Every year about this time, I launch into the same whinge.
It’s not a big one in the scheme of things (I’m capable of massive ones – I like a good whinge) but it baffles me and narks me off. Since the whistle went on Fulham’s win over Villa, we have known exactly who the 20 Premier League teams are for next year.
Since Coventry confirmed their spot in League One (hee hee League One), the formation of the entire football league for 2018/19 has been confirmed in full. But we still have to sit about, hang around, twiddle thumbs and kick pigeons for another two weeks until we get to find out the Premier League fixtures.
Can anyone ever tell me why this is? I can understand this taking a while when some poor little pecker would be sat in a room with a pencil, two phones and a calculator to try and sort out the whole league season…
However, surely in this day and age there’s some giant computer with all the doings and wotnots preprogrammed and all you have to do is press a button that says ‘go’ or ‘start’ or ‘blast off’ and we can all start planning our away trips.
By the way, I’m not an idiot. I know there is an opening for clubs to request certain details of fixtures to suit their needs, e.g. To be away opening day if they’ve laid a new pitch and want to give it as long as possible. But the division you’re in has no impact on this, or policing, or external local events, so why the sodding wait?
What the ecking thump is likely to happen in the next fortnight that drastically changes the landscape of a club’s requirements for the year ahead. Eh? Eh?
But before anyone starts mithering about this repetitive non-point wasting everyone’s time, there is a point to this worth repeating. See I’ve outsmarted the fixture computer a bit this time.
The only requirement Newcastle usually put in as an exception is to ensure we’re not at home on the weekend of the Great North Run, as Tyneside is a busy spot that time of year. So, you can safely assume United will be away on the weekend of 9th September.
This time though, there will be one more change, as the weekend of (Friday) 10 May sees the European Rugby cup finals being played at St James.
A regular moan about rugby at a football ground is that the pitch can take a bit of a battering, but recent World Cup games, Falcons matches and rugby league have done no damage to the St James turf. Surely modern day pitch maintenance means the recovery process is a bit better than when the likes of Leeds and Wigan used to ground share with rugby clubs in the 90s and matches there were regularly played on churned up blancmanges for surfaces.
Having said this, it’s surely impossible to wedge in a United match on the weekend when there is a rugby match on both the Friday night and Saturday afternoon, so again we’re bound to be away.
Given that this is the penultimate weekend of the season, this means we’ll be at home on the final day. This is great news as the old home advantage can prove vital if you’ve got something to play for (let’s not spoil everyone’s mood by speculating what eh?).
So, if anyone wants to plan a May holiday around the season end and doesn’t want to miss a home match, there’s your answer, home on (Sunday) 19 May, away the weekend before. Yes, hooray for me.
Follow Jamie on Twitter @Mr_Dolf