YEARNING FOR POLLUTION, UNFRIENDLINESS, AND AN UNDERGROUND BODYRUB
When Christian Benteke admitted last season that he thought Aston Villa were a London club when he signed for them, the Fiver hurried way out of the giant striker's earshot and laughed hard. After all, if you can't mock a lavishly talented and highly successful young man for not having precise geographic knowledge of a foreign country, then how exactly are you supposed to make yourself feel adequate on those boring afternoons in the office? Correct. So point at the galoot and cackle your spleens out, that's the ticket!
"One can say worse things," continued an unashamed Benteke at the time, shrugging off his faux pas as nonchalantly as he shrugged off top-flight defenders on his way to 23 goals in 39 appearances last season. Villa fans were as unperturbed as the player, not caring a whit whether their beloved Belgian could find Birmingham on a map because, as he said, "I'm a Villa player for now, they're the right club at the right time." Today, however, what will be irritating Villa fans even more than David Cameron pretending to be one of them is the news that Benteke no longer believes Villa are the right club at the right time. And he has demanded a move.
This development has sent shockwaves through the club. "We are hugely disappointment that Christian has put in a transfer request," read a tear-stained official statement, as Darren Bent circled Villa Park on an orange unicycle while juggling chainsaws and blowing a flugelhorn in the hope that someone there might remember their other striker's existence, even if only for long enough to sell him to Newcastle or anywhere else.
"It's important that people appreciate we are trying to build something strong and vibrant here at the club, something this club demands and stands for, and we want Christian to be part of that," stormed Villa, as Bent threw a couple of somersaults into his routine. Villa manager Ambitious Paul may want Benteke to stay but ominously, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are on the look-out for a top striker and all in a position to offer Benteke the Tube frottage, pollution and unfriendliness he thought he was going to suffer when he joined Villa.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"It is good to know that I am still valued by teams like Arsenal. Friends call me up to ask if I am moving to Chelsea, to which I laugh" – Luis Suárez adds new weight to the word 'still' in his daily slot on Uruguayan radio.
"Regarding your article on Gazidis and 'the time machine he purchased for £300 off a keen buyer on eBay' (yesterday's Fiver). Upon first reading, you would assume that should read 'a keen seller'. Gazidis being the buyer in this scenario. However maybe having finally gotten the thing to work, he travelled back in time, relisted the item on eBay and sold the item to his past self? Can you confirm this to be the case? And does the Fiver therefore have experience working in the PreCrime field?" – Marc Ledger (and 1.056 others).
"I hold no particular brief for Hearts, Hibs or ex-Marillion frontmen, but your 'prizewinning' correspondent of yesterday's date, Alistair Smith, is clearly unaware that Fish, who is indeed an avowed Hibee, did offer to play a benefit gig for Hearts. This was widely reported in the local press and on the Hearts and Hibs fans' forums. Sadly, this gesture was rescinded due to the tribalism of the more bigoted supporters of each club, as the local evening paper reported on Friday evening" – Mike Pretious.
" I appreciated Jacob Steinberg's Arsenal parable (yesterday's Fiver), but feel that Beckett would be a more fitting template than It's a Wonderful Life for the existential condition of the Arsenal. I propose a working title: 'Waiting for Gonzalo'. Act 1 curtains rise: An empty stadium. A tree. Gazidis sits on a mound. Wenger enters. Gazidis: 'Nothing to be done.' Wenger: 'I'm beginning to come round to that. All my life I've tried to put it from me, saying, Wenger be reasonable, you haven't tried everything, so I've resumed the struggle.' Gazidis: 'Let's go.' Wenger: 'We can't.' Gazidis: 'Why not?'. Wenger: 'We're waiting for Gonzalo'" – Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon.
"I too noticed Steven Lawson's letter appearing twice (Fiver passim). Interestingly, though, in between the original and the iteration, The Fiver also printed a letter from James Moseley regarding the continued re-use of tired material. He went as far as to define the verb 'to Fiver': 'To Fiver: to continually rehash old material in the hope no one will notice'. I figured Lawsongate was some clever, postmodern, self-referential joke. Maybe I have too much faith in The Fiver (yup – Fiver Ed)" – Matt Dony.
• Send your letters to email@example.com. Also, if you've nothing better to do you can also tweet the Fiver. Today's winner of our prizeless letter o' the day prize is: Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon.
JOIN GUARDIAN SOULMATES
We keep trying to point out the utter futility of advertising an online dating service "for interesting people" in the Fiver to the naive folk who run Guardian Soulmates, but they still aren't having any of it. So here you go – sign up here to view profiles of the kind of erudite, sociable and friendly romantics who would never dream of going out with you.
BITS AND BOBS
Nigeria Football Federation suits have suspended four teams involved in matches in which two lower league clubs chasing promotion and needing to boost their goal differences won games by scoreboard-busting results of 79-0 and 67-0. The first match seeing an entertaining goal every 1min 8sec, according to Big Calculator. It was "a mind-boggling show of shame," blabbed an NFF statement.
Copy and paste's Henrikh Mkhitaryan has upset Liverpool fans by having the nerve to join a club that finished second in Bundesliga and Big Cup last year.
Burnley's Charlie Austin will not be joining Hull due to a rare case of medical-knack. "These medicals are so stringent, things have progressed with scans and all the rest of it and he has got a problem," soothed Hull boss Steve Bruce.
Leicester City captain Wes Morgan has been fined £2,000 by Nottingham magistrates court for dozing off at the wheel of his BMW.
And Uefa will be feeling red-faced after Lee Cattermole was glaringly left out of its shortlist of 10 for Best Player in Europe. The list: Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Thomas Müller, Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Robin van Persie.
STILL WANT MORE?
"He is not a false nine but neither is he a target man or a whippet, a schemer or a poacher." Which striker is floating football brain in a box Jonathan Wilson dishing out faint praise to? Click here to find out.
Gonzalo Higuaín is looking for love. And he's more likely to find it in north London than Madrid, reckons Sid Lowe.
And like a Mersey ferry lost at sea, the Rumour Mill continues to chug along aimlessly spewing out dirt. Today: Wayne Rooney to Chelsea?