Bad news for Ray Winstone’s massive disembodied head

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BETTER

In good news for those of us who prefer to watch football without being being urged to “‘ave a bang on that” by some growling cockney before, during and after every match, online bookies have agreed to a voluntary, self-imposed ban on advertising during all live sports except horse-racing in an effort to address concerns about their influence on children. Specifically those thousands of children who have developed gambling addictions despite not being legally old enough to place bets; addictions that were almost certainly fostered through the relentless exposure of these children to the adverts venal bookies have finally been shamed into admitting are not suitable for children.

Naturally, the move spells bad news for Ray Winstone’s massive disembodied head, the boys from Paddy Power’s crushingly unfunny “banter” department and various other people paid to spread the word that losing piles of cash you may not actually have on sporting events is great fun. Weirdly, it was the bookies themselves who came up with the proposal, in a move not entirely dissimilar to turkeys voting for Christmas. Or, as the self-appointed, animal-friendly Peta idiom police might suggest, Torquay floating on citrus. Shed no tears, they won’t go hungry on the back of a rare and commendable move almost certainly calculated in a bid to repair some of the hideous, self-inflicted PR damage caused by their unsuccessful, misguided stance in battling against the cut in maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals.

“With over 430,000 problem gamblers in the country, many of them children, the number of adverts during live sports had clearly reached crisis levels,” said Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson, who despite not being a gambler famously lost 100 pounds in the past two years. “There was clear public support for these restrictions and I’m glad that for once the industry, led by the Remote Gambling Association, has taken its responsibilities seriously and listened.” Needless to say, those of us who still enjoy a flutter on the footy can continue to lose the shirts off our backs as we see fit, while the adverts plastered across the shirts on so many footballers’ backs will remain in place to remind those who don’t necessarily feel compelled to “get involved” that the option is always there.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“You used to have to chat a bird up but now you can just swipe left or right on Tinder. It’s the way life is. Nobody’s got any patience any more” – Modern Man(sfield Town) manager David Flitcroft on the peculiar relationship between his job security and Tinder.

U-TURN OF THE DAY

1 December: “River Plate reject the change of venue. Argentine football as a whole and the Argentine Football Association cannot and should not allow a handful of violent [fans] to impede the Superclásico taking place in our country” – River Plate wholeheartedly reject the idea of playing the delayed second leg of the Copa Libertadores in Madrid.

6 December:¡Hola, Madrid!

¡Madrid, baby!
¡Madrid, baby! Photograph: Javier Barbancho/Reuters

RECOMMENDED LISTENING

Football Weekly Extraaaaaaa will be somewhere around here.

BEST FEMALE FOOTBALLERS IN THE WORLD 2018

Big Website has introduced part three of its list of the best 100 female footballers in the world. In association with The Offside Rule podcast we have assembled a panel of 72 judges from around the world to rate the players who have stood out in 2018. Read Nos 100-11 now.

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FIVER LETTERS

“Wait! The kitchen at Crystal Palace has a rodent problem while the club employs one of nature’s most fearsome predators in Kayla the American bald eagle? Then again, their other renowned predator, the lesser-spotted Christian Benteke, scored 15 goals in his first season, but has also suffered from clipped-wings syndrome ever since” – Justin Kavanagh.

Perhaps not this eagle.
Perhaps not this eagle. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

“Thanks for the link to the Crystal Palace story and their mouse problem. Maybe you should rename yourself The Fievel ...” – Antony.

“Seeing someone not get the Pope’s O’Rangers gag (Wednesday’s letters) was like going back in time to a wistful ‘funny’ Fiver era. I want to make a tortured Brexit joke but it’s not funny any more. Which makes me want to make a tortured Fiver Not Funny gag. Etc” – Justin Kavanagh again.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our letter o’the day is Justin Kavanagh, who wins a copy of The Transfer Market: The Inside Stories by Alan Gernon, and we’ve got more to give away this week!

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

A representative on West Ham’s newly formed Official Supporters’ Board has placed the club in an awkward position after expressing support for the Democratic Football Lads Alliance, a group condemned by anti-racism campaigners.

Tottenham’s Danny Rose thinks Wembley Stadium is pants. “It’s lost its … I don’t feel it’s an honour to play at Wembley. We’re all itching to get in the new stadium and hopefully it’s not too much longer,” he doesn’t-know-he’s-born-ed.

Monaco v Nice is one of four Ligue 1 matches to be postponed this weekend due to the gilets jaunes protests, meaning manager Thierry Henry’s reunion with Patrick Vieira is on ice, baby.

Find someone who looks at you etc and so on.
Find someone who looks at you etc and so on. Photograph: Stuart Macfarlane/Rex/Shutterstock


Reading’s Paul Clement is now just Paul Clement after being howitzered through the door marked Do One.

Maurizio Sarri has questioned his players after Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat to Wolves, with a home game against leaders Manchester City coming up on Saturday evening. “I am really worried,” he smoked.

José Mourinho has denied he is under pressure following the 2-2 at home to Arsenal. “I am not under siege, not at all,” he said, bolting shut a large iron door.

And ICYMI, Killy are top of fitba!

STILL WANT MORE?

Ed Aarons on talented piano player and new Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, who once spent a summer on his mountain bike spying on Borussia Dortmund’s and Borussia Mönchengladbach’s training camps with a pair of binoculars.

The reaction to Ada Hegerberg’s Ballon d’Or echoes the class she shows on pitch, writes Eni Aluko.

Martin Laurence doesn’t own any binoculars but has focused his gaze on Paco Alcácer, the striker that is too good to start for Dortmund.

“Someone tell Jonathan that the ‘drip, drip, drip’ thing is really very cringey,” the top comment reads on this Manchester United column, by floating-brain-in-a-jar Jonathan Wilson.

It’s been a mixed year for Adil Rami. He won the World Cup, got together with Pamela Anderson but can’t stop Marseille losing – six of the last nine have ended in defeat. Adam White and Eric Devin investigate (the Marseille bit).

This week’s Classic YouTube features a goal-line clearance from a stray dog, Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg putting it in the onion bag and Kevin Keegan dancing.

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