Tuesday, 19 June 2012

All roads lead to Yeovil...and Bury...and Oldham...

Sky Sports News delivered the reality check I was dreading at 9 o'clock on Monday. There was a ten minute wait while the opening day Premier League matches were analysed followed by a listing of the Championship fixtures. Then it was our turn as League One games for the 18th August appeared and at the bottom of the screen read YEOVIL v COVENTRY. Likewise on 'Talksport', there was a wait until the 'Moose' read our opening day trip to Yeovil's Huish Park as the lead item for League One. We're a big fish in media eyes at this level, I'm sure Sky are licking their lips at slotting us into their schedules for the coming season. Our biggest home game is the opener as Sheffield United and Michael Doyle visit on an August evening just three days after the Sky Blue Army negotiate the M5 summer holiday traffic to Somerset. It's good to see they've thought through the fixture planning on behalf of the supporter.

Boxing Day for me is one of the highlights of the season, though sadly not this time. One of the least attractive sides, Stevenage, await our festive visit to their ground while the hangovers will be shaken off with the visit of Oggy's former club, Shrewsbury Town, on New Year's Day. Game 46 is one I've viewed with trepidation for many seasons throughout our struggles. This time it's Meadow Lane, home of Notts County, just across the River Trent from the City Ground, a venue more in keeping with our past fortunes. Hopefully, promotion will be sealed for our beloved Sky Blues, we're not used to success and unbeaten runs but if we can sustain a top six placing the crowds will follow City all over the country.

The first club featured on Sky Sports News for the fixtures release were champions Manchester City, relegated alongside us in 2001. We've had some classic encounters down the years, Peter Bodak's wonder goal at Maine Road in the FA Cup tie of 1982, the 2-1 win at Highfield Road in 1989 when we topped Division One for the first time ever and the 4-3 win following relegation as David Thompson's late winner under the floodlights took the points in 2001.

Peter Bodak's moment of glory at Maine Road

When we topped Division One for the first time ever

Manchester City spent 1998/99 in Division Three for the first time in their history and won promotion via the play-offs with a win over Gillingham at Wembley. During that season they lost at Lincoln, York and Wrexham as every team raised their game to welcome them and their thousands of supporters. The same will happen to us no doubt, the Ricoh will be the best stadium many lower league players will have ever performed in while the chance to take on the Sky Blues in their smaller stadia on a cold, sodden afternoon/evening will ensure partisan capacity crowds. We have to ensure we win the battle before our quality shines through and restores the feel good factor to being a City fan.

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