On Wednesday FC Barcelona confirmed the 2016 Joan Gamper Trophy will be played on 10th August against Italian club Sampdoria. As usual this annual competition is to be played at Barça's Camp Nou stadium and although the match isn't the most important in Barcelona's calendar, it does give supporters a chance to see the players before the real work gets underway.
Whilst England have won only 17% of their penalty shootouts, Germany and Argentina have won over 70%. Even Denmark and the Czech Republic have higher success rates. So why is it that even these smaller footballing nations have significantly more penalty success than England? Jordet identified an "ego-threat" which can cause athletes to change their behaviour when they perceive a situation as being potentially harmful or threatening to their status.
When the extent of violence you have witnessed is an Irishman trying to impale Red Devils with their own inflatable tridents and you've spent the day dancing with people you have never met while singing the OG lyrics of Gala "Freed From Desire," where Will Grigg isn't on fire and no one's defence is terrified yet you start to realise these fans transcend the game of football for the better....
I've had a bit of a love hate relationship with Newcastle United fans, I love their passion for their club and you have to have the up most respect for them for that, but you get one little transfer deal fall through like 'Bas Dost' not signing on Tuesday ;) and you would think I personally relegated them from the amount of abuse I got off a majority of them on Twitter!
Louis van Gaal, the current manager of Manchester United, is a confusing figure. Frequently disarming and able to display a self-deprecating humour, he's occasionally also abrasive and blinkered. Sometimes, he's just downright weird, a facet of his personality that came to the fore after the most recent act of thuggery from one of his least admirable players, a certain Monsieur Fellaini.
Leicester City, Champions of England. It has a ring of authenticity to it that's been hard fought for and deeply merited. Whereas "Champions Spurs" - well, it just doesn't sound right. It sounds instead like cheap fiction; and, as long as the club and the fans retain their current losers' mindset, that's just how it will remain.
With all of this conducted by Mauricio Pochettino's rising star it's easy to dream of the title, to get swept away with the all the plaudits and wild predictions about how far this team can go - 'And they're only young' is often uttered at the end of such discussions. But the little bit of pessimism that still lurks in the back of my mind is only concerned about finishing in the top four...