If you were thinking FSM had taken a hiatus over the summer given our lack of regular activity on here, then you could probably be forgiven. That thing called life gets in the way sometimes – moving house, the prospect of football coming home, and afternoons spent soaking in Britain’s warmest summer since 1976 – to name a few things.
Cast your mind back to June's footballing extravaganza in Russia, and it seems inconceivable that nearly every UK-based reporter deemed the world cup a failure before a ball had been kicked in anger. However with Robbie Williams headlining the opening ceremony, it kind of set the tone for the entire tournament of sticking to the tried and trusted method. Spain clearly hadn’t read the script, and their decision to sack Julen Lopetegui days before their opening fixture against Portugal was nothing short of disastrous for squad morale. Despite this, the Germans were the only major casualty in the group stages.
A pulsating set of knockout fixtures ensued, and I’ll take England’s shootout victory against the Colombians with me to the grave (if you’ve noticed, we never win at these). As a neutral, the other standout game of the tournament was France’s epic 4-3 triumph over Lionel Messi’s Argentina, also coming in the same round. There was of course THAT goal scored by Benjamin Pauvard, rightly awarded the goal of the tournament as well. Ultimately, the French were worthy winners given their attacking prowess and clinical finishing in front of goal.
For England, it was a tournament which instilled some much needed belief at the upper echelons of the oldest football association in the world. Given the unenviable balancing act which the FA has between its own interests and maintaining the commerciality of the richest domestic league in the world, hopefully we will now see some proper backing given to Southgate, rather than just lip-service.
Meanwhile at FSM we noticed an insatiable appetite for shirts of national sides during the World Cup, with almost all of our sales over the summer months comprising of these alone. We are therefore delighted to announce that more Black Dragon shirts are soon to become available. What’s that I hear you say? Is this the jersey that was rejected by the Chinese FA, then recalled en masse, and finally destroyed? Yes, that's the one!
You will also be pleased to know that FSM has launched a partnership with a Tokyo-based retailer to provide you with your favourite J-League shirts. Simply send us your requests via firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll respond with their availability.
Another segment where we have expanded our reputation lately is in namesets. FSM has carefully selected a number of MLS namesets for only the most sophisticated MLS collectors out there. These official namesets are manufactured in the US, as indicated by having three stars inscribed on the edge of the numbers. Look out for Rooney, Ibra and Giovinco!
I promise not to leave it so long for our next update – those post-summer blues got the better of me this time around.