Though they ended the previous campaign extremely poorly, Newcastle have made significant strides in the transfer market to ensure that they are not in a similar situation again. They appear to have learned from their mistakes to a degree and their eagerness in the window this time around should reap the rewards.
In France, since the European elections of May 2014, and Marine le Pen's breath-taking 25% of the vote - to the ruling Socialists' paltry 13% - she has said very little. She does not need to; between them, the left and the right are opening up a royal road for her to go through to the second round of the presidential elections in 2017...
What a welcome we received the weekend before last for the French League Playoff finals in Le Mans, a city a couple of hours train ride from Paris. Now on the wrong side of 30, I am happily able to say that squash still offers opportunities to seek out new venues and bustling sporting communities in unexpected places.
"I am more confident than ever that I will be the next European Commission President," tweeted former Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker on 4 June. Quite how he knew with such certainty so far in advance of the EU's elected national leaders is something of a mystery. Until, that is, you consider the continuing dominance of the Franco-German axis in the European Union...
Most are in agreement that the latest Premier League season was in fact a three-horse race and Blues fans could have been forgiven for getting their hopes up, even if they were ultimately left disappointed. A higher points total than the previous campaign shows progress, despite the fact that Chelsea could only manage back-to-back third place finishes.
Voters from the 28 member nations of the European Union delivered an election earthquake on May 25. Results show major gains in the European Parliament for anti-integration, Euroskeptic parties which span the ideological spectrum from the extreme-right National Front which won the ballot in France, to the far-left Syriza Party which came first in Greece.
With the World Cup just over two weeks away, fans from each nation will be predicting their team's chances in the prestigious tournament. Tournament favourites Spain, Germany, Argentina and hosts Brazil are the teams on the lips of football fans when discussing who could lift the historic trophy. But what about the teams who are not considered to have much chance of winning?