What record is it?

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Horatio glided across the training floor practising his Taekwondo moves, blocking invisible punches and flooring invisible attackers. Not even Darren’s entrance disturbed him from his fluid motion and fast strikes.

“Who’s that?” asked Darren, motioning to the body slumped under the window.

“He broke through the window, I took care of him.”

“I can see that. I don’t think anyone else will try to get pa…” Darren trailed off as he approached the body for a closer inspection. “You used a record!”

“Yeah. I mean I could’ve stretched out the fight, but I was right next to it and I thought, ‘Why not?'”

“But it was my favourite!” roared Darren as he flung a foot at Horatio.

Horatio blocked the kick with ease and turned to face Darren. “But you have so many, a whole wall of them. All my weapons are on the other side of the room.”

“Each record is special! You had no right to use it!”

“I could’ve missed.”

“You never miss!”

“Exactly. If I had missed it would’ve shattered into a hundred pieces when it hit the wall, but I have a feeling his flesh cushioned the record enough. Wipe it off and see if it still works.”

Horatio remained calm, but Darren eyed him for a minuted before turning to the body, removing the record, wiping it clean and placing it in the player.

It worked.

Are they scared?

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Have you ever noticed a single ant? A single ant is very hard to keep track of. It’s always moving, never sits still and is surprisingly quick for something so small.

But compare that to marching ants. Organised, single file, one clear objective. None look out of place, they’re all working together.

Together ants are organised and goal orientated, but alone they panic. I wonder what lone ants are thinking?

“Hey! Where is everyone! Where’s 7389945253? Where’s 3586574684? Where did 5333392501 go? Guys? Don’t leave me! I need to get home to 3659302090! I’m coming! I don’t care how long it takes me!”

Normally by now I’ve named the ant. And I hope that one day, Mr. Avocado N Turkey finds his family.

Is this the perfect gift?

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Recently I needed a new Bible, and at my favourite Christian bookstore I noticed advertising that said: “The perfect gift for any occasion”

And that got me thinking… Is the Bible really the perfect gift for every occasion?

A Bible is an appropriate gift for weddings, funerals, birthdays, graduations, new haircuts, new jobs, new pets, new hats, first date, first house, first football, first reading lesson, last murder, last breath, last drink, last hiccup… I’m sure the list goes on.

The Bible is a very versatile gift, but I thought of a situation where it isn’t appropriate.

“Hey <insert friends name>, congratulations on memorising the whole bible! I got you a Bible!”

What’s your World Cup 2018 moment?

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I don’t have one single moment to call my favourite, there were so many. But all those moments were witnessed by the fans, and they made my Russia 2018 experience so memorable.

Everyday I saw fans of all nationalities coming together and supporting their team. Through them I felt every emotion of football, and the overwhelming emotion was joy.

– Mexican fans celebrating like they had won the whole tournament after they beat Germany. And then celebrating with South Koreans a week later.

– Japanese and Senegalese fans staying behind and cleaning the stadium, even after they lost.

– English fans re-engagement with their team bringing it home.

– Argentinean fans and their roller-coaster of emotion in the group stage.

– Croatian pyro parties throughout their run to the final.

– Russian fans finding pride in their team when they feared embarrassment.

They’re the main ones I remember, and that was all at Russia. Before the tournament I saw unfancied Peru qualify for the first time since 1982, Panama and Iceland qualify for the first time, and Australia breathe a huge sigh of relief when they finally booked their ticket.

Of course another huge emotion was despair, surprisingly felt by a number of bigger sides, but still the simple joy of football was always just beneath the tears.

Where have Nike been?

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The World Cup is big for football brands, particularly adidas and Nike, and marketing in general.

As official supplier of the World Cup, adidas are always highly visible. The ball, the referees kit, the kids boots, they’re all adidas. Adidas also supply a fair share of the countries kits and boots for the players, their Predator, X and Nemisis stand out and grab attention. Adidas are always front and centre at a World Cup. But all this exposure for one brand, magnifies the lack of advertising from Nike.

Nike are largely muted this World Cup. Usually they release a top quality football film, but they haven’t. Even their most visible products of the World Cup are underwhelming. Their kits haven’t enthused me, the copy and paste template doesn’t show enough respect. And then their ‘Just Do It’ pack of boots is predominately white. You need a second look to know they’re Nike. Certainly not the star of the pitch Nike usually are.

But neither adidas or Nike are my stand-out advertisers. My favourite advertisements come from Wish, with their Time on Your Hands campaign. They got World Class footballers who aren’t in Russia to learn a new skill with all the time they have on their hands. It’s been my highlight of the half-time viewing.

Who’s your tip?

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Please, please, please do not ask me, because I always get it wrong.

Here are a few of my World Cup tips:
Germany to win the tournament.
Germany to advance after a first-up defeat.
Peru to beat France.
Serbia to beat Switzerland.
Senegal to go far, Quater Finals and beyond.
Nigeria to beat Argentina.
Spain to comfortably beat Russia.
Mexico to knock out Brazil.

They were all wrong, but it’s still one of the reason I love football.

What do you think of VAR?

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I am against VAR. I always have been, and this World Cup is not changing my mind.

I’ve seen it used well this World Cup and I’ve been shocked when it hasn’t been used for essentially the same incident. But you probably disagree… And that’s always been one of my main objections to VAR. Everyone can have a different view of the same incident. That will not change, so an extra four referees looking at the same incident will only use four more differing opinions for a decision.

It only takes time and disrupts the flow of the game. You need momentum and pressure to score. It keeps the crowd engaged and on the edge of their seat. I struggle to be on the edge of my seat waiting a minute for an off-the-ball incident to be replayed twenty times.

Some people say now we’ve got cameras looking everything simulation and exaggeration will go from the game, but I disagree. If players know things will be looked at and it will take a minute to judge, slowing down the game and relieving pressure, won’t it get worse?

These are just a couple of issues I have with VAR, and I don’t think they’re going away.