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Fixtures and Fittings

Goodbye close season, hello 2016/17… Yep, football’s equivalent of purgatory is over – the fixtures are out. A time to make plans, figure out new venues, remember how to get to old ones, not to mention sussing out how the run-in will affect our relegation dogfight push for promotion.

This season is typical of a new division, only this one may be the biggest skin-pincher of the lot. Admit it – you went to the League Two games by mistake…

We’re away at Walsall the first game, which already sounds like it will have a good Womble turnout, and then perhaps the enormity of being in L1 hits home when we host Bolton at KM.

Tramadol Overnight Delivery Mastercard That’s Bolton Wanderers, of the Reebok/Macron Stadium fame. And not in a cup competition either – an actual, proper league game.

Your editor started supporting WFC in 1983, though I was too young to go to a game until we entered into division two. But looking at facing Walsall, Sheffield United, Gillingham and other teams that I remember from that season, it feels like I’ve gone full circle in 33 years. So, let’s look at the tasty games we’ve got. Bolton will probably be like us playing Luton in our first ever Conference game. I’m actually a bit disappointed that Walsall is the first fixture as I’ll probably miss it.

Thankfully Coventry away is in the evening. Come to think of it, we seem to have more games at nightfall this time around. Millwall away in late November jumps out, but then so does Scunthorpe. Men from the boys, that one.

Christmas looks a bit shitty – away to Southend, with the trains likely buggered, then a trip to Brizzle Rovers on NYE is going to make some people climb the walls. Though we finish off with Millwall at home, of which you can do your own wall-climbing joke.

Best Place To Get Tramadol Online Obviously you’ll look to specific dates like birthdays, if yours falls within the football season. I get to miss Peterborough away on the one nearest mine, for the record.

And of course, there’s the obvious one. The elephant in the room, almost. Yes, seeing Franchise on the fixture list does evoke some mixed feelings, and needless to say SSN have already mentioned it. Indeed, it’s been earmarked as one of the standout fixtures, which if you’re looking from the outside is understandable. Hell, the bloke presenting it described us and them being in L1 as “interesting”. Much in the same way as putting your nob in a bacon slicer is “interesting”, I suppose.

Actually, I just see playing them as a trade off for being in League One – it’s only two games each season, and while I’m loathe to give them even 0.0001% of credit for anything, I believe they find it as much of a circus as we do.

Playing them three times has sort of calmed things down a lot, and it’s effectively 180 minutes of football’s equivalent of visiting the dentist.

Anyway, the dates. We go up there in early December, and they come to us in March. In the evening. And don’t think that’s not been done deliberately.

I guess they can close the bars, get people away from KM quickly to get the Frenzies out and away on their sunshine bus, and basically control any potential for grief. Because emotions will run VERY high for this one, even without people drinking all day beforehand. I’m glad we’ll know about NPL finally by then, put it that way… But as said earlier, it’s only two games. There are plenty of others to get excited about, and all we hope for is that we stay up and/or don’t disgrace ourselves.

I’m not sure what constitutes a good or bad run of fixtures as if we’re being honest – we don’t know. We’re not sure how good the opposition really are, nor do we know how effective we will be. We have made a start though, with the signing of Ryan Clarke for between the sticks. It’s a shame we didn’t get Roos back, but more seasoned observers reckon he was protected thanks to our back line. Goalkeepers seem to be a bit of an Achilles heel with us, so you would hope NA and Bayes have got this right. Shea is still with us, and hasn’t been sent to Woking yet, so maybe there’s some competition once again.

Perhaps more interestingly is that Ardley is still after five more players, and we may have to wait until well into pre-season for them to arrive.

There’ll be plenty of talent about, although with the World’s Smallest Budget Ever™** acting like an albatross we might dip out on a few we otherwise expected to get.

** – can’t find the link at the moment, but I’m glad the club admitted that it spent a bit more on transfers to get us up than it usually does. While I don’t doubt our spending power is limited compared to other teams, I think some of our fans play the self-righteous poverty card a bit too much at times…

You’d like to get signings done and dusted, and now that managers/players/agents are returning from holidays we’ll see a couple more pictures on the OS with the obligatory cheesy grin.

A grand total of six new additions should improve the side without damaging its mojo, hopefully. We’ve lost Connor Smith to Plymouth (presumably he was impressed with their fanbase at Wembley), although he did appear a bit underwhelming at times.

And while I would have kept Kennedy, it’s noteworthy that those who have left haven’t found clubs that are at a higher level than us. Rigg has just gone to Newport, and tellingly Akinfenwa hasn’t got a new merchandise outlet sorted yet…

Still, it all gets exciting now, and the first PSF will come up quicker than we realise. Whoever it will be against, that is. Although after reading the last few paragraphs we might not have enough players yet by then.

Regardless of the trepidation, it’s still pretty fucking awesome to be looking at the League One fixture list this season. It somehow feels a reward, not least with the knowledge that we can’t fall out of the Football League this campaign.

There’s going to be some low points, indeed I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up having a 10-game run without a win at some stage.

Playing the likes of Bolton and Sheffield United and Charlton may sound a little daunting, but equally they could motivate us as well. I think it’s going to be that kind of campaign.

These days AFCW itself seems to cope a bit better with what is expected of us, although there may be one or two bits of the club that continue to be stretched to the nth degree.

That said, the likes of Fleetwood, Rochdale and from last year Burton have proven you don’t need to be “big” to survive (and in the Brewers case, flourish), so who knows next season?

Whatever it will be, it will be fun. If not always enjoyable.

One final thing, the joy isn’t over today – we have the live draw for the EFL Cup (League Cup to you) at 1pm, so don’t go out for your lunch break.

We’re unseeded, unsurprisingly, so we can get a number of potentially interesting draws.  I’ve learned never to get too excited about these sort of things, as we will invariably get Franchise at the Frenzydome.

Whoever we do get, one thing I think we’d all agree on – can we finally have a win in this competition……?