Monday, 20 June 2011

So which games are you going to?

Has anyone else seen Fever Pitch? You know the scene when the couple are lying in bed and she’s trying to plan a holiday, but he won’t. And she gets angry because the reason he won’t is that it might clash with an Arsenal game…

I realised this morning: that is me!

I’ve got loads planned for July… holiday with the boyfriend, going to see Take That (again) and the last Harry Potter film. But until Friday I couldn’t see beyond there.

Suddenly, by the end of the afternoon on Fixture List Day I knew exactly where I was going to be every weekend until April next year.

So here’s the pick of my favourites, helped along once again by the Town Tweeps who had lots of banter going that day.

In the absence of Naaaarwich, the first games I looked for were the first and last and I was rather pleased because I have family in Bristol. It’s a long way to go if we lose… but Town had an unexpected win there last season and it’s hard to turn down football when you haven’t seen it for three months.

Speaking of the last game I went to see; while me and my sister were in Leicester we made a pact that from now on we would always go to the last game of the season together – so I’m equally pleased to find that this year that will be Doncaster Away.

Regular readers will know that I considered this fixture the best one of last season; the score and the atmosphere were great. Can I wholeheartedly recommend it to Town fans? It’s easy to get to (more so for me as I live twenty minutes down the A1!) and there’s lots of parking. A brilliant little shopping centre nearby provides plenty of options for pre-match food and the ground itself is almost brand new. Pencil it in your diaries now!

So, having sorted those dates out I looked towards the second trip my sister and I promised to make together – Blackpool away. Joyfully, this is in September so I am, so far, able to keep to my budgeting rule of one game a month. I missed this fixture when Blackpool were last in the same league; but will not be doing so again. As an ex-Premier League side this promises to be an exciting game and I plan to party afterwards: win, lose or draw!

Next up, I always like to see where we will be around my birthday. This year Watford Away is the day after so I feel a trip to London coming on. Hope the date suits @Blue_Fred who told me this was the game he was most looking forward to: ‘I know we never bloody win but it’s only 15 minutes drive away’.

Like him, I also try and make it to all the games that are near where I live. Being from Yorkshire, there are slightly less options on offer this year with Sheffield United and Preston being relegated. But there’s still plenty to go to, along with Doncaster.

The big one is obviously Leeds, a game @dave_harrison was also keeping an eye out for: ‘I live in Leeds, so that’s the big one for me!’ Personally I have been avoiding this match, having been put off by how their fans behaved the day we got them relegated, but I’ll see how I feel a bit closer to January 21st.

There’s also my now local team, Barnsley. Hate the fans, hate the ground, but love having an away game literally five minutes down the road! So, on December the 10th I will definitely be making the trip to Oakwell.

Also being discussed on Twitter were the Festive fixtures: Leicester and Reading Away has disappointed some fans. But I’m making sure I have a Christmas at home this year so a quick trip to the Midlands shouldn’t be too difficult for me – and will give the boyfriend a break from the childlike hyperactivity that shines from me every Christmas.

Finally, Carl Marston from the EADT has also given his take on the fixture list; including what he feels will be the ‘hardest stretch’ and the ‘easiest stretch’. Whilst it is refreshing to see that the final games are considered ‘easy’, I want to make my point that this theory just isn’t going to apply in practice.

Remember last year? Remember the ‘easy games’ that ended in dull draws and defeats from last minute goals? Remember the frustration we were feeling at the lack of consistency?

But then remember the games that no-one expected us to win? Remember Bristol away, Cardiff away and of course Arsenal at home?

The best thing about the Championship is that is so unpredictable. Anyone can win, any game, on any day. I wouldn’t bet a penny on any of our games, or any other teams for that matter, because you can never guarantee an outcome.

What matters more is that the players are up for it and want to win this year. What matters more is the consistent support from the back room staff, starting with Paul Jewell.

But what matters most is that we, the fans, are there for them. So don’t get frustrated that Town haven’t bought as many players as you’d like. Don’t get annoyed with the board because they didn’t secure Jimmy Bullard or any other high profile players. Let them do their job and you do yours.

Sing your hearts out for the lads.

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