After a curtailed campaign and a mid-table finish, what better way to spice up pre-season training than alongside a legend of the game?
That’s the situation players of League Two club Leyton Orient have found themselves in this week, with former Premier League and Champions League winner Yaya Toure linking up with the O’s.
The 37-year-old, who last played in China for Qingdao Huanghai, is keeping fit with the east London outfit for a couple of weeks after his agent approached the club.
But Orient fans dreaming of a signing which wouldn’t be out of place in the Football Manager computer game series will be disappointed, as Toure is set to head abroad once coronavirus travel restrictions are eased.
Yet the O’s squad will no doubt be picking the brains of the midfielder, who won three Premier League titles and the FA Cup with Manchester City.
Before that, Toure picked up La Liga twice with Barcelona, along with the Champions League and Club World Cup trophies in 2009.
Add in captaining Ivory Coast to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, and he certainly has a lot of experience to pass on during his stint training with Orient.
Pictures of Toure in his Orient gear were a hit on social media, garnering over 10,000 likes on Twitter within an hour of being posted.
It’s not the first time Orient have received worldwide attention this summer.
Based in Shenzhen and founded in 1998, the Chinese company Tencent enjoys huge popularity – and profits – in China.
Its cute penguin symbol is as familiar to Chinese children as the McDonalds “golden arches” logo is to children in the West, says the BBC’s China media analyst Kerry Allen.
“Tencent is thought of as so much more than just a Chinese company in China – it has gained a reputation as a family-friendly organisation that connects families, friends and work colleagues in a digital age,” she said.
“It has a business model that other Chinese companies can only envy – it can reach an audience of, basically, everyone.”
But many people in the West have never heard of it.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t present in our everyday lives, though – Tencent also owns chunks of some of Western culture’s most popular games, music and movies.
Like Google’s parent company, Alphabet, Tencent has a broad portfolio of interests, although arguably it remains best known for its messaging services.
US president Donald Trump singled out the app WeChat in his most recent executive order, which demands US firms stop doing business with it.
WeChat has over a billion users, both inside China and around the world – the Chinese version is called Weixin.
It is often compared to WhatsApp – and certainly it is widely used for messaging – several US messaging apps and social media sites are banned by the Chinese state so you can’t (officially) Facebook message a friend in Beijing, for example.
But there’s a lot more to WeChat than messaging.
It’s more akin to a separate operating system: just like you might use Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS for a variety of tasks, it is used to read news, pay bills, order transport or food, and run small businesses.
The firm has not revealed just how profitable WeChat is on its own, but it is clear that Tencent – as a whole – is thriving.
Earning results for the first quarter of 2020 showed a total revenue of 108 billion Chinese yuan ($15.2 billion) – an increase of 26% year-on-year, despite the coronavirus pandemic. Alphabet’s revenue for the same period was $41.2 bn.
Crunchbase’s Tencent entry lists 479 investments, with a fund totalling $6.6bn. It would be tedious to go through them all, but let’s take a quick look at some of them.
It is clear that Tencent makes a lot of money via gaming.
Tencent is the largest video games publisher in the world. It has a stake in the two most popular Battle Royale-style games: Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PubG).
It owns a 40% stake in Fortnite studio, Epic games, and has the license to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PubG) – although it failed in its own battle to get the game approved for distribution in China.
It also owns the entire League of Legends studio, Riot Games.
Tencent Pictures, its film and production arm, has been involved in a large number of Hollywood movies, including Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Wonder Woman (2017) and the upcoming Top Gun sequel, Top Gun: Maverick – scheduled for release in 2021.
Oh – and there’s also the small matter of the Chinese giant owning 5% of the US electric car firm Tesla.
In_pictures What is the US concerned about?
President Donald Trump says that the spread in the US of mobile apps developed and owned by Chinese firms “threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States”.
The US government says both Bytedance’s TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat “capture vast swaths of information from its users”.
“This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information,” it claims.
Tencent’s chief executive and co-founder Ma Huateng, known as Pony Ma, is widely assumed to support the Communist Party. He is a member of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s national parliament.
Trump’s executive order also claims both WeChat and TikTok gather data on Chinese nationals visiting the US, allowing Beijing “to keep tabs” on them.
Prof Alan Woodward, a cyber security expert from Surrey University, points out that for international users, WeChat data sits on servers outside of China – meaning in theory that it is more protected from state scrutiny.
“Just as with TikTok, the concern is that the parent company is Chinese and thus it may be argued that they are indeed subject to the Chinese Intelligence Act,” he said.
