Earlier this week saw (possibly) the most exciting day of the close season - fixture release. If you were to say you weren't looking forward to it or don't really care, you'd be lying. "You play both teams twice, once home and once away" is probably the worst thing I've heard someone say - it's a lot more exciting than that! It's the opportunity to get your calendar out and start marking when you'll be busy, looking at train websites in advance to see how much it's going to set you back, seeing where you'll start and end the campaign and the first chance to see when you'll be facing your rivals. Amidst all the excitement comes the "oh no, we've got to travel x miles on a Tuesday night", as well as knowing those fixtures aren't set in stone, and the chances are at least half of your games will get re-arranged for whatever reason! But of course, there are always those certain dates and grounds you look out for, and always check first, for whatever reason.
After finding out we play Birmingham City away in the first round of the League Cup, I don't think the League fixtures have really disappointed - with two of our three matches in August at Underhill. Barnet begin and finish the season like this:
Opening three games:
18.08.12 Port Vale (a)
21.08.12 Bristol Rovers (h)
25.08.12 York City (h)
Closing three games:
13.04.13 Torquay United (a)
20.04.13 Wycombe Wanderers (h)27.04.13 Northampton Town (a)
The next fixtures I always look out for are Boxing Day and New Years Day. The last few years we've struck it lucky with the former with local matches against Dagenham + Redbridge and games at Underhill. This coming season we play Gillingham away on Boxing Day (hardly appealing!) and Aldershot at home on New Years.Like most fans, the final date I look out for is the weekend of my birthday - largely in the hope it'll be a decent away trip somewhere an enjoyable couple of days can take place. With my next birthday being slap bang in the middle of the week, I had two potential matches to look forward to. Saturday 12th January sees us travel to Rotherham and their new ground, whilst the 19th is a home game against new boys, Fleetwood Town. Although I will, most likely, attend both games, neither really excite!
Then there's the matter of those local games and grounds you look forward to visiting. Living in Brentwood, I look out for Southend (6th October) and Dagenham + Redbridge (15th December). The only disappointment for me is the season-long wait for our visit to Northampton and Sixfields - possibly my favourite away ground/day of all time. Although, I guess it means it gives me the good part of a year to get some funds together and absolutely rinse TGI's of cocktails!Every year I always make a list of 'new grounds', mainly from those promoted and relegated and the season doesn't disappoint. This coming season I have all six to visit; although, in fairness, I'll probably make half, if that!
To visit:Rochdale - September 1st
Fleetwood Town - September 29thWycombe Wanderers - October 23rd
Chesterfield - October 27thExeter City - December 29th
York City - February 16th
Roll on August!
Oh, and you can check out the seasons fixtures here.