Well, if the reward for international football is a bumper week of Premier League football then I apologise to international football for all the rude things I have called it recently. What a week of action we've had, with some twists and turns, some slap and tickle, and some expert displays of boosting footballers' confidence in public!
Let's start in an unexpected way today. Just imagine how bad Sunderland against Burnley must have been to watch. 0-0 must have been the most guaranteed result of the day. It's nice to see Jermain Defoe back in the England squad though, if only as a reward for putting up with only being passed the ball about 25 times this season.
Calling us the worst doesn't help us. Telling girls in our area you are more likely to fall pregnant, be poor and fail in school doesn't help us. I know plenty of girls from Middlesbrough and the surrounding areas who are at Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and plenty of other russell group universities. I also know girls who are doing amazing well on apprenticeships in a wide variety of fields inside our amazing local industries and businesses.
You know what? I'm going to try to be an optimist. As avid readers of the Ignorant Fan's column can attest to, I was immensely confused by Boro's purchases this summer. However, I am going to believe in the club. I am going to believe that Karanka's fights with senior players in March have been forgiven and forgotten...
The Spaniard cut his mustard in the best possible manner - sitting in a comfy chair next to his soon-to-be adversary Jose Mourinho in the dugout at Real Madrid. Three years alongside the Special One gifted Karanka some priceless experience: winning La Liga ahead of an impossible rival in the form of Guardiola's previously unstoppable Barcelona, as well as a handful of cup glories.
I'm quite impressed with Mourinho's PR this summer. His arrival was greeted with questions about whether his inevitable sh*thousery would gel with the supposedly pristine image of Manchester United (not including Rooney and Giggs' infidelity issues, Keane's deliberate maiming of opponents and Fergie's constant whining of course). To counteract these doubts he is going out and buying any and all players with a rating of over 85 in FIFA 16.
I would urge anyone who considers themselves a proper football fan not to just live in the moment and believe that football was invented in 1992, or that Jamie Vardy is England's greatest goalscorer, but to get acquainted with your club's history, properly. It would help you win a few more arguments in the pub too.
Kate is one of central Middlesbrough's drug addicted, street prostitutes who sells her body for as little as £15. Fellow journalist Jack Gaskarth and I met Kate when out researching one evening. We wanted to find out how and why these woman end up on the streets and explore this via documentary film.
Who will be celebrating promotion? Usually the relegated sides are the safe option, and had I written this in August, I would most likely have predicted that Wigan, Fulham and Norwich would all be challenging for the top six, all in the top ten, and at least one returning to the promised land of grotesque amounts of TV money...