First of all, you’ll all no doubt be delighted to hear that the new series of The Men In White podcast is imminent! We’ve recorded a range of exciting new features, and it’ll be available for your delectation later this week – we hope you’ll keep tuning in throughout the new season.
Before all that, however, is the small matter of the new season. One of last season’s podcasts’ most popular sections was the ’6 Dates that Decide our Fate’, which chartered our performance over the last 6 matches of the season. Alas, the fate it lead to was not the outcome we’d desired – or predicted. But it helped us keep tabs on how our relegation battle was progressing, right up to the calamitous missed opportunity that was Stoke away (why is it always Stoke?!).
Anyway: for this blog, we have six fresh spanking-new fixtures to cast our eyes over, comprising our opening games in the Npower Championship. And they look a little something like this:
18 August: Burnley (a)
21 August: Derby (h)
24 August: Nottingham Forest (h)
1 September: Hull (a)
15 September: Watford (h)
18 September: Birmingham (a)
The first thing to note is the calibre of opposition. With the exception of Forest, we’ve met all of these teams before. And where did we meet them? Ah yes, in ‘the promised land’; the ‘best league in the world (TM)’; The Barclay’s Premier League.
In short, we may have dropped down a level, but the teams in this league are no pushovers. I’m not trying to argue that Watford or Hull are anything like as strong as they were when they gained promotion to the Premiership, but nonetheless, they have all been up there, and – just like us – received their parachute payments upon relegation. The difference is, they’re still in the second tier. We want to bounce back at the first time of asking.
Forest are no pushovers either. In fact, with fresh investment and a fan base comparable to many a Premier League outfit, they’ve just a good a chance of challenging at the top come May as anyone else. It’s going to be tough.
I’m not going to give my predictions for how these games will go just yet. Our first podcast, out later this week, looks at Burnley, and assesses our chances. We’re not psychic, but we think we’ve spotted a few things to be wary of, and have even chanced a cheeky bet on the outcome. Make sure you tune in to find out more!
In the meantime, enjoy the build up. Proper football is back. The Wanderers are back. It’s a season on unknowns, but one thing is for certain: Bolton always give you a roller-coaster ride. That’s why we love them! Let’s hope this one is mostly highs.