Game of chance played with cards having a grid of numbered squares corresponding to numbered balls drawn at random. When a number on the card is drawn, the players cover that number (should they have it); the game is won by covering a certain number of squares in a row (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally). Cards are purchased and proceeds are placed into a common “pot”; winning cards are awarded a portion of the pot. Wildly popular in the mid 20th century, bingo has in recent decades suffered a decline in America but has increased in popularity in other parts of the world. The earliest name for bingo—lotto—was recorded in Britain in 1776; the game is sometimes called keno in the U.S.
Learn more about bingo with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Sometimes you see unnamed characters from the team.
Ball Boy's team kit is usually red and black vertical stripes along the t-shirt and black shorts, but has sometimes been blue and black or white and black vertical stripes. Sometimes they get guest players joining the team for 1 strip, like Bea, or Gnasher. The team sometimes also have other players featured, including a recurring black player called Elvis. Paul Gascoigne made a guest appearance in the strip in 1993 in the issue celebrating Roger The Dodger's 40th anniversary when Roger who was appearing in every strip in that week's comic arranged for Gascoigne to sign up for the team.
Ball Boy and his team have both been at two World Cups. In Italy in 1990 featured in that year's Beano Book and a long running strip in the comic during the 1998 finals featuring the team around France.
The strip was drawn by Malcolm Judge until his death in 1989. John Dallas took over from him afterwards, and drew it until his retirement in April 2003. Since then, the artist has been Dave Eastbury. Nigel Parkinson and Tom Paterson both occasionally draw the strip as well.
For issue 3260, dated 8 January 2005, the Ball Boy strip was meant to feature a French footballer called Henry Thierry who wore a red shirt. In the strip he is shown a red card and then runs from the team bath when a snorkel appears close to him saying "Time to va-va-voom" - a reference to the Renault adverts in which Thierry Henry appears. The Beano editor Euan Kerr decided to destroy the entire print run of that comic so as not to risk the striker's wrath, the issue eventually going on sale with a different Ball Boy strip in its place.
Ball Boy also features in The BeanoMAX comic, drawn in the black and blue vertical striped kit, by Nigel Parkinson. This was explained in a March 2007 Beano. Ball Boy's Mum accidentally washed the kits with a blue garment, and it dyed the red stripes dark blue! But the team, who'd complained they needed new kits, were happy, so BB didn't admit what had happened. This strip was drawn by regular artist Dave Eastbury. Strangely Ball Boy was left out in the Beano Annual 2009 which meant either Ball Boy's no longer in the comic or Dave Eastbury decided not to the strip as a one off. But Ball Boy's back in with a new team and they're playing in the Footy Championship. The team include- Ball Boy, Ronald, Chandra, Lily, Goalie (new one with big gloves.) and a boy who has hair hidden over his face. Ball Boy refers them to 'The Beanotown Juniors.'