Tencent has so far issued the briefest of responses to the news from the US: “We are reviewing the executive order to get a full understanding,” it said.
Two photographs of Prince George have been released to mark his seventh birthday on Wednesday.
In both the photos, taken by his mother the Duchess of Cambridge, the future king flashes a gap-toothed smile at the camera.
She photographed her son earlier this month and the pictures are likely to have been taken at their Norfolk home.
Kensington Palace said Prince William and Catherine were “delighted” to share the photos.
In one of the pictures, George is dressed in a dark green polo shirt and in the other he stands side-on, dressed more casually in a T-shirt with a camouflage design.
The prince is the great-grandchild of the Queen. He will be the 43rd monarch since William the Conqueror obtained the crown of England in 1066 if, as is expected, he follows on as king from his grandfather, the Prince of Wales, and then his father, the Duke of Cambridge.
Prince George was pictured several times during the coronavirus lockdown with his younger siblings, five-year-old Princess Charlotte and two-year-old Prince Louis, as they applauded heath and care workers during the weekly Clap for Carers.
Prince George Alexander Louis – known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge – was born on 22 July 2013.
He was born in the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in central London and appeared in front of the world’s media one day later, when Prince William and Catherine stood cradling him on the hospital steps.
Earlier this year, the duke and duchess spoke about home-schooling George and his brother and sister while schools closed to most pupils during lockdown.
Everton have signed four overseas players this summer, including France striker Valerie Gauvin, but Kirk does not think that will affect the growth of young British talent in the WSL if the league expands.
“I’m looking at players in my squad like Grace Clinton, who is a really talented teenager, and she’s probably the sixth-choice midfielder,” he added.
“She could play for every Championship team and possibly a couple of WSL teams.
“As long as you keep on expanding the game and add on a couple of teams, I don’t think there is a problem [with foreign players coming in].
“There are talented British players due to come back over from the United States soon and there is a lot of good talent coming through.”
“It’s been a real revolution since I came in,” he said. “It was about survival when I first came in then there was a bit of a rebuilding job.
“We knew we would be in a good place over the summer in terms of recruitment.
“We are ahead of the curve in terms of being able to attract the names of those we hope to bring in down the line and to try to make Everton a force again like they were back in the days when they were challenging for titles.”
Four police officers were hurt when a gathering on a beach ended in violence, the Kent force has said.
The party for underprivileged London youth was held at Greatstone beach near New Romney but more people than expected turned up, organisers said.
Police said a fight broke out at about 21:00 BST on Sunday, when the officers were injured and a 29-year-old London man was arrested.
Pictures of the event and rubbish left behind have circulated on social media.
Twitter users described an event with “thousands of people, police unable to do anything, no masks, no social distancing”.
On Facebook, people posted pictures of waste and described the scenes as “absolutely disgusting”.
Organiser Wayne Williams, who runs Croydon restaurant Flavour Boss, said about 200 people, aged 16 to 24, had bought tickets and were taken to the coast in three coaches for a day out.
He said: “These are kids who have never ever gone beyond London… [let alone] to the beach.”
But he said while details of the barbecue had been removed from social media, “more people turned up from all over”.
Mr Williams said organisers tried to work with police and hold the event at Camber Sands in East Sussex but after permission was refused the group ended up at Greatstone.
Organisers used a microphone to remind people to socially distance, he said.
Mr Williams has offered to pay to clear up the beach.
He said he believed the event had been unfairly criticised, adding: “When Camber Sands has 30,000 people, nobody talks about Camber, but they talk about black people on the beach. We feel this is racist.”
Mr Williams said his coaches left Greatstone before the fight broke out.
Kent Police said the event had been planned but officers were not made aware of the exact location.
Supt Simon Thompson said: “Our officers responded to calls regarding a large group of people on Greatstone beach and remained in the area throughout the day to ensure those gathering were following guidelines.”
Rother council said it initially gave permission for a private barbecue for 20 people on Camber Sands, but when it came to light a much larger event was planned, the organiser was told it was not possible because of coronavirus guidelines and the need for detailed operational planning.
Folkestone council leader David Monk said no permission was granted by the council and the council was not in contact with organisers before the event went ahead at Greatstone.
He said: “The sheer amount of rubbish left behind is disgusting. Our waste crews have been on site all morning and continue to work hard to clean the area.”
Mr Monk said the council had contacted the organiser and was considering legal action.
