A basic football essential of gathering to abuse a gigantic LED screen | Football


The Fiver expects the Human Rights World Cup to be the guiltiest of pleasures. On the one hand, the World Cup stimulates the happy child in even the most bereft tea-time email; on the other, the human rights bit triggers the adult in us who frankly doesn’t need any additional triggering. And now there’s a new reason to despair about Qatar 2022, because millions of football fans are at risk of being denied the most basic tournament essential of all: Tin.

This is nothing to do with whether you’re allowed to swig flamboyantly from a bottle of Liver Compromiser in the centre of Doha. We’re talking about the pubs and clubs of England, where fans traditionally gather during the World Cup to abuse a gigantic LED screen. Workers at GXO, a company which delivers around 40% of the nation’s Tin, will be on strike for five days at the end of October and the start of November, with more scheduled if the issue is not resolved. The dispute is over a 5% pay offer, which GXO workers have rejected as it is well below the real inflation rate, and you couldn’t possibly care less about the details could you.

The Unite union, zeroing in on the essentials, said this would “impede the ability of pubs and other venues to replenish their cellars prior to the [Human Rights] World Cup”. Short of a temporary Bring Your Own Bottle policy – and what could possibegbie go wrong with that – there is every chance the World Cup experience will be compromised even more than the health of those intending to spend a month in the boozer. Of course, as The Fiver’s relentlessly irritating nephew, Herbal Vegan Wellness Trope Fiver, keeps telling us, it’s not essential to watch football games in a state of abject disrepair. You can still go the pub and watch the game and have a jolly clean time. But it’s too late, The Fiver’s not for turning. Besides, “win or lose, we’re on the antioxidants” just doesn’t scan.

The Fiver had already made plans to spend most of the tournament in our local, the Failure & Acceptance. But if the second Great Drought of 2022 does occur, we’ll just have to watch it all at home. We’re only eight years into the emergency decade’s supply of Tin and beans that we bought at the start of the pandemic, so we should be OK for the group stage.


“The Ballon d’Or® has entered the Web3 space. With an NFT collection based on pyrite, the stone that forms the base of the trophy. Extracted then digitised, this stone takes on exceptional properties around an exceptional ceremony …” – forget Alexia Putellas and Karim Benzema, the Ballon d’Or’s biggest winner was the copywriter who managed to get this cryptowibble on the official website.

David Squires on … tough times for Whitehall FC. Look out below! And you can get your own copy here.

David Squires on Whitehall FC
Woke pets! Illustration: David Squires/The Guardian

The latest Football Weekly is up and available with an EFL special. And there’s a HR World Cup live pod in London on 17 November. Tickets for attending or streaming are available now. And the latest Women’s Football Weekly pod is also up now.


“Re: yesterday’s Fiver. I’m reasonably sure that the managers of Brighton (3-3) and Crystal Palace (1-1) were also overheard scoffing ‘This is Anfield?’ earlier this season when they managed to get results at Liverpool. Perhaps Pep Guardiola could have a chat with them and get their advice” – Mike Wilner.

“In response to Tom Dowler’s question: ‘Which Premier League player would be best suited to play 007 himself’ (yesterday’s Fiver letters). For the Daniel Craig era, look no further than James Milner: clearly too old and way past his best, but still able to shake it with the young guns. Who else would you trust more to come out of retirement for one last job and neutralise sadistic terrorists/Phil Foden from destroying the world/Liverpool FC? But for a more classic Bond (suave, sophisticated, looks good in a tux) it has to be Pedro Neto because, you know, he’s just a beautiful, beautiful man” – Tom Orchard.

Pedro Neto
Just for you, Tom. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

“The role of a Bond villain is to look evil and threaten carnage for 90 minutes before ultimately being outwitted by 007. So if Erling Haaland is the villain, there can only be one candidate for the role of Bond: take a bow, Virgil van Dijk” – Paul Southgate.

“Haaland as a Bond villain? Nah. He’s clearly Karl Vreski, Hans Gruber’s sullen, blond henchman from Die Hard” – Tom Whiteley.

“There’s more to football than the Premier League! If you just take your tinted glasses off, you’ll see that the Championship, League One and League Two are positively teaming with would-be Bonds. Can’t move for ‘em. And FYI, the answer is Sunderland superstar, the Loch Ness Drogba himself, Ross Stewart. I can fully justify this claim, but frankly, I’m too annoyed to right now” – Mark Evans.

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 … Mike Wilner.

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