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The Fiver | Household animals cutely peering out of domestic sanitary facilities

OUR SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: THREE PARAGRAPHS CONTAINING NOTHING

As a mere garden-variety email, The Fiver doesn’t technically qualify as a social media. Quibble over the strict definitions all you want, but we simply don’t tick all the boxes. For a start, people read, pay attention to and enjoy social media. Unlike social media, The Fiver cannot slake your thirst for pictures of household animals cutely peering out of domestic sanitary facilities. And there’s no point asking The Fiver to join in the latest late-night reach-around as you all applaud each other’s staggering genius, we’re halfway through this bottle of Fistfight for a start, plus the snooker’s on, and in any case there are plenty of comment writers, panel-show contestants and phone-in hosts out there who will happily field that sort of thing.

Having said all that, it would be remiss of The Fiver to ignore the upcoming four-day sporting boycott of social media disgraces and content hucksters such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Football clubs, organisations and players across the land are removing themselves from the aforementioned platforms in a symbolic attempt to clean up the fibre-optic sewer of abuse that sluices the dregs of humanity into our homes 24-7. This extremely welcome and frankly long overdue show of silent solidarity begins on Friday afternoon at 3pm BST and ideally would end sometime in the year 2525, but in actuality finishes at one minute before midnight on Monday, which is a start, and we’ll grab what we can with both hands.

“This boycott signifies our collective anger,” says Kick It Out chairperson Sanjay Bhandari. “We are making a symbolic gesture to those with power. We need you to act. We need you to create change.” The Fiver is all in with this plan, so much so that earlier today we asked The Man if we could down tools in order to show our support, and absolutely not so we’d be free to get stuck into the remainder of that bottle of 73.8% ABV turps-flavoured beverage and watch Wilson-Murphy from the Crucible. The Man didn’t fall for our wheeze, though never let it be said that he isn’t open to compromise. “Three paragraphs as usual,” he bellowed, “but you can chip off at 2.59pm, and given the serious nature of the subject, don’t feel obliged to come up with any witty jokes.” As The Fiver sailed back through The Man’s office door along a perfect parabola towards our desk, one eyebrow was slowly raised.

LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE!

Join Scott Murray from 8pm BST for hot Premier League MBM coverage of Southampton 0-0 Leicester.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“It is critical this is not a one-off. It should be viewed as part of a broader collective campaign that does not stop at punishing those with abhorrent views or who troll for the sake of trolling, but explores more broadly the root causes of racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of abuse, and looks to use the popularity and power of football to drive the changes needed more generally in society to eradicate those views for good” – why Suzanne Wrack is joining the social media disgrace boycott.

RECOMMENDED LISTENING

Here’s the latest Football Weekly Extra podcast, on Big Cup and fan power.

FIVER LETTERS

“After reading Wednesday’s missive, I felt somebody should ask you if you feel Hennes VIII might be regarded as the Greatest GOAT Of All Time?” – Chris Weaver.

“I am not sure which I enjoyed most from yesterday’s Quote of the Day. The fact there really is a team called Cape Coast Mysterious Ebusua Dwarfs, or the fact that the manager of their vanquished opponents was able to throw his players under the bus in a manner that might have made even José Mourinho wince. At the risk of making your output both interesting and funny, can we have more of this?” – Colin Reed.

“Re: tales of referee misadventures (Fiver letters passim). It brought to mind a game I reffed horribly hungover at uni some years ago, when I rarely blew the whistle as it hurt. The lack of tooting probably didn’t help as, late on, I had to send someone off. I then realised I had no cards on me. Fortunately, it was such a nasty lunge he thought he was giving it the big one by storming off before I could card him. I definitely had a watch, but blew up early. PS: your ‘well worth a watch’ (yesterday’s last line) was bang on – thanks for that” – Dan Ashley.

“About 20 years ago, when I was in my early-50s, I was playing in a Co-Ed league in California. I came on as a sub wearing the team jersey and my cut-off Levi’s bespattered with house paint. The portly ref, a pompous Brit, scolded me for the shorts and gave me a yellow card. I told him we’d speak after the game. The match over, he was walking off the field, so I yelled to him: ‘How do they look from here?’ I turned around, dropped the offending kit and mooned him. I was banned from the league for the rest of the season” – Hanford Woods.

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 … Hanford Woods.

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

Albion Rovers striker David Cox says he is retiring after allegedly being mocked by a Stenhousemuir player over his mental health.

Ronald Koeman is still steaming after being sent off as Barcelona blew a shot at going top of La Liga, losing 2-1 at home to Granada. “They said it was for disrespecting the fourth official,” he fumed. “I’d like to know what I’m supposed to have said. He’s the one who is rude towards me.”

Koeman gets told to do Ron.

Chirpy C0ckerel’s odds of getting the Spurs job have increased after Erik ten Hag joined Julian Nagelsmann in ensuring Daniel Levy’s shortlist lives up to its name by signing a new Ajax deal.

The European groups for 2023 World Cup qualifying are in.

Liverpool midfielder Rachel Furness reckons it was a lack of on-pitch nous that led to them missing out on promotion back to the WSL, not underinvestment. “We are getting invested in but part of our job is to perform on the pitch so if we are not doing that it reflects badly,” she sighed.

And Newcastle boss Bernard Cribbins has warned Mike Ashley off placing whizzy forward Allan Saint-Maximin in one of his sports shop’s bargain bins. “The last thing we want to be doing is selling our better players,” he parped.

STILL WANT MORE?

There’s a new Pat Nevin book out and, if this review is anything to go by, bookshops will be rammed with Dukla Prague away shirt-wearing hipsters as they rush to buy it.

Come for the 10 things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend, stay for the epic composite image.

Aston Villa’s Mana Iwabuchi gets her chat on with Sean Carroll about trying to inspire Japanese girls to play football and her feelings about the Olympics going ahead in a pandemic.

Yes, Mana.

Bolton were a “big ship to turn around’ but after a sorry slide through the divisions they’re on the rise again, reports Ben Fisher.

One for Roy Keane here: Jonathan Liew on how Kyle Walker made his case for greatness against PSG.

Emi Buendía tells Ben Fisher how his silky skills made Lionel Messi coo in appreciation and what an instant return to the Premier League means for Norwich.

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

LONG WEEKEND. TAKE CARE ALL, BACK ON TUESDAY

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