An American Tale: Gareth Bale Goes West | Soccer


“I love going to Los Angeles on vacation,” Gareth Bale tweeted in 2020. “I play a lot of golf. I played Pebble [Beach] two to three times. I played at Cypress Point which is a private club next to Pebble Beach – it was probably the best course I have ever played so far. Luckily, his final stint on the West Coast will allow him to tick off some of California’s beautiful greens and play a few football games.

Yes, after being linked with every man and dog, Bale left with his head to join LAFC in MLS above hometown club Cardiff City once his contract with Real Madrid ended at the end of the month. “He really wanted to come, the money wasn’t the issue,” sobbed Cardiff owner Vincent Tan. “We came up with what we thought was a good offer for him, but in the end it was very difficult to compete when there are a lot of big American advertisers, a lot of commercial deals that were very good for Gareth Bale. We did our best but we failed.

The winger will lead Wales at the Human Rights World Cup in Qatar and fixtures against Galaxy, Earthquakes and Wizards will ensure Bale remains in peak physical condition. What better way to prepare for a competition in a country that restricts women’s rights and cares less about football than playing in the United States! UNITED STATES!! UNITED STATES!!!?

Bale announced the trade, fittingly, in the traditional British holiday attire of baseball cap and football shirt as he stood on a golf course. No words were offered, just her heart-shaped hand gesture. Start how you want to go, Gareth. This move will allow Bale to add a few more items to the roster which interests him more than Real Madrid. Traffic jams, lack of public infrastructure, stifling heat and waiting for unemployed actors. Wales fans might need a bigger flag for Qatar.


“I put our training staff against anyone. Sounds like a group of MMA fighters we have on the sidelines who could do some damage” – Philadelphia Union boss Jim Curtin seems almost proud of the expulsion of bad@ss physio Paul Rushing, for having provided practical treatment to a rival NYCFC player in his team’s 2-1 MLS win.

Paul Rushing (outward facing) with a full and frank discussion on the pitch. Photograph: Gregory Fisher/USA Today Sports


“So to sum up NFTs (Friday’s Fiver): incomprehensible, useless, probably worthless and available electronically. In no way similar to The Fiver, then? -Andrew Parker.

“I don’t know what Thesis Laohajarastsang is complaining about (Quote of the Day Friday). Being ignored by the footballing powers that be? Do you suffer from ridiculous ticket prices that are beyond the reach of real football fans? Looks like he is entitled to the true experience of English football fans, without even having to leave Thailand. It could only become more authentic if the place and time of kick-off required traveling 600 miles and going to bed at 4am for work the next day” – Simon Dunsby.

“Anyone surprised that a footballer swaps Gillingham for just about anywhere else in the UK (Friday’s News, Bits and Bobs) has clearly never been to Gillingham. I grew up in the Medway Delta and i would say that this blog sums it up best: ‘Where some places have explosive civic pride, Medway has civic masochism’” – Ed Taylor.

“Like Allan Butler (Friday’s Fiver letters), I did a double take at the sight of Steve Bruce’s physique in Thursday’s Fiver. interpreted the shirt sponsor as Ideal Eating” – Paul Dixon.

“Since June 26, the LAFC fan subreddit has already made user flair available which uses emoji to mean “Wales, Golf, LAFC, in that order”. This is what radical acceptance looks like, folks” – Harriet Osborn.

Send your letters to And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our letter of the day is…Paul Dixon, who wins a copy of A Woman’s Game, by Suzy Wrack.


Watford have scrapped plans to play a pre-season friendly against Qatar after pressure from a group of LGBTQ+ supporters.

Technical and performance adviser Petr Cech is the latest Abramovich-era Chelsea fixture to announce he is leaving the club. “With the club under new ownership, I think it’s the right time for me to step down,” he said, as Todd Boehly’s broom continued to sweep the halls around him.

Gabriel Jesus is this set to join Arsenal from Manchester City for £45million after agreeing personal terms on a five-year deal. Meanwhile, the United States! UNITED STATES!! UNITED STATES!!! goalkeeper Matt Turner has signed for a fee of around £6million from New England Revolution.

West Ham have approached Villarreal to sign over-excited winger Arnaut Danjuma, but David Moyes may have to drop out along with other clubs to secure the Dutch striker’s scribble.

Aiden McGeady put pen to paper on a deal with Hibernian. And what a feather.

Would it have been better to use green?
Would it have been better to use green? Photography: Alan Rennie

Cheltenham handed over the keys to the manager’s office to Wade Elliott, who was already at the club as first-team coach.

And expect handball stats to skyrocket as Brentford games, former Fiji and England rugby sevens manager Ben Ryan has been appointed as elite performance manager. “He brings huge experience of how to reach elite level in a range of sports,” a club statement said.


It’s time for Euro 2022 squad guides, kicking off with Austria and England, plus a long read on the decade that changed the women’s game.

Martin Bengtsson: the story of the Swedish football prodigy whose dream died at Inter.

Graham Ruthven breaks down Gareth Bale’s move.

Why the cultural stigma of referees is still relevant today. By Jonathan Lyew.

Barney Ronay on the Neymar identity.

“Neymar was bought to define the PSG project. And guess what? He really does, with his sense of waste, showmanship, golden emptiness. Illustration: Lo Cole

Has Raheem Sterling reached his ceiling at Manchester City, wonders Jonathan Wilson.

What is life on the road like with the Football Weekly podcast? Let Barry Glendenning explain.

And if that’s your thing… you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACH TOO!