Season 53. An opening day reflection.

#1
A Saturday morning in August. First day of the new season. Possibly the best day of the whole year, definitely is if there is a home game. Used to be a thrill to see a pristine new pitch, miraculously transformed from a dirt patch in May. We are denied that pleasure now as football pitches are pristine all year round. Which is good, of course, because it means the TV and media companies are never let down. Too much money at stake. I do miss the muddy goal mouth scrambles, but that was more suited to Benson's cloggers than Howe's athletes. For the record I prefer the latter.

This is my 53rd season and I am as excited about today as any other opening day. Almost. The first premier league season was more exciting because we had gone through the back of the wardrobe into our own football Narnia. But that aside, excitement and anticipation is as it always is.

Looking back is always fun, sharing memories of success, failure and disaster. It's about celebrating what binds us.

But this is about looking forward. Narnia has become normality. This doesn't mean taking anything for granted. The only certainly is that we will be relegated at some point. But not this season. I don't think.

I don't know anyone who really believed we would stay up the first season. We did. The second season was like a band's difficult second album. We did better. Many of us a bit shocked at how poor some teams were. Seasons 3 and 4 came and we waited for the transition from league one players to new players. But we had to keep relying on the old guard, who did brilliantly but we all new it was finite and it was a worry that new players weren't up to the job. Some poor times, especially latter half of both seasons. I think it was towards the end of season 3 when we played Manchester United at home and we were in the Shed as usual. There was no enthusiasm for the game. Last season there were some desperate games, it was like safety was the be all and end all. Everyone's nightmare. Get the required points and relax. The season long equivalent of getting an early goal and shutting up shop. There was a strong feeling amongst many that without Ake we could be on our way to Luton today. Hopes weren't high for the new season, some were even guaranteeing relegation ;)

Then I went to the two home friendlies. Friday night depressing. Saturday inspirational. So many young players, 7 under 21s on the pitch at the end. Ake staying was the big plus. Wilson and King looked sharp. But (oh my God they) Kilkenny was a revelation and Billing was one louder than that.

So maybe this is the true transition season, where the new growth comes through. Today could see the fireworks that the weather prevented yesterday. This is the most optimistic I have felt about a new season for at least 4 years.

I could be way off and we could lose today. But at the moment a new season beckons and I am so excited I don't know what to do.

Look back, look forwards, but most of all enjoy every moment of today, it only happens once a year.

Bring it on.
 
#4
Great write up there Fritter. These days I can't go to live games [ distance and mainly, money ] but was around from the early 80's....I still get as nervous and excited now, than I did when I was fortunate enough to get to games every week. Strange feeling really! Wish I could be there and all that....but I will still be living on my nerves until the end of the game.
I'm actually quite worried about today - knowing the squad we have is potentially as exciting as anything we've seen before....but what if today, the weather messes things up, we play poorly and Sheffield beat us....?!
I do think overall...we should be aiming for the top ten with the squad we have.
 
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#6
Good stuff Fritter.

I have a good English bottled beer selection and will have a few before kick off to celebrate the new season. Then settle down in front of the team to cheer on the lads (and swear at the ref)
I will then go to the toilet around 3-15 and miss our first goal of the season.
Still got 'the problem' then Al!!!! Enjoy....my 53rd year although some years, Benson Groves, Quinn, I lost the faith......
 
#11
A mere season 24 for me. My first season was the original admin season. I remember when it happened some guy on Meridian Tonight saying the Cherries might occasionally get into Division 1 (as it was then) but never be a PL club. How wrong he was!

A lot has changed but deep down it is still the same club as back then. I still feel we have the same spirit as the side that went to Bristol City and won 1-0. And despite what some forum bores might tell you - Modern Football is great!
 
#13
46th for me, or at least I can remember the start of 74/75. We won 3-2 @ Halifax I think it was, while we drove all the way to Pontins at Prestatyn for the week. Beat Gillingham the following week and ended up going down.

The difference to now is just incredible :utc::utc:
 
#14
Great write up there Fritter. These days I can't go to live games [ distance and mainly, money ] but was around from the early 80's....I still get as nervous and excited now, than I did when I was fortunate enough to get to games every week. Strange feeling really! Wish I could be there and all that....but I will still be living on my nerves until the end of the game.
I'm actually quite worried about today - knowing the squad we have is potentially as exciting as anything we've seen before....but what if today, the weather messes things up, we play poorly and Sheffield beat us....?!
I do think overall...we should be aiming for the top ten with the squad we have.
Noticed the same thing last night. I was able to watch a football match between Liverpool and Norwich and just enjoy it as a game of football and as entertainment. Strangely when I watch AFCB play it feels like life and death will be decided out there on the pitch and if we are leading by just one goal I’m desperate to hear that final whistle. I’m not sure there is too much enjoyment involved to be honest but I somehow keep coming back for more. And the craziest thing of all, I actually miss this torture during the off-season - go figure :unsure:

EDIT:
Just needed to add that our championship winning season was this feeling x 1000 !!! That was just so tense. Incredible !