Thursday, June 22, 2006

Addicks set for a rough start to 06/07

Traditionally, one of the greatest moment of the close season is the announcement of next years fixtures. It's the day when key dates can be penciled into diaries, annual leave can be booked, and away trips can be arranged. A sign that football is back.

This year however I don't feel the same tingle up and down my spine as I have in previous years. Perhaps part of the reason for this is the fact that football hasn't even finished yet, or maybe it's just that I'm now growing accustomed to life in the Premiership and used to the fact that we have to play the best teams in the land twice a season. Either way, when you look at the fixture list for 2006/2007 the first thing that you notice is the horrendous start that we have been handed. West Ham away on the opening day, swiftly followed by Manchester United at the Valley, bogey side Bolton, and then Champions Chelsea...

Those first couple of games with Dowie in charge were always going to be hugely important to the club. A couple of early wins would help to get the doubters off of his back, placate the cynics among the fans, and breed confidence throughout the team but when I look at the fixtures (yes I know I'm a pessimist), I can't see us getting more than a point from those first four games. Four out of our first seven fixtures are London derbies, and out of those seven encounters at least five opponents will be targeting a top six finish. Dowie will certainly have his work cut out if we are to be in a mid table position after that little lot.

The best month for us looks to be a November in which we face Man City, Wigan, Reading, and Everton. The run in doesn't look to bad either but I suppose we can't really judge that until we have seen everybody in action. Each Premiership season has thrown up a couple of surprise packages, like Everton a couple of years ago when they finished fourth, or the leagues underestimation of Wigan and West Ham last year. At the moment I don't feel too confident about the coming campaign (neither does New York Addick by the looks of it), but I suppose that's to be expected right now. The new guy in charge has released players without signing any replacements so far, so hopefully when the signings finally begin to roll in, my confidence in the squad will grow. The link with Jason Roberts is definitely a step in the right direction.

Other notable dates next term are a home tie with Fulham on Boxing day, the Champions visit to the Valley on February 3rd, and a last day trip up to Anfield. The full fixture list can't be printed on a site like this for copyright reasons, but it can be found here.


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