Viva la television! Does featuring on TV mess with a team’s circadian rhythms? Presumably not at Premier League level because although fans pine for the days of 3pm kick-offs, drinks of Bovril and a small ruck with opposing fans in the pub, we are in the second generation of Sky-era footballers totally acclimatised to playing games at all times and on all days.
Lower down and post-Setanta, most players are in a rhythm of Saturday 3pm or Tuesday 7.45pm kick-offs, just like the good old days. Sunday lunchtime is usually reserved for Sunday lunch.
There isn’t a lot of evidence to really understand if we’re adversely effected by a change of match day routine. Last year’s drubbing against Cambridge (Saturday lunchtime) and previous tankings against Southend and Port Vale (both Monday evenings) imply a team that doesn’t cope well with a shift in routine.
Or maybe it’s just that we have the ability to artificially gloss a mundane lower-league fixture. Maybe Sky have chosen us in the past because they thought we were promotion hopefuls capable of putting on a show, whereas in fact we were just whipping boys. We can flatter to deceive like that.
It probably doesn’t help, then, that Bristol Rovers have had a good start and look like they’ve recovered well from the shock of relegation to the Conference. This could be the toughest test yet of our new found confidence; I'm sure it'll be fine.
Old game of the day
This is from 1992, an age of particularly tight shorts. It's not a particularly significant game, in fact, it was really part of my 'lost years' because I was at university. Back then, my weekly Oxford United fix, if I was lucky, would come from a 2 line write up in the Sunday People. Mind you, I was probably at this game because it was early in the season. It's just nice to see The Manor as I remember it.
From the blog
Our first home game back after promotion from the Conference was against Bristol Rovers in the League Cup. It was a glorious night in every sense:
"We’ve seen some bad sides in the last four years; Chester’s wheezing death throes, Wrexham neutered by their recent history, Tamworth running around like five-year- olds chasing a tennis ball in the playground.
None were quite as awful and shambolic as Bristol Rovers were last night."Read on.