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At what point is it acceptable to feel a little bit sorry for Andy Carroll? Flogged by the boyhood club he didn't want to leave for a fee that invited ridicule and proved to be not so much a monkey on his back as a silverback gorilla on his face. After a series of clumpen-footed displays, less than a year after joining his new employers, they offered him as a makeweight in a proposed deal for a moody Argentinian scurrier. And just as things started to go right – the odd handy display at the end of last season, a half-decent Euro 2012 performance, being named as one of the Guardian's style stars of the summer – Liverpool stick the 'For Sale' sign back up again.

Newcastle only want a borrow of their former striker, perhaps to cover for the possible departures of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse to the Africa Cup of Nations in January 2013, or the possibility of Ba's release clause being activated this month. Liverpool, though, having lent United their copy of Urban Hymns in 1997 and never seen it again, aren't keen on a loan deal. It is "understood", by people who understand these things, that the Reds want a permanent deal for the man who has scored 11 goals in 56 appearances following his £35m move from St James' Park in January 2011.

Milan, Fulham and West Ham are also thought to be interested in a loan deal, while Carroll, for his part, is "understood" to be keen to remain at Anfield in order to prove that there's room for his particular brand of lunking muscular beefiness in Brendan Rodgers' tippy-tappy pass-fest. It'll end in tears.


14 July: "We are looking for the best in the business" – Abdulaziz Al-Hasawi, one of the new Nottingham Forest owners, reveals his family's target for a new manager.

16 July: "Mick [McCarthy] is one of the people we are talking to" – the Al-Hasawis swiftly lower their sights. Terry Connor it is, then.


"Re: the 'How to get Juan Mata's look fashion slideshow' (Friday's last line). Total cost of the clothes Juan was wearing in his ensemble: $299. Total cost of the man bag, backpack and carry-on wheelie case: $3,730. Since his only appearance on the park at the Euros was with three minutes to go in the final against Italy, is this supposed to confirm him as a some kind of expensive baggage?" – Dean Laffan.

"Finally! A funny Fiver! After 43,587 Fivers read, finally, some legitimate wit and humour (Friday's Fiver, apparently). Will someone please thank Mr Chuckles and Senor Humour for their insightful and original gags, none of which had ever been performed before. It's that type of originality that keeps the Fiver fresh" – Cameron Smith.

"Thank you for your straight talk re: the verdict on EBJT and Pope's Newc O'Rangers (Friday's Fiver). Could you also confirm if Mr Chuckles is P1, as named in the recent 'commissions'-related documents released from Fifa?" – Holly Masturzo.

"Surely I cannot be alone in having spent an entire weekend interviewing every small child in the neighbourhood in the hope of finding the answer to the unfinished conundrum posed in Friday's Fiver. I don't know! What is big and grey and protects you from the rain? I have tried every way possible to link an elephant to the words 'raincoat', 'rain hat', 'mackintosh' and 'umbrella' using anagrams and word play and even made a futile attempt with Nellie and Welly but nothing works. You win Fiver, you are far cleverer than me, but please put me out of my misery" – David Fortune.

"The only thing I can think of that's big and grey and protects you from the rain is an umbrellephant" – Ethan Mackintosh.

"As a public service to your readership as a whole (both of them, pedants excluded), and seeing as how you appear to be too lazy to mention it, can I point out that Chris Blane may have read of Don Sinclair's troubles in receiving the Fiver (Fiver letters passim) on Big Website rather than by receiving (or not receiving as the case may be) it via email. Here ends the public service announcement. My invoice is in the post" – Peter Hoare.

Send your letters to the.boss@guardian.co.uk. And if you've nothing better to do you can also tweet the Fiver.


Step one: open an account with Blue Square and deposit any amount; step two: place a bet of at least £5 on any sport; step three: we will match your bet with a free bet of up to £25.


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 weren'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.


Having got shot of one coach who had difficulties with the language, the media and the weight of a nation's expectations, Russia have broken the mould by appointing Fabio Capello as the national side's new manager.

Serial-liquidation-flirts Dundee will replace the Pope's Newc O'Rangers in the SPL.

Dimitar Berbatov has indicated that he will leave Manchester United this summer. "I read the papers and I see they say £10m is my price," he said. "I go and talk with Sir Alex [Ferguson], and he says to me £5m, so who is telling the truth, what do you think?"

The Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt says swearing in football should stop. "I do know a little bit about this because I'm a qualified football referee. I've been at the receiving end of it," he said, failing to make it clear whether the abuse happened on the pitch or the Today programme.

Franz Beckenbauer is the latest to call for Sepp Blatter to resign after the Fifa president suggested the vote that earned Germany the 2006 World Cup was fixed. "It is nothing new that people want rid of me," sniffed Blatter, flicking verbal Vs back at the German.

Internacional have told Chelsea they need to delve deep into their piggy bank if they want to sign Oscar. "I want the transfer of Oscar to be the biggest transfer deal ever in Brazilian football," president Giovanni Luigi told Radio Gaucha, rubbing his hands together gleefully and thumbing through a Ferrari catalogue.

And Crystal Palace have announced that Eddie Izzard has become an associate director of the club. "What I can actually do – I'm not sure," honked the comedian. "But if you know anything about me, I am a determined b@stard and I don't like to give in."


First there was 'Five things we learned'. Then there was 'The Joy of Six'. Now Jacob Steinberg brings you seven Olympic footballers to watch.

What's it like being a black footballer in Britain today? Simon Hattenstone asks the players who know.

Jamie Jackson has a chat with Team GB keeper Jack Butland.

And even the Secret Footballer is now trying to hawk a book. Poor Fiver.


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