After months of testing, tweaking and concessions to the ‘No! Make it more Bane!‘ lobby, Nike have started promoting their Squad Snood. 

In the real world it’s just another fashion transgression from the people who bought you day-glo boots, ham shirts and the Gucci manbag. For some members of the football community though, it’s reappearance heralds the start of another pitched battle for football’s soul.

In a war as ironic as it is tedious. 

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Given the response to his club’s tweeted status last weekend, you might have expected Cristiano Ronaldo’s entourage would be keeping a closer eye than usual on statements about their charge emerging into the public domain. Cristiano is used to golden breezes caressing his bronze and chiselled cheek so the harsh blowback from the press and social media over Juventus ‘great professional’ comments will have chapped his face quite badly.

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I’ve just realised how mentally ill I was in my twenties. Not via the conventional channel of therapy, upon which I’m frantically paddling after waves of mental health, but by listening to a podcast about serial killers and an old Oasis B side.

The human brain is a very complex organ, y’know.

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My Monster. Yesterday.

My subconscious is definitely smarter than I am. Unfettered by me, it would probably have passed loads more exams than I did, gone to uni, been a proper person, made good contacts and given itself the best possible run at a career in writing.

My subconscious had it easy though. It was able to see life clearly, assess it and identify a sensible, well lit path for it to follow to the required destination. Sign posted and everything.

I emerged onto that same path in the midst of a fistfight with a foe I wouldn’t get a good look at until I was in my early thirties. Every step I took, every decision I made was taunted by this relentless, petty creature, who liked to lounge on my back and critique my progress, desperate for a misstep so it could remind me how the whole thing was my own fault because I was crap.

Reader? Anxiety. Anxiety? Reader.

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Some books are bad. Not in a Mein Kampf sort of way, although there’s plenty of that about. In this case I mean the ‘if my parents catch me reading this trash, some non-specific unholiness will envelope my family and I’ll be ostracised from the community’ way.

In my early teens, these books were generally located on my Gran’s bookshelf.

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r/Braincels, earlier today.

No one cared about Incels when they were just writing shit on the internet. We all care about Incels now because a man called Alek Minassian committed an atrocity in Toronto, someone looked at his internet history (which is basically the first thing journalists and writers do while normal people are still in shock) and found a Facebook shoutout referencing Elliot Rodger.

The net effect of this is to make us feel incredible anger towards a group of people that claims it only exists because ‘normal’ society has already excluded them.

For reference, Incel is a term reportedly coined by an individual called Alana “as a name for an online support forum for singles, basically a lonely hearts club”.

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