Paul Thompson

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THE NEW season is still seven weeks away but at times it feels that it is almost upon us.

Wednesday have unveiled their new home kit and a flurry of fixture changes; Milan Mandaric has been talking about what lies ahead; and Stephen Bywater has spoken with infectious enthusiasm about an “exciting” future.

The club have also learned how much they are going to get from the two televised games - the season’s opener at Oldham and the visit of Leeds.

It’s £75,000 to each club for the first-round Capital One Cup tie at Boundary Park: a generous boost from a competition that in my view deserves a higher profile, and the new sponsorship may help towards that end.

The fee for the Leeds game is £80,000 - but this season the away league team get nothing.

Five signings will be followed by seven others if the club reach their objective. It was expected that Bywater would sign a new deal, and he told me that was always his intention.

I must say that his attitude is praiseworthy: not a bit of wariness over the possibility that he could lose his place to Chris Kirkland, a former England player; and an emphasis on the club’s wellbeing.

The promotion-winning keeper wants to stay part of a set-up that could be going places again next season, and if he is not in the team he will give full support to those around him.

To me, the resolving of his future raises those images of the Wycombe game, because he told me a little story at the subsequent civic reception:

“I said to the ref ‘you do realise all these people are going to come running on to the pitch?’ The ref said ‘yeah, I’ll give you a shout when there’s a minute left’. So I was on my toes and ready to go.”

That was followed by a classic picture in the Green ‘Un of players sprinting for the tunnel and the crowd beginning to surge on to the pitch after the final whistle.

Less welcome this week has been the news that Arsenal have been eyeing Terry Burton. It would be a sad day if he left, The man who has worked closely with Dave Jones for seven years has been a popular figure at Hillsborough for his personality and coaching ability.

The home kit looks ok to me, with minor changes to last season’s: for instance a round, blue-edged neck instead of a white collar, the name Honda in red on the front of the shirt, a black patch on one shoulder, and black shorts and socks instead of blue.