While some thoughts are turning to the coffee bars and nocturnal attractions of Amsterdam, where the Lads go for a pre-season tournament* pitting us against some tasty opposition, simpler pleasures arrived in today's post.
One was an excellent new Roy Bailey album – Billy Bragg says he's as challenging as Clash ever were, but then this is a sentence that probably belongs at Salut! Live. The other was the new ALS Toon Doon T-shirt, which is also excellent.
It graced the badminton courts of Le Lavandou in the south of France tonight, but I thought it looked better on the ALS model. But Marie-Noelle, one of my badminton pals, did ask: "C'est quoi ca, Toon Doon?" I explained the two important events of the last day of the season, and she quickly understood (or humoured me).
My thanks to Pete Sixsmith for sending it. He'll do anything to keep in with the editor.
* Book your Dutch treat to be around the Amsterdam Arena between July 24 and 26; Sunderland join Ajax, Atletico Madrid and Benfica. I know managers always say pre-season games are "all about fitness" especially if they've just lost, but wouldn't it be encouraging for the new, Toon-free, Boro-free season to do well in such company?