The World Cup sticker album is now officially worth buying, and Vladimir Putin had better watch out, because Pontus Jansson is going to Russia. There's already speculation about Zlatan Ibrahimovic coming out of international retirement; I hope he does, and then Sweden don't pick him, because I'm petty about Scummers. They should take Marcus Antonsson if they need a striker. No word yet on Tomas Brolin's intentions, although the brilliant David Squires has already got Super Tom in the mix, or of Teddy Lucic, last seen a few years back scoring a goal for lower division Holmalund (while he was supposed to be coaching them) at the age of 42.
Pontus didn't play in Sweden's stubborn defensive draw against Italy, but he was central to this magnificent celebratory destruction of Eurosport's pitchside desk. Good job Martin Keown wasn't on that panel, as these nice people seem to be seeing the funny side.
Eunan O'Kane's Ireland™ play Denmark tonight, while England's friendly against Brazil is threatening to be too emotional to bear: Gareth Southgate says of Dominic Solanke, Angus Gunn and Lewis Cook that "I won’t have any hesitation in putting them on the pitch", while Lewis himself, talking about being the last England captain to lift a World Cup, says, “It is obviously a great achievement for myself, to be named in the same sentence as someone Bobby Moore,”. If he plays I won't handle it. I won't even try to.
Two bits from Elland Road: 2017/18 Half Season Tickets are now on sale, one of those simple things it's still a bit of a relief to see the club actually doing, and there will be bespoke rainbow coloured corner flags flying when Aston Villa come to Elland Road, part of the Football League's support for Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign. The new issue of The Square Ball, out before the Middlesbrough game on Sunday, contains an interview I did with the Marching Out Together fans' group about why campaigns like this are important. This is the cover; hey, at least we're only making drawings and jokes about our goalkeepers, instead of calling them names on Twitter, right? There's also an interview with club MD Angus Kinnear inside, and bizarrely enough, actual on the record quotes from Ken Bates. Yes, that Ken Bates.
Speaking of the Boro game, the build up to the biggest derby match of the season is already ah I'm kidding. Phil Hay has written about the varying form of the two club's coaches, although the most interesting part is in his tweet, but not mentioned in the article: Double training sessions and additional work as Leeds attempt to throw the kitchen sink at Middlesbrough and Monk.
Up on Teeside, Gazette Boro editor Philip Tallentire reckon Monk doesn’t deserve a hostile reception. "If a section of the Leeds United fanbase is to be believed, Garry Monk is a Judas, a traitor, someone who left the club high as soon as Boro came calling. Frankly, that’s nonsense." The article is just a retread of what we already know about why Monk left — he didn't want to work for Orta, he wanted a longer contract — so in that respect, it's absolutely right. But no smoggie is going to tell me what to do, so: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO deep breath BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Hello dearest patrons of Patreon. After fretting about emailing you too often the other week, I've swung all the way another way, and starting now I'm going to email you every damn day. Well, every week day. This season I've been working out ways to filter and record news about Leeds United (in other words, to make NewsNow and Twitter as useful as they used to be), and those notes are the basis of the Saturday morning Gazzetta podcasts. It occurred to me that with a bit of a tidy up those same notes might be good as a daily email about Leeds United, so that's what this is going to be. It's going out to all patrons on every tier on an experimental basis, so let's see how it goes. Feedback is welcome! And if you think someone might want to get this for $1 a month or more, you're welcome to forward it to them with some words of gentle encouragement about signing up. Enjoy, and as ever, thank you all for your magnificent support.