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I was unsure about the white away kit released by Hummel, something about the way the stripes criss-cross at the top and the badge should be on the chest, shouldn’t it? But it’s a football kit, and I’m 50. I have good wine to spend my money on.

The white one was inspired by the Quasar kit from the mid-90’s.

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Division

Ah, the new football season. League One football returning to The Valley. Who’s excited?

The curtain of the World Cup has been drawn and after watching Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, we have to settle for Nicky Ajose and Naby Sarr. Oh and playing the role of Vladimir Putin is Roland Duchatelet, still owner, all round loon, and cost cutter extraordinaire.

CARD issued a statement yesterday calling for a boycott of The Valley, with renewed protests to follow if the club is still in the hands of Duchatelet by the season kick off at Sunderland on August 4th.

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Pratley makes it two

As expected, and I think in most corners, hoped Darren Pratley became Lee Bowyer’s second summer signing. The 33-year old midfield general played 35 times last season for Bolton in The Championship, where he was their captain.

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Football did come home

A World Cup Final to bless the best month of football in my lifetime. I felt for Croatia, and my mate out in Moscow, but after three exhausting games their continued chasing of the ball when they were out of possession and their lust to get forward and make chances when they had it was extraordinary. The Croats were admirable finalists.

But the best team should win it, and they did. As in the semi-final, France seem content to sit and counter, and they do it with such pace and effectiveness. This team is young as well, and have many good players on the bench and in reserve. Whilst Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany, Portugal and Italy all lick their wounds and plan for the future, France already have the future and a superstar in Kylian Mbappe.

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On the 31st day..

A traditional 3rd Place humdrum affair yesterday. In truth both sides put out strong sides and it was reasonably fast paced, but Belgium are irresistible on the break, and we failed again to make the most of our possession around their penalty box, specifically in the second half.

Oh well.. still, it was a very enjoyable journey and there is plenty of hope for the future with youngsters like Joe Gomez, Ryan Sessegnon, Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden amongst others still to come. Loftus-Cheek and Eric Dier were good today, and Trippier, Pickford, Maguire, Stones and Henderson all return home with their stock high. Kane appeared to try too hard after the group games, but it is hard to knock a Golden Boot winner, which he is sure to be. Lukaku got no closer to him yesterday.

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Bottom of the barrel

Today was the traditional pre-season run out at Welling. Nicky Ajose and Lyle Taylor got the goals in a 2-1 win. A crowd of just 1,020, the lowest ever, witnessed it.

Two different sides played each half and included trialists Simon Dawkins and central defender Elliot Ward. Dawkins is an attacking midfielder, aged 30 and has been playing out in the U.S. for San Jose Earthquakes. Before that he did well at Derby. 33-year old Ward has had a string of clubs and was most recently on loan at MK Dons. Blackburn released him after last season. Bowyer said he will make quick decisions on the two, but in my mind these two are typical of the summer-bottom-of-the-barrel signings we have seen under Duchatelet.

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Alexander Hamilton

Hamilton has been sweeping the theatre world and has become one of the biggest musical shows of all time, and I managed to get to see it last weekend in New York, where it sells out every night and ticket sales are said to average $600,000 a week. Perhaps the almost 100-year old Richard Rogers Theater could spash out a few bucks on an additional toilet, as the three story Broadway building only has one in the basement.

Never mind, that’s the nit-picking out of the way. I walked into the theatre, well queued for a fair bit, with no pre-determined judgements, in fact no real pre-determined ideas of what the hell Hamilton was about either.

One thing for sure was that I sure as hell didn’t realize that the whole show is done in song, which made it initially hard to follow, especially as the majority of the songs are in the form of hip-hop, rap and RnB. However, I started to work out the theme of the story being told, although my one regret was not giving myself a quick Wikipedia brush up on my American history beforehand.

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