Those of you who didn’t sleep through Friday will be aware the Fixtures/Results section of the O/S has been updated with all our lovely league fixtures for next term, capped by that Frankenstein fixture in the Carling Cup at Crawley – although no PSFs as yet (which is starting to frustrate even the more patient of Dons fans…). I’m starting to wonder whether we’ve even managed to arrange any more than those we are aware of… part of the problem could be the game previously announced on the Leyton Orient website has now disappeared, replaced by a short tour of Finland, and coupled with the Crawley game it does seem as though we are being messed around left, right and centre.

Now this blog has never featured a fixtures page, I’ve never really seen the point. They take way too much time and effort to update. Which is a good thing, as our return to the Football League once again pits us against the fixtures copyright, and the aggressively litigious DataCo. Much more significant websites and fanzines have come a cropper at the hands of their lawyers, yet still the militant side of me wonders how the copyright can be sidestepped.

Simply typing the fixtures out in a large block without punctuation is unlikely to work, for example ‘sixthaugustbristolrovershomethirteenthaugustdagenhamaway’ not only because, well, obviously it’s not avoiding the copyright, merely masking it, but also as its likely to give anyone attempting to use it a migraine within thirty seconds. Picking out the all important Christmas and New Year fixtures in the middle of that is nigh on impossible.

Then I thought, maybe you could simply list the fixtures as a series of anagrams, e.g 8th August – Striver or slob (home) 13th August Mega hand (away). Again, this probably wouldn’t be considered safe by experts in copyright law. I did enquire out of interest, just how much DataCo would charge me for reproducing the Dons fixtures here, and the quote came back as £266.00 (exc VAT). I don’t often use swear words in this blog, not because I’m anti-swearing but because using certain words frequently reduces their impact… but regarding that fee… no fucking way!

Instead if you want to refer to this season fixtures you can view them on the O/S here.

Bristol Rovers become the first club to visit Kingsmeadow for a Football League fixture, the first of three fixtures against clubs that spent last season in League One. The fact the game represents our first game back in the League would be enough to comfortably sell out regardless of our opponents, but our visitors travelling support, particularly on opening day, should comfortably fill the small visitors section at the north end of the JS (not that any of them will actually see much of the game…). Which with the moderate ground improvements should see a capacity, and therefore record crowd.

Our first away game gives us our first League London derby since our trip to Millwall in February 2002. Dagenham have thoughtfully built a 1200 seat stand for visiting fans, which we should sell out. In fact given the amount of season tickets we have sold, and the relative proximity of the fixture might mean its a case of getting in the queue early.

Completing the trio of relegated clubs, we visit one of the divisions largest the following Tuesday, when we make the long trip down to Devon to play Plymouth Argyle, and its fair to say you probably won’t be needing your season ticket vouchers for that one. Annoying considering my personal history with the city that we head down on a midweek, as predicted a couple of weeks back. Still I’ll make the journey all the same, although the sheer number of new grounds we visit gives me a headache.

I know for financial reasons I’ll only make one or two away games a month, so Dagenham and Plymouth (which will also cost me two days holiday) means I won’t be travelling to Macclesfield at the end of the month. It’s a little harder to second guess further than that due to participation in cup competitions, although our second trip to Devon for the Torquay game in October will probably be a no go. And wouldn’t the fixture generator give us Rotherham away the week before Christmas, just days before I travel up to South Yorkshire for Christmas with the family. Hey, maybe I could just stay up there and travel back on Boxing Day so as not to miss the Oxford game? I can’t see the folks going for it, so with Doncaster Rovers away my festive football fix will be a local non-league game or feet up in front of the telly, depending on how cold it is.

Other holiday fixtures of note (and I see there are no August Bank Holiday fixtures in the League this time around), Southend come to us for a rare New Years Eve fixture before we travel to Swindon on January 2nd. Easter will see Rotherham at Kingsmeadow on the Saturday before a trip to Southend on Easter Monday, and I can’t be the only one not looking at that and thinking of a nice spring day at the seaside? Although it isn’t actually a holiday (not yet anyway), for the first time in  a couple of years we aren’t travelling to Barrow on my birthday. In fact we aren’t playing anyone yet, as that weekend is scheduled for the FA Cup First Round (how nice not to have to qualify…).

To close the season, Shrewsbury are coming down on the first weekend of May. I’m not sure how but we seem to have been given a larger than normal amount of home fixtures on key dates (first and last day, two over Christmas…). I’m sure you would have your own personal favourites… the two games against our London rivals, the derby-of-sorts with Aldershot perhaps. One thing we probably all are aware is if there’s something riding on the final game, its likely to be our visitors Shrewsbury looking for a playoff place. We may not challenge, but even more than the first season in the Conference I feel it will take quite a while for the novelty factor to wear off. Lets just enjoy the ride.

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