Well, if Carlsberg made friendlies… we couldn’t have asked for much more. No injuries. I repeat no injuries. And there was also the small matter of a 5-1 win against a side who strolled to a well-deserved promotion last season against the odds.
Does that remind you of another team we all know well?
Apart from one unintentionally heavy tackle on Kenny McLean, there was nothing in this one to complain about. Luton wanted to keep a clean bill of health as much as we did.
Teemu Pukki and Emi Buendia did not feature on Saturday at Kenilworth Road, which to me appears to be sensible management of resources by Daniel Farke as Pukki (toe issues aside) had a 56-game season and Buendia can only take so many over-enthusiastic challenges.
Several bonuses emerged from this game too.
Josip Drmic notched a hat-trick. How bad is that to boost the confidence of a striker who, although a Swiss international, has never played in the English Leagues before?
By all accounts, Patrick Roberts played a blinder, with an impressive strike and two assists. Yes, a well-taken corner or two count as assists to me.
Timm Klose was back and in full effect.
All we need now is to see Super Mario and our very own functioning antique (aka Alex Tettey) back on the green stuff. And it should be imminent in both cases, we are told.
Of course, it’s under a fortnight to go now and this is probably the last light-hearted article MFW readers will get between now and next season’s end. Oh yes, it’s down to that proverbial nitty-gritty.
Atalanta on Tuesday night will be a real test. I’ve never seen them play but they’re supposed to be a bit tasty. I fully expect a large element of largely non-contact showboating in that particular match.
Then it’s Toulouse on the following Saturday and I will subsequently realise for sure that the season is imminent. I parlez enough to be able to ask their supporters afterwards what they think of us and I will do so. Mind you they probably speak better English than I do. I hope so as the Southern French dialect and my lugs don’t really get on too well.
I’m meeting my mates in the Ribs of Beef before the game (if anybody knows why it’s a 16:00 kick-off rather than a 15:00 please let me know – can’t be the weather) and that is when it gets serious.
No more soporific enjoyment of the summer after the high of promotion. Just the black humour concerning what we’re about to face that will abound among the “middle ages” such as my lot.
I’m looking forward to it immensely – I haven’t seen the lads since April.
And then I’ll enjoy my “Newcastle Day” Upper Barclay reunion to see who’s returned, who’s moved and who’s jacked it in. I don’t suspect many, if indeed any, to be in the latter category.
Football’s coming home all right. And I’m glad – it’s been a long old summer.
Talking of injuries I have to attend the NNUH on August 27 to have every single one of my teeth out under general anaesthetic so if I’m a little quiet after that for a brief while I’m sure MFW readers will understand. If you’re grateful for my abscess (I mean absence) I fully understand.
Finally, I would like to offer best wishes to Archant’s Michael Bailey in his new career, as many others have done elsewhere. A true gent, a genuinely lovely fella. Doing a podcast with him is just pure fun.
And good luck to his successor Dave Freezer who is a great bloke too.
On to Atalanta…
I went to the Carra Ticket Office this morning to get my ticket for Toulouse.
After an unexpectedly long wait, the extremely pleasant young lady behind the counter asked me where I’d like to sit. I replied that absolutely anywhere in the Barclay or the Snakepit would be just fine.
She advised me of entrances etc but I said don’t bother as I know the Barclay double backwards.
I didn’t look at my ticket until I got home and… I’m in the bl00dy South Stand!!!
First time for everything and I don’t care – after all, it’s a friendly – but I’ve never known DC’s lot make a cock-up like that before.