Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Scottish and English League fixtures get announced tomorrow and for fans all over the world, we can finally start to plan our season, holidays and life!

As an exile now, I've never looked forward to the release of East Fife's fixtures as much as I have the last two seasons. I've always been someone who has planned his life around the football whether it be work, holidays, weddings or funerals. Committed? Sad? Both? I dunno, but it makes me happy so that's all that counts!

It was only when I got into the company of other exiles though that I realised how important the fixtures announcement is.

Last season one of my mates, an Ipswich fan, was eagerly awaiting planning his trip home so that he could hopefully see Newcastle play at Portman Road. I myself, coincided my own journey home so I could see the start of East Fife's Scottish Cup campaign. Strange, but nice, that all these travel plans await the fate of the fixtures computer.

A 2-1 Cup defeat away to Montrose on a miserable Saturday afternoon should have made me come to my senses, but clearly not, as I plan to head home the same time later this year as well. I'm still holding out hope for a brilliant away day to some obscure non league side and not Brechin or Arbroath at Bayview.

This year though, one of my other friends has inspired me to do something I'd always planned to do when I was living in the UK, but never got round to it in my 38 years living there! I'm going on a footballing marathon, or hope to.

My friend's English odyssey saw him take in a remarkable 7 games in 8 days with matches at QPR, Man City (twice - he is a City fan though to be fair), Birmingham, Southampton and AFC Wimbledon (the latter of which he said he enjoyed the experience of the most). He even caught an England game, but there's no accounting for taste.

What I want to try and do is to take in as many games as I can, in as many weird and wonderful lower league and non league grounds as I can. Grounds I've never been to. Teams I've never seen and some that I have. I've got some gigs to fit in as well that I've got tickets to, but the rest of my spare time is going to be spent trying to catch fitba.

If the fixtures gods are reading this, what I'm hoping for is the chance to see Ian Holloway's Blackpool take on the big guns in the Premiership; Accrington Stanley at the Crown Ground; AFC Wimbledon again after enjoying my trip there so much last season and hopefully their fellow occupants of Kingsmeadow, Kingstonian; and some of the other non league team's whose fortunes I've been following of late like Salisbury City, Newport County and Bath City.

It's highly unlikely I'll have all of my wishes granted, but as long as my Fife one and one or two others can come to fruition I'll be happy. The fact that I have to wait a further couple of weeks for the non league fixtures to come out is a mild annoyance, but at least I can start my rough plans tomorrow.

The disappearance of Chesterfield's wonderfully old fashioned Saltergate ground last season made me realise that if I don't go to some of these grounds and places, then they'll be gone forever and I'll never get that chance to experience these real football places.

It really is true. You don't appreciate what is there until it's gone. I'm not going to make that mistake again and neither should you. Once the fixtures come out, plan your own football adventure.

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