SUNDERLAND racked up the air miles this summer with trips to Italy, Denmark and Hong Kong on the pre-season itinerary.
The Asia Trophy was the most high profile, and any tournament with Spurs and Manchester City competing in it has to be significant.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who were actually out there, like most of our fans, I had to settle for TV coverage.
While bearing in mind that results in pre-season games, no matter how high-profile, can be misleading, I was encouraged by what I saw.
Beating Spurs and narrowly losing to City, for me, were just details.
What I really liked was how the new players performed and the fact they all looked sharp and eager.
But perhaps the biggest plus was the re-emergence and form of Wes Brown.
Watching him, you would never have believed he had been out for 18 months.
He looked assured and confident and even scored a goal against Spurs.
His pedigree and ability have never been in doubt - it is only his injury record that goes against him.
If he can regain full fitness and more importantly stay injury-free, that will be a massive plus for us this season.
The new players are obviously going to be the main focus of attention in the early games but a fit Wes Brown could be as important and influential as any of them.