West Ham and the cost of needlessly fizzy premium-brand lager
IT’S FRIDAY! TIME FOR A DRINK, THEN
Phew, what a scorcher, eh readers? Yay. But in this sort of frankly unpatriotic heat, it’s important that we pall-conditioned Brits remember to take steps to stay cool. That means going to work dressed sensibly for the weather, in one’s best string vest, preferably without too many egg stains; sitting in front of a fully blasting fan, and to hell with climate change or the energy crisis; and staying fully hydrated, which means laying off the Talisker, perhaps substituting it with a lighter Speyside, or adding a drop of water, or maybe even having a full cup of water, just the water, malt-free this time. Take care out there, kids.
Footballers across the land will be showing the way this weekend. With temperatures set to easily exceed 30C, all matches in the Premier League and Football League will stop for drinks in the middle of both halves. That’s in line with policy as set by the game’s administrators, and also common sense, two sets not usually known to overlap. Everyone will stop around the 25-minute mark to take on board water, energy gels and bananas, though how well it all goes down will depend on the intensity of the impromptu tactical salvo they’ll be simultaneously receiving as a result of being 3-0 down already.
As well as refreshing the players, these breaks will give those in the crowd opportunity to rehydrate themselves too, at the nearest serving hatch. However, even basic requirements occasionally come at luxury prices. Take the London Stadium, where long-suffering West Ham fans were last Sunday charged £7.60 for a pint of unnecessarily fizzy premium-brand lager, £4.50 for a popular heavily marketed red-branded carbonated soft beverage, and £3.20 for one of those aforementioned water drinks. Ooyah! Oof! Eh? Y’what?
With the bevvy the best part of two quid dearer than other London clubs, supporters were furious, so much so that the club, who don’t operate or profit from the concession stand, are now threatening to sue the footpads in charge if they don’t drop their prices in time for West Ham’s next home match. Whether the complaint will also reference the wine on sale depends very much on how one parses the information on the overhead sign, which has a 187ml bottle at £8 but with the price confusingly listed under the “pint” column. Eight bar for a pint of plonk sounds like a great deal to The Fiver, even in this weather, and we’re pretty sure at least one of West Ham’s former managers would surely agree.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“FC Barcelona announces the sale of 24.5% of Barça Studios to the company Orpheus Media, managed by Mr Jaume Roures, an audiovisual production company with a long history of producing content, for €100m” – you might know Mr Jaume Roures from this Ligue 1 financial shambles, so there are definitely no alarms at all, in the slightest, around Barcelona pulling some economic lever or whatnot to sell off more of the family jewels to his company.
5 August: “Barnsley Football Club is delighted to announce that HEX.com are the club’s new front-of-shirt sponsor and principal partner for 2022-23” – the League One side unveil a sponsorship deal with some crypto bros.
12 August: “Following recent events and a subsequent investigation, the club has assessed its relationship with its front-of-shirt sponsor and has taken steps to end that relationship with immediate effect. The HEX.com logo will not appear on the team’s kits going forward. Further comment will be issued in due course” – ah yes, the discriminatory and abusive social media posts by individuals understood to be involved with the crypto bros finally raise some red flags at Oakwell.
“Re: Tony Adams on Strictly Come Dancing (yesterday’s Fiver letters). I think the mentioned offside routine could be more inspirational than he realises. Hopefully no one will send his partner footage of the lift he attempted with Steve Morrow at Wembley in 1993, though” – Dan Ashley.
“Splendid to read of a banished coach getting fans to chant his instructions to players (yesterday’s Quote of the Day). Perhaps it could be extended to them delivering the pap that serves as post-match interviews. The chants of timeless classics such as ‘We got the ball in good areas’, ‘Always a difficult place to come to’ and ‘Not clinical in the final third’ would breathe a bit of life into the usual monotone drivel and save on ink” – Michael Lloyd.
“Shirt design nonsense has reached new levels: ‘A convergence of cultural icons remixed and recoded, the 22-23 third kit takes its inspiration from the iconic Manchester United graphic identity, using geometric shapes and patterns. We’ve blended these with a new interpretation of a classic club colour for a fresh, eye-catching kit.’ The game’s well and truly gone” – Dave Lloyd.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
The SPFL is close to extending its TV deal with Sky Sports until 2029, by when the broadcaster would be entitled to show up to 60 Premiership matches a season for the sum of … £29.5m.
In possibly related news, Dundee United manager Jack Ross has apologised to travelling fans after they were subjected to a 7-0 Tin Pot qualifying shoeing by AZ Alkmaar. “We played against a good team in a tough venue but we conceded six goals in 26 minutes,” he sighed. “That’s not good, irrespective of the opponent.”
New Chelsea signing Raheem Sterling says game time was the main reason for leaving Manchester City for Stamford Bridge. “The year and a bit I was out of the team taught me a lot about myself and made me value a lot of things,” he cooed.
West Ham are sniffing around a move for Barça’s Memphis Depay.
Jack Rodwell – you remember him – has completed a flamin’ move to Sydney FC. “Jack’s ability is unquestionable, he’s played at the very highest level and he has adapted to the Australian conditions extremely well,” cheered head coach Steve Corica. “I expect him to get even better this season.”
And new Bayern Munich signing Georgia Stanway has marked her song initiation at the club by going big.
STILL WANT MORE?
After 30 years of games, Keith Stuart bids farewell to Fifa as we know it.
What better way to fritter away a few Friday minutes than with a niche quiz on Premier League players loaned to Serie A.
Adam White has a chat with Reims manager Óscar García.
One thing, two things, three things, four things, five things, six things, seven things, eight things, nine things … 10 things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend.
Another look at the Milk Cup after yesterday’s Fiver, by Ben Fisher.
Nottingham Forest appear to be throwing notes at anything with a pulse. The Rumour Mill has more.
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