Exit summer. I’ve learnt to manage the opening of the season better as the years have passed. It is not the orgasmic starburst that the media would have you believe. Perhaps it once was, when everyone kicked off at the same time, new kits were a rare treat and big signings were less frequent and more recognisable (unless I am the only person who had never heard of David de Gea before he arrived at Manchester United).
The new season now dribbles into life, the Football League does it’s best to make its presence felt, but has cold water poured on it when, on the same weekend, through the Community Shield, the Premier League proves it is still really on its holidays having a kick-about.
Yet, we are hungry for the opening games to ‘mean’ something. Following the barmy unbeaten pre-season, our defeat to Rotherham had some, suddenly, worried about our ability to finish and defend, and the new signings and, and, and.
But, August is just a bit of a leg stretcher at the best of times. The Swindon derby makes a difference, but only for isolated parochial reasons. Otherwise we’ll have our annual League Cup thrash around, we’ll have a few more looseners to get the drop of our new signings and then the season will really begin to kick in around September.
A long opening unbeaten run builds expectations (look at Port Vale last season), so registering a first loss is almost as important as registering a first win. At least you get it out of the way.