Last season I watched a total of one hundred and sixty games of association football, which is well down on the numbers that I've racked up on my prolific travels during previous campaigns; but, in the event, actually amounted to far more matches than I had ever anticipated being able to grace with my presence, for a number of reasons.
Lets just say: 'away fixtures' at the Retford Primary Health Care Centre; along with numerous hospital visits to Doncaster, Sheffield and Worksop, curtailed my football itinerary somewhat over the last eighteen months or so... but, as the great philosopher Reginald Kenneth Dwight once said: "I'm still standing. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!"
As a rule, not that there are any actual mandatory compliance's or rules attached to my various football pastimes as such, I've never given a flying funk about number crunching, because that would be tantamount to attending games for all of the wrong kind of reasons; but, having said that, for no reason, other than caving in to my deep set sad anorak tendencies from time to time, I did actually set myself a target of visiting thirty grounds that I've never previously watched football at before, during the 2017-18 season... and failed miserably, by only getting around to completing approximately fifty percent of that figure.
But hey ho! Back into the saddle we go, and I fully intend to bend the rules to breaking point this time around... and have decided to raise the bar to forty for the coming term, during which time I will also be attending several music festivals, touring with a couple of bands, spending a few weeks overseas in Austria, Belgium and Poland, while also continuing to traverse familiar terrain in the meantime as well.
At this juncture, I suppose that I should be compiling a 'best of/worst of' 2017-18 overview and making a few rash predictions for the forthcoming season, but I won't bother, because that would merely constitute re-hashing the last eleven months that I've already narrated at quite some length anyway... and one of the joys of the game itself, is it's sheer unpredictability.
By way of a perfect example of never counting your chickens, I originally penned this opening gambit to yet another year of blogging about the thrills, spills, ups and downs of another year of touring the highways and B roads of planet football, shortly after watching South Korea dump the all conquering, competition favourites, Germany out of the World Cup in a group stage game. Never take anything for granted mein komrades.
Any road, moving forwards, here is a list of the pre-season friendlies that I have watched so far and/or intend showing up at during this following month or so; a schedule that will commence a whole twenty eight days after I called it a day on my last campaign, some of these games will be getting fuller coverage on THE66POW than others.
Given the flexible nature of pre-season/practice/warm up games, all kick off times, venues, cancelled fixtures and my own never set in concrete travel plans (as per usual) will be in a continuous state of flux, changes and short notice alterations can be expected and will happen; so if you spot anything tempting among the fixtures detailed below, it would be advisable to check with official club sources before heading anywhere. Not everything you read on the internet is accurate, or even real at all. I will endeavour to provide updates, if and when the need arises, but I'm not promising 'owt.
Enjoy your football.
THE66POW The story so far and forthcoming distractions:
Sat 30 Jun - Ingles FC Res 1 v Holbrook St. Michaels Res 5 - PSF
Sat 30 Jun - Ingles FC 3 v Holbrook St. Michaels 3 - PSF
Mon 2 July - Armthorpe Welfare 1 v Frickley Athletic 1 - PSF
Fri 6 July - Melton Town 2 v Grantham Town 1 - PSF
Sat 7 July - Cleethorpes Town 4 v Grimsby Town 3 - ALL TICKET - First ever game at the new Linden Club ground
Sun 8 July - Darlington 1 v Motherwell 5 - PSF
Thu 12 July - Rainworth MW 4 v Mansfield Town XI 1 - PSF
Sat 14 July - Shirebrook Town v AFC Mansfield - PSF - 12 Noon
Sat 14 July - Gainsborough Trinity v Mansfield Town XI - PSF - 3PM
Sun 15 July - AFC Bolsover v Selston FC - PSF - 12 Noon
Tue 17 July - Stapenhill v Gresley - PSF - 7.30PM
Wed 18 July - Mansfield Town v Derby County - PSF - 7.30PM
Thu 19 July - Gainsborough Trinity v Stamford - Lincs Senior Cup QF - 7.45PM
Fri 20 July - Basford United v Mansfield Town U21 - PSF - 7.45PM
Sat 21 July - Deeping Rangers v Lincoln United - PSF - 3PM
Mon 23 July - Campion v Knaresborough Town - PSF - 7.45PM
Tue 24 July - Sheffield United v Inter Milan - PSF - 7.30PM
Wed 25 July - Ravenshead v Ashland Rovers - PSF - 7.15PM
Thu 26 July - Swallownest v AFC Mansfield - PSF - 7.30PM
Sat 28 July - Star & Garter, Manchester
Tue 31 July - Rossington Main v Handsworth Parramore - PSF - 7.30PM