This is purely a personal view and no doubt every reader will disagree with my choice and want to replace at least half of this list! There’s no logic to some of it, and there are no old scores to settle – I’ve chosen these on days I expect (hope?) to enjoy, which is why I’ve left some out on the basis that unless we’re 4-0 up in the first 10 minutes, I probably won’t enjoy them…
Sutton United – the first game back. Yes, I want to win and will be disappointed if we don’t, but it’s lovely to be back (and an easy ground to get to as long as the trains aren’t on strike), although I’m guessing it will be tough to get tickets for this one.
Bradford City – the first UNESCO City of Film and a city of great history, often overlooked by more photogenic neighbours. With an average attendance of almost 19,000 and the last 2 games last season seeing over 20,000, it should be a great atmosphere (albeit they reportedly include all-season ticket holders whether they actually attend or not).
AFC Wimbledon – the first of the fans’ clubs to start from scratch and work their way through to the League. A museum of football in Wimbledon reminds visitors of their past glories as a non-league side before being hijacked and relocated to Milton Keynes. A lovely club that made a fantastic (and spontaneous) gesture to a friend of mine when he completed the 92 just over a year ago.
Stockport – easy on the train, good pubs, a weekend in Manchester and a proper club. Say no more. (although 23rd December might not be the date I’d have chosen for this!)
Barrow – a blooming long way, so it makes sense to have a weekend in the Lake District. October might not have the best weather, but it’s a wonderful part of the world at any time and there’ll be fewer tourists around.
Harrogate – a week before Christmas might be a wonderful time to visit a picturesque market town. With the Montpellier Quarter and the Crescent Gardens area, there’s plenty to enjoy for a relaxing weekend away.
Tranmere – one of my favourite away days. A proper ground, decent support and great atmosphere. It’ll be tough, but the huge beer tent outside the ground making up a fan zone for followers of both sides is a great place to review the game and hopefully celebrate.
Salford – although they get a lot of bad publicity because of the Manchester United millionaires backing them – and I understand that – the volunteers and workers behind the club seem to be good people who want to support their local football club. Watching the shows about them on TV, it seems as if they feel their club is being taken away from them, and they are happy watching a small club at whatever level.
Forest Green – the last game of the season, hopefully one to enjoy for all the right reasons, and it won’t be a tense affair where we need a result to secure 3rd or 7th (or, dare I even think it, 22nd!)
Almost half a season of away games to enjoy – will that happen? Of course not. I’ll be desperate for 3 points and on the edge of my seat hoping we can hang on, make a comeback or keep control of a game we’re winning. Unless we get a 3-goal lead and control the game, the 90 minutes I can’t control will be the part I HOPE to enjoy rather than expect to.