Ok. Deep breath. I’ve carried stuff downstairs all afternoon, in this hot hot weather (tomorrow morning I have to carry it upstairs, so it doesn’t get any easier…). I think you caught me at a bad time earlier as all I could do is moan about Luton at home. It is undoubtedly a great opener for us as a club, our opponents are current holders of the Johnstones Paint Trophy and extremely unfortunate not to still be in the league after the club were docked 30 points for the actions of a previous administration, with the points they won last year they would have finished mid-table in League Two.
So they should stroll this division, right? Well, no. The unnatural promotion/relegation between The Conference and The League of only two clubs up and down means some large clubs have got caught in the Conference net, and there is a great deal of deadwood still knocking about at the bottom of League Two. Our opponents have to face the prospect of a wound up Cambridge, beaten playoff finalists two years on the trot, an Oxford side who haven’t been able to work their way out despite their huge crowds, moneyed Stevenage have been knocking on the door for way too long, Wrexham and Mansfield will be looking for a challenge this year. Plus there are sides like Rushden and York who are going to be no pushovers.
Plus lets not knock ourselves out of contention before we have even begun. We are going to be a real wildcard this season, a young side looking to prove they have what it takes to launch a challenge in the coming years, in front of what should be a more hostile crowd to what we have seen in previous years, in a tight ground that’s likely to be full more often than its not. And Luton have to come here first.
Next up, Eastbourne away. My prediction we would play them on opening day was not far out. After the sellout Luton game its our first ‘usual’ Conference fixture. Perhaps a few hundred travelling fans and what will be a tough test for us, and an immediate return to the sort of fixture you sense means more to our opponents than it doe to us.
Our first Saturday trip sees us visit Kettering. Anther decent test for us against what I’m sure will be an upper midtable side. Quickfire games at home to Salisbury followed by Altrincham and our trip to the Manchester suburbs see u take a weeks rest before Oxford hit town. Probably our two biggest home games in our first three fixtures at Kingsmeadow.
But it doesn’t finish there! Our next home games see us face Wrexham, and then Cambridge United! A bit annoying, as the new facilities for visiting supporters will not be available, so we can’t just throw them in the corner, we have to give them the whole of the Kingston Road End (although surely we won’t give Wrexham the whole end for a midweek game?).
I’m sure the second fixture after opening day that any of us that celebrate our birthdays during the season is which game takes place closest to our big day. This year I will be spending most of my 32nd birthday in (or travelling to)Barrow-in-Furness.
So what is the most unappetising fixture on the list. Well as I correctly predicted yesterday we are playing Hayes and Yeading over Xmas, so our December trip to Salisbury looks like the best (or worst) candidate, being a Tuesday in early December, but cup runs could see other games moved.
Of course what I have been writing about for the last two months or so hasn’t been football. I know what your thinking, blog based on a football club, I’m sure I’ve been reading quite a bit about football here recently? Well you’re wrong. All I have been writing about has been the prospect of us playing football. Next weekend will see some element of football that we can view ourselves come back into the equation, albeit only friendlies. By the time I get my internet sorted I can finally write about the game itself once more!
Until then, take care of yourselves.