponents’ limbs at the end of one of theirs. The whole business apparently means Chelsea will call off the builders in terror that “the existing injunctive proceedings might succeed”. The council will discuss the issue on Monday.

The Crosthwaites aren’t being put off by the fate of Archway Sheet Metal Works, whose refusal to vacate their north London factory when Tottenham wanted to expand their stadium right over it ended with the premises being destroyed in an inferno of unknown origins, the owners defeated in a high court bid to overturn a CPO, and Tottenham expanding their stadium right over it. Or by the tale of H Forman and Son, Britain’s oldest salmon smokery, whose dreams of fighting off a proposal to build an Olympic stadium on top of their headquarters went up, very much like their fish, in smoke. As it happens, Archway Sheet Metal Works ended up being asked to build a time capsule for Tottenham’s White Hart Lane farewell bash and Forman’s ended up catering the Olympic Delivery Authority’s staff barbecue, so perhaps one of the Crosthwaites might end up becoming a Blues centre forward. That way the story might have a brighter side – even if the same is unlikely to be true of their family home.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Some of these young [cees] … guys … coming in are really doing well” – Archie Thompson makes himself remembered for something other than that American Samoa game by dropping the flamin’ big one live on TV while discussing the new generation of potential Socceroos.

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FIVER LETTERS

“On the topic of calendars (Fiver letters passim), Southend United showed questionable degrees of optimism by putting the subject of months of transfer rumours, Ryan Leonard, who’ll be making his debut in Friday night’s also discussed Steel City derby for that lesser SUFC, in their calendar at all, let alone making him Mr October” – Sam Carpenter [and Mr April, Nile Ranger, sacked by 4 January – Fiver Ed].

“Given that the January calendar hypothesis seems to have been confirmed by several readers’ team calendars, I think it’s high time Big Website published a useful ‘Interactive guide to every Premier League club’s January and February calendar pages’. I’m sure many readers would find it helpful as I know I rushed to check Chelsea’s one using Amazon’s preview function – no way I was going to waste perfectly good Tin money on a bloody calendar. After all I’m not 12 years old” – Kristian Dawson.

“I have never felt that warm glow of self-satisfaction nor pat on the back from friends and colleagues (Fiver letters passim) because the one and only time I had a letter published in The Fiver it was inexplicably attributed to some other poor unsuspecting reader; truly in keeping with your usual exacting standards of journalism” – Neil Hobbs.

“Re: Notts County’s new loan signing (yesterday’s Bits and Bobs). Has he rendered Liverpool FC a club without Virtue?” – Phil Roberts.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. 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 RECAP

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NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

Three former youth-team footballers at Chelsea have launched legal claims against the club after allegations that black players were subjected to horrific racism by their own coaches Graham Rix and Glyn Williams, including physical attacks and one instance when the former allegedly threw a cup of hot coffee in the face of one of their young prospects. Daniel Taylor has the full exclusive story.

Graham Rix and Gwyn Williams.

Graham Rix and Gwyn Williams. Photograph: Neal Simpson/Empics Sport

A new Wales manager is looming and Ryan Giggs is the frontrunner in a four-horse race also involving Craig Bellamy, Mark Bowen and Osian Roberts.

Antonio Conte has refused to rule out the possibility of heading out of the Chelsea door marked Fanne Uno in the summer. “Everything is possible,” he philosophised, before highlighting the wonders of modern-day travel. “In one moment you stay here; in another moment you are in another place.”

Jürgen Klopp says Liverpool had to sell Philippe Coutinho this month because he could not be sure of the Brazilian’s commitment for the remainder of the season. “It was his dream,” cheered the Liverpool boss.

Arsène Wenger has got Alexis Sánchez in a loose bear-hug and claims he’s going nowhere until the club sign a replacement. “If [he leaves], we have to find a different balance in the team,” he groaned. “Normally, he should stay here until the end of the season but we’ll see.” Meanwhile, Sam Allardyce has a pair of jump leads in hand ready to attach to Theo Walcott’s career if Everton can agree a deal.

Espanyol boss Quique Sánchez Flores has emerged as Stoke’s preferred choice to fill the Ailsa from Home and Away-shaped hole in their dugout.

And the French football league has started an impromptu ARRÊTEZ LA TECHNOLOGIE DU FOOTBALL campaign by suspending its goal-line decision system after c0ck-ups this week involving watches that didn’t buzz, beep, vibrate or do whatever it is they’re supposed to do. “We are going to look at what is available on the market. There are other providers,” sniffed a suit.

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STILL WANT MORE?

The nicest man on Big Paper, Jeremy Alexander, recalls his 50 years of football reporting before he hangs up his pen (and it really is a pen).

We’re gonna need a montage …

We’re gonna need a montage … Composite: Big Paper

Everton’s £27m goal-guzzling Turkish striker Cenk Tosun is one of the 10 things you should be looking out for in the Premier League this weekend. Have a gander at the other nine here.

When Forest and Villa ruled Big Cup (and where it all went wrong). Jack Harry speaks to fans of both clubs before they meet in the Championship.

My days cleaning pro players’ boots taught me life lessons today’s young footballers still need, writes Liam Rosenior.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can sniff the sweet smell of opportunity on the Anfield breeze now Phil Coutinho has finally buzzed off to Barça, he tells Andy Hunter.

Hot young thing Christian Pulisic has succeeded in spite of football in the USA! USA!! USA!!! not because of it, toots Graham Ruthven.

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

COMING SOON. WELL, MONDAY

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