Three women have shared their experiences after 30% of survey respondents said they had suffered trolling – a figure that has doubled in the past five years.
Here are the athletes’ stories in their own words.
Warning: Contains language some readers may find offensive.
‘It feels like harassment’
Wales rugby union international Elinor Snowsill describes the constant private messages she gets from some men in response to her posts as akin to harassment.
“It’s just a bit relentless. It sometimes feels a bit like harassment. It’s such a strong word but if that person was constantly coming up and reacting to everything you did in real life, it would feel a bit odd.
“It’s emoji reactions with heart eyes or blowing kisses. Or ‘very nice’, ‘looking good’. Other ones are completely random like telling me something about themselves. If it carries on, most of the time I block them.
“About four years ago, I had one who commented on something that made me think he was near and knew where I was. I had posted and I was in a public place. That did scare me a bit. I blocked him and was quite careful with what I put up.
“It’s never women who do it. It feels more threatening because if there ever was a situation where someone took it to the extreme, generally men have more power in a situation than women because they’re stronger. It just has that different edge to it.
“What kind of mindset are they in that they would constantly do something without ever getting a response?
“It just makes you question where their limit is. You don’t know them and they often don’t have pictures of their faces in their profiles. You can’t actually find out anything about them. That’s what makes it more threatening.”
In 2015, Olympic gold medal-winning hockey player Susannah Townsend’s Instagram account was hacked and she describes the lack of control she felt as “awful”.
“I couldn’t get into my account. I tried to find it and it said it couldn’t find the user.
“I searched and searched on the GB Women’s hockey account to find myself and my name had been changed to ‘come in my face’.
“I couldn’t get it taken down for about a week. There wasn’t anyone who could help me.
“I can’t actually change my password on Instagram because the hacker put something in that I don’t have any control over. I’m trying to get on top of that right now because I’m paranoid something else will happen.
“They blocked about 3,000 followers. I lost about 4,000 followers. They deleted everything I’d posted but they didn’t post anything.
“It was pretty awful because they had control over my account. They had control over my messages. They had control over everything. It’s all a bit of a blur because I was so panicked about how to get it sorted.
“The thing I struggled with is that I felt like I was fighting this battle to do it myself. No-one knew how to help me.
“Giving athletes someone they can call if they get hacked or if something goes wrong is quite important.
“Athletes are petrified of being hacked all the time – not because you’ve got something to hide, it’s just your own privacy.
“Every time I put #LGBTQ on a post, you get people throwing abuse at you for being gay still. People say: ‘God will hate you. You’re going to go to hell.’ All that stuff is quite common.
“It’s hate stuff. For some people who post that for the first time with that hashtag, then they get that… I can imagine they wouldn’t post it again.
“The implications could be that people will not openly be gay, or whatever preference they have. People just won’t be open because you’re scared of being laughed at, criticised, outed by other people.”
‘It’s never about the football’
Northern Ireland and Charlton Athletic footballer Rachel Newborough mostly avoids social media because of the abuse sportswomen receive, but she knows this affects her sponsorship opportunities. She is also familiar with the effects of trolling, having played with Renee Hector who sank into depression after suffering online abuse when she reported racist discrimination.
“I do have social media accounts but I’m not overly engaged with it because you open yourself up. The downside to that is if you’re a real presence on social media, then you can get brilliant sponsorships and earn a side living from it. It’s a great opportunity.
“I know myself and a lot of girls get the odd random person private messaging you things. It’s never about the football.
“I find that frustrating. If you go through a lot of female footballers, a lot of it isn’t about the football – it’s about how pretty they are or whatever clothing item they’re showing off. That’s great but you want to be told you’re great for your football.
“When you go into women’s football from age 16, you’re still quite vulnerable.
“I know players in my team have really struggled off the back of it. Renee Hector came to Charlton so I had the opportunity to speak to her. I know her involvement with social media has been really difficult.
“I don’t think any of us have been trained in how to deal with that. The Football Association comes in once a year and says what not to put on social media, along with the talk of not betting on football and things like that. Maybe at that point, they should also tell us how to deal with the backlash.
“Mental health-wise as well, maybe the psychologists we have in women’s football – the clubs that are fortunate enough to have them – could do something to help us know how to deal with it or, in the younger teams, have a person to report it to.”
Social media trolling is one of many issues raised by the BBC Elite British Sportswomen’s Survey. BBC Sport will be shining a spotlight on the others with coverage throughout the week on the BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC TV. More information can be found here.