The opening days of the season is always special.
When that whistle blows, anything can happen. All the planning, signings and hard work either come together spectacularly, or you suffer the same gut-punch as the season before. Sometimes, the worst teams get off to a great start, teams that end up relegated win big against team that end up promoted. It is a day of freak results, a bit like Boxing Day and the final day of the season. There is no form to speak of, only excitement, expectation and (for 90 minutes at least) hope.
Tomorrow, we find out who we play and in what order. I have laughed at the clamour for the fixtures in the past, believing you play everyone twice, but 2019/20 put paid to that mockery. Of course, you want to know when the big games are, who we play on your birthday, or whether you can get a weekend away at Easter, don’t you? For me, the big dates are first game, mid-November (birthday), Christmas and New Year and August this season (as I might get a few days away). I’ll be eying trips to Hillsborough, and relishing another drive to Cambridge to see Fe;’s family and visit a proper old ground.
The first fixture will be that opening day though, and as I understand it we will be away, having been at home for a few seasons now. I think we’re waiting for the pitch to be ready too, so expect a trip somewhere on the opening day. We’ll go into the game full of hope, expectation and belief, won’t we? What happens that afternoon won’t define the season, but it will be memorable for years to come. To get you in the mood for fixture release, we’ve got five opening day fixtures from the past 30-odd years that remain as memorable as the day a ball was kicked. I’ve also picked away games, just to keep in sync with this coming